Worst Rookies Ever: The Tell-Tale Sign Anti-Pelosi Dems Know Their Jig is Up

If you haven’t seen Rachel Maddow’s segment last night about the media-created drama in the nomination of Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House, you should. Maddow expertly and deservedly takes down the beltway press on the subject.

But the tale-tell sign that anti-Pelosi Democrats knew well in advance of the historic and resounding vote in the Democratic caucus that nominated Pelosi as Speaker with only token opposition that their jig was up came after their top generals - if you can call them that - met with the Speaker-designate right before the caucus vote. Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan and Kathleen Rice went into a meeting with Pelosi just hours before the vote with the worst bargaining chip ever: asking her to tell them when she’d retire as a condition of them ending their opposition.

Of course, Nancy Pelosi refused to become a lame duck even before she was nominated and elected to the Speakership. She read these recalcitrants the riot act, and then she backed it up by winning the caucus vote with about half the opposition as she had for leader two years ago, when Democrats had 40 fewer members.

Consider, for a moment, though, the nature of the meeting between Pelosi as humbug-trio in the first place. No one who has even a reasonable expectation to win ever comes to the negotiating table with, essentially, “Okay, we will forfeit the game if you promise you won’t play next season.” That they were willing to concede defeat with a consolation prize likely told the veteran vote counter Nancy Pelosi that her detractors had found out what she had already known: not only did she have the votes, but that her opposition was had run out of steam so badly that it was all over but the face-saving.

No leader worth their salt would allow for that kind of face-saving. Neither did Pelosi. She would have the Democratic caucus slap down those faces instead. Hard.

This is not because Nancy Pelosi is a vindictive person. One reason she holds the Democratic caucus together so well is that she allows her members to represent their districts and break ranks when they need to. It was even reported that her team encouraged incoming Democratic members who had promised not to back her to do so at the caucus rather than helping out Republicans on the floor.

But the dead-enders trio was never willing to negotiate with Pelosi in good faith until their house of cards all but collapsed all around them. Unlike the Progressive Caucus and even the more moderate Problem Solvers Democrats which negotiated and got promises on policy and process that will genuinely make the next Congress better, the dead-enders had no constructive goals in mind. The only thing they wanted to do was to take down Pelosi for the sake of taking down Pelosi.

Even that they did with the rookiest possible moves. They went on media tours, peacocking their opposition rather than trying to count votes. They rushed to have the few members - amounting to less than 10% of the caucus - they were able to get on the record to sign an anti-Pelosi letter, which then gave Pelosi the immense pleasure of demonstrating how weak her opposition was by flipping even some of those signatories. They rushed to push to the fore three women of color who they believed would front for them - Linda Sanchez (CA), Karen Bass (CA) and Marcia Fudge (OH) - as alternatives, and not only would none of them run against Pelosi, Fudge and Bass ended up publicly jumping on Team Pelosi shortly after their names were floated as potential challengers.

From the beginning, not only did the anti-Pelosi floppers never bothered to develop a cogent and convincing message, they believed they could substitute media statements and stunts for a real strategy to find votes. They never bothered to recruit a serious challenger, and they believed bravado would cover up the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing (much like the current occupant of the Oval Office).

Of course, none of it worked. The opposition to Pelosi got weaker as the dead-enders began to grasp at one straw after another, and they were eventually left with a meeting with Pelosi to discuss the terms of their surrender. Pelosi knew, and she offered them her terms for their surrender.


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