Five White Guys Tell Nancy Pelosi To Sit Down And Be Quiet, Little Lady

Democrats won a huge victory last week, propelled into control of the House of Representatives by minority and women voters. Maybe that last part explains why a rump caucus of five white guys is trying so hard to blow up Nancy Pelosi’s speakership today, a move which makes no strategic sense but certainly would elevate themselves.

Republicans are clearly terrified of Pelosi, who remains the most effective speaker in modern history. Fox News bloviators spent all year talking about her “San Francisco values” (read: supporting LGBT rights) and Republican campaign ads railed against her “liberal agenda” in hopes of resisting a blue wave. That plan clearly failed, but it has also inspired a handful of white, male blue dog Democrats to take up the Republican cause.

Leading this group is Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a self-promoter of the first order. “Almost immediately” upon being elected to the House of Representatives, notes Charles Pierce at Esquire, “Moulton began spending a lot of time in Iowa. This is a fellow who thinks a great deal of his own inherent political gifts.”

Apparently, one of those gifts is supreme confidence. Moulton said yesterday that he was “100 percent” sure his merry band of malcontents will succeed in replacing Pelosi despite the fact that no one is running against her.

Let me repeat that: contrary to all this noise about removing Pelosi, so far not one Democrat has offered to do the one thing that is required to actually take her down.

Furthermore, this effort is decidedly not coming from “the left,” but from the right side of the Democratic Party, and they are “nowhere near as well organized as the House Freedom Caucus” even though “they are threatening to use similar tactics,” according to the Washington Post.

For example, Moulton’s chief ally is Tim Ryan of Ohio. You may remember Ryan’s previous challenge to Nancy Pelosi’s leadership of the Democrats after the 2016 election, when they were in the minority. Although Ryan delighted Beltway pundits by winning the votes of 63 Democrats in a losing leadership bid, this time around he seems focused on a possible 2020 presidential run.

According to Matt Fuller at Huffington Post, it’s not clear exactly how many of their fellow Democrats will follow through on opposition to Pelosi:

Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Filemon Vela Jr. (D-Texas), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Bill Foster (D-Ill.) and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) … Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), who has traditionally voted against Pelosi, Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), who has consistently said he won’t support her to be speaker, and a handful of incoming Democrats who have said ― to varying degrees ― that they also won’t vote for her, including Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) … Democrats from at least three uncalled races ― Jared Golden (D-Maine), Ben McAdams (D-Utah) and Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) ― have also said they won’t support Pelosi.

That’s 20+ people — enough to force a second vote, perhaps, but not enough to undo Pelosi’s speakership, and certainly not without someone actually running against her. Yet Rep. Moulton seems to think “someone” will come forward to challenge her as a result of all this. It’s just not clear who that “someone” would be, since every name that gets floated ends up turning down the honor.

So what we have here is actually just five white men — Moulton, Ryan, Perlmutter, Schrader, and Foster, all Third Way “moderate” Democrats with high “Trump scores” — who think they are the most qualified people to lead the most diverse Democratic House majority in history, plus a handful of Democrats from purple districts where Republicans tried to use Pelosi as a wedge issue against them and failed, plus a Beltway press that cannot quit its “Democrats in disarray” storyline.

If any part of this slips away, or if any Democrats defect, the ‘insurgency’ is over. The #FiveWhiteGuys have to know this. So the probability that they can succeed in unhorsing Nancy Pelosi when House Dems vote two weeks from today is somewhere between zero and a snowball’s chance in hell, but that isn’t really the point of what they are doing.

After all, if Democrats were serious about getting rid of ineffective leaders, Pelosi would be pretty far down the list of targets, wouldn’t she?

Featured image via Gage Skidmore Flickr under Creative Commons license