So what, exactly, was the point of Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s record eight-hour speech on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday?
On the surface, it was a speech demanding amnesty for illegal aliens. Pelosi vowed to hold the House floor under the obscure “magic-minute” rule — which permits the majority leader, the minority leader, and the House speaker to talk as long as they’d like — until Republicans agreed to hold a vote on legal protections for so-called “Dreamers.”
She confused and angered many Democrats. Those running for re-election in red states are worried that Pelosi’s extreme defense of illegal immigrants, along with her willingness to vote to shut down the government again, will hurt their chances in November.
“This stunt … had nothing to do with protecting vulnerable members who have to take a difficult vote,” said one anonymous Democrat who spoke to Politico. “Working out this deal and then saying she’s not going to vote for it? Come on. She was at the table.”
“Many of our members are furious. We have spent the last three weeks insisting that we don’t want to shut the government down over DACA, and she essentially made the whole thing about it. Virtually everyone trying to win seats outside of California feels she has hurt their chances,” another Democrat told Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur.
At the same time, Pelosi is being hammered for giving a nice speech but neglecting to whip votes against the budget deal. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., vented to Politico, saying, “There’s all kinds of ways, I assure you, that leadership exercises its influence — the least of which is a floor speech.”
When asked if there was any ongoing effort to organize Democrats against the budget deal, Pelosi said, “I’m just telling people why I’m voting the way I’m voting.”
Count Gutierrez and other open-borders zealots in the Democratic Party unimpressed.
“I think the fact that you have not heard from the Democratic Party, the Democratic caucus, from Democratic Party offices, you would think that there’d be hashtags galore supporting this effort — this unprecedented effort from Nancy Pelosi,” Gutierrez told reporters Thursday. “But it’s not a coordinated effort, is it? So it makes me fearful that tomorrow the reason there isn’t a coordinated effort is that nobody wants to show their hand.”
So, if Pelosi is not organizing a Democratic revolt to shut down the government to give amnesty to illegal immigrants, what was she doing Wednesday?
A stealthy discussion is already underway within the Democratic Caucus, particularly among members whose only experience in Congress is in the minority.
Assuming Pelosi either leaves on her own or is pressured to step down, her exit would trigger a messy battle between the party’s old guard, led by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and the party’s younger members, represented by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.).
It’s a generational showdown that’s been put off for years, but one that Democrats might not be able to be avoid much longer.
“It will be an intraparty war. That’s what you can expect,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who predicted a “mass exodus” of Democrats if they don’t win the House in November. “That’s at the highest levels of leadership and at the committee level.”
That’s from a Politico story published Tuesday evening, speculating about Pelosi’s political future in Democratic leadership should Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives. While last month it looked like the GOP was headed for a blowout in November, new polling is showing the Democratic advantage shrinking. President Trump’s approval rating is on the upswing. The tax cuts are becoming more popular as millions of Americans are receiving bonuses and bigger weekly paychecks. At a time when Republicans are governing to benefit the American people, Democrats are demanding government benefits and protections for illegal aliens at the expense of American citizens. If Democrats do not recapture the House, progressives are going to blame the party for not being anti-Trump enough, for failing to #Resist.
So Pelosi is scared. She’s worried about a leadership coup if her party fails to deliver in the midterms, and she’s taking steps to shore up her progressive bona fides. Pelosi’s eight-hour speech was for Pelosi. She doesn’t actually care about Dreamers; if she did, she’d whip the votes against the budget deal.
Nancy Pelosi is bitterly clinging to power. And this 77-year-old swamp creature will hold the House floor for eight hours without a break to keep it.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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