Nancy Pelosi Gonna Brain #FiveWhiteGuys With Gavel OF DEATH
The anticipated electoral "blue wave" now feels more like a riptide: You don't see it coming and then it murders you. Every day since the election, we wake up to more flipped seats. California, especially, is a blood bath. Dave Wasserman pointed out that Orange County will have no Republican representatives in the House. Let that sink in. As of today, Democrats have taken 34 seats from Republicans, along with their milk money. That number should go as high as 38, maybe 40. It's no wonder architect of our success Nancy Pelosi has coasted to presumptive Speaker of the House with a pro forma closed-door vote. No, wait, that's Chuck Schumer.
It has been the measured opinion of this publication that Schumer is a big, steaming flop. He is the perfect choice for Senate Minority Leader if you are interested in permanently remaining in the minority. If that's your goal, Chuck's your man. But if you want to kick Republican ass ... twice, Pelosi is a no brainer. Unfortunately, mediocre men can rarely hang with powerful women.
Now five spineless white guys, basically blobs of generic brand mayonnaise, are feverishly attempting to block Pelosi as the next Speaker. None of them, including yoga instructor Tim Ryan, have the guts to step forward themselves, but now they're positing Marcia Fudge, because who hates women, NOT THEM; all they know is they don't want Pelosi. Why? Because of her track record of success? She's a "goddamn legislative virtuoso." Next? She's a liberal from San Francisco? Schumer is from New York. He's probably never even seen a pickup truck with a gun rack on the back!
The Senate is structured such that Democrats have to compete in solid red states to have a shot at the majority, and yet no one suggests ditching Schumer for Sherrod Brown, who is from the midwest and is fully conscious. Senate Democrats weren't pressed that hard during the election about Schumer. House Democrats, though, were constantly on the defensive about Pelosi, who took it all in stride. "Just win, baby," she said of Democrat candidates who distanced themselves from her. Donald Trump and the GOP tried to frame the midterms as all about the nightmare scenario of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Every dude with an opinion -- so like every dude -- suggested that Pelosi was a "threat" to Democrats' midterm chances. These people never seem to think that Mitch McConnell, who is less popular than leprosy, is a Republican albatross. Once the results were in, even conservative pundit Joe Scarborough admitted that Republicans ran hard against Pelosi and suffered their "worst loss since Watergate." Here endeth the lesson.
The anti-Pelosi crowd was all set to blame her if Democrats didn't regain the House or if they only barely squeaked to a majority. They curiously didn't whip out the champagne and flowers when neither happened. If you're gonna come for Pelosi, you better come correct. The time for a leadership challenge was 2010, 2014, or 2016 when Democrats lost. Pelosi fearlessly led her party through almost a decade in the minority. She held her caucus together. She watched as Speakers John "Day Drinker" Boehner and Paul "Granny Killer" Ryan slipped and fell in their own crap. She even bailed them out when necessary to keep the country from being repossessed. Why would you hand over the new House that Pelosi built to five guys so they can be "bipartisan"?
Abigail Spanberger, who defeated David Bratt in Virginia's 7th, said she won't support Pelosi because "we need new voices." That's you, lady. You're the new voice. We're all glad you're in DC now with your new voice. We don't need "new" voices as House Speaker. We need an effective voice that knows what the hell it's doing. I don't even want a "new voice" for my dental hygienist.
It's disappointing to see Spanberger parrot the "new voice" talking point, because it's just code for "no old chicks." Ted Kennedy was the "lion in the Senate." Nancy Pelosi is just the "liability in the House." After the 2012 election, Luke Russert asked if Pelosi should consider "stepping down" to make way for "younger leadership" (the "younger leadership" is almost always white men). Pelosi proceeded to murder him on live TV. I mean ... damn: "Let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question" deserves to be sampled in a rapper's diss track.
Yes, I realize Pelosi is 78 years old and reportedly only getting older. She also stood in four-inch heels for more than eight hours this year to defend Dreamers from the Trump administration. Could Ryan downward dog for that long? The five white guys are at least aware of the optics of trying to oust the first woman speaker, so they've trotted out the banana in the tailpipe argument that they'd totally support a woman, just not this woman. We heard this song before with Hillary Clinton and it's still just as sexist as Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video. Whenever a woman starts to threaten men's hold on power, she suddenly grows devil horns and their testicles go on the retreat. We have a record number of women joining the House next year, and these clowns want to legislate like it's 1899. It's not realistic to expect white men to continue dominating the leadership of a party composed primarily of women and minorities.
Earlier this week, some mischievous conservatives tried to start a game of "let's you and her fight" between Pelosi and House freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Too many of us fell for it, but Pelosi handled the matter perfectly and to her credit, so has Ocasio-Cortez.
There's suspicion that Rep. Seth Moulton is conspiring with Republicans to block Pelosi, because the GOP totally wants to make sure Democrats have the most effective leader for their new majority. Either that, or he's the moron in every sci-fi film who collaborates with hostile aliens because he thinks they'll give him Australia. They don't want Australia. They don't even know what it is. They're still going to double-cross him.
I don't think it will matter in the end. Pelosi will still prevail because she's dealt with assholes like this all her life and has the scars to prove it. It won't be pretty, but I'm here for Pelosi schooling these fools.
It would be nice, though, if a successful woman could enjoy that success for at least a few hours without having to contend with wounded male fragility. Fear of a powerful woman is what put Trump in the White House. Let's hope it doesn't weaken our ability to fight him in Congress.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).