The case for Nancy Pelosi

Below are five columns and op-ed pieces that explore the argument that Nancy Pelosi is the best choice to continue leading the House Democratic Caucus and to once again assume the constitutional role of Speaker of the House.

1. Republicans declared war on Nancy Pelosi — and she won.

Nancy Pelosi won. For the second time in a dozen years, a Democratic campaign she oversaw ousted the Republicans who ridiculed her from control of the House. At age seventy-eight, the veteran liberal from San Francisco stands to become just the third House leader in the past century to seize the speaker’s gavel twice.

“They’ve been doing that for a long time,” Pelosi told me in an interview as she awaited election night returns. “Hundreds of millions of dollars. They do this because they are bankrupt of ideas.”

2. Forget Pelosi. Challenge Hoyer.

Pelosi is one of the most ruthless and effective politicians of her generation. Not only should critics worry about the consequences of losing to her, they should also worry about the consequences of replacing a skilled, experienced tactical leader with an amateur.

So what should restless Democrats hungering for “new leadership” in the House do instead? Skip Pelosi. Challenge Steny Hoyer.

3. Don’t blow it, Democrats. There’s only one choice to be the next speaker.

I know some of you promised to vote against Pelosi as speaker. I urge the rest of you to think twice before rejecting the most qualified person, at the most important time, for the most important job.

There will be plenty of time for a change in leadership to a new generation, at every level; that is inevitable.

I urge your leaders, including Pelosi, to use this important time to cultivate new leaders who are prepared to build on her legacy.

4. Nancy Pelosi should be Speaker of the House.

As Speaker, Nancy Pelosi brings to the podium a wealth of experience and success – Exhibit A being the passage of the Affordable Care Act and its treasured protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

She knows how to pass bills. She knows how to steer a sometime cumbersome ship. She has worked to reach across the aisle when necessary. Simply put: You change leadership when it suffers catastrophic losses, not when you win elections.

5. The rebellion against Nancy Pelosi is absurd.

Democrats have a complex task in front of them, figuring out how best to act as a single, determined force. They need to bring accountability to President Trump and his administration, promote their agenda for change, and position themselves for the moment, they hope two years from now, when they actually have the opportunity to implement it.

At least some of them want to say to Pelosi, “Sorry, we know you’re obviously the most capable person for the job and you just led us to a historic victory, but since the other side says nasty things about you, even though they don’t seem to work we’re going to pick someone else — anybody else, it doesn’t really matter who.”

No member of Congress has a divine right to a position of leadership. But if the anti-Pelosi side wants to force out one of the most successful leaders in their party’s history, they really ought to come up with a better argument than that.

We’ll give President Barack Obama the last word.

President Obama backs Nancy Pelosi: “Her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground and do hard things and to suffer unpopularity to get the right thing done I think stands up against any person that I’ve observed or worked directly with in Washington during my lifetime.”