When Nancy Pelosi regained leadership of the House majority earlier this year, her daughter, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, praised her skills as Speaker by telling a CNN panel, “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding.” But since her return, she has come off as the antithesis of the shrewd and deadly power broker her daughter portrayed her as.
Pelosi’s nemesis is the trio of renegade newcomers elected to the House this past January, all of whom pose a challenge to her absolute authority and with whom she been enmeshed in a power struggle. So far, her victories have been far and few.
One early battle that she lost was in February, when she threw shade on upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, dismissing it as “the green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is.” No doubt to her chagrin, dozens of Congress members lined up behind the proposal, including all of the leading Democrats seeking the presidential nomination.
She suffered an even more catastrophic setback when she failed to shut down Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow freshman bomb-throwers last week, conceding, as J.E. Dyer writes, “everything to them in the political defeat represented by the ‘all hatreds’ resolution.”
In the last few days, Pelosi has displayed an oppositional streak with regard to the new status quo. On Monday, she renewed her objection to plans to bring articles of impeachment against President Trump, hinting at the potential damage such a move could do to the party. Yesterday, she dropped another bombshell, telling Politico that “Medicare for All” would not be an improvement over Obamacare, adding, “And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?”
The question is whether Pelosi is waging these skirmishes as a means to wresting power from the three freshman congresswomen who are attempting to rebrand the party as socialist or because, for a change, she is doing what is best for America.