As the Democratic Party readies itself to take control of the House of Representatives, a small group of the party is talking about a need for fresh leadership.
There is not a debate that Minority Leader and former Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011 Nancy Pelosi is up there in years. At 78 years of age, she’s two years older than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and six years older than Donald Trump. Of course, no one is arguing about replacing those two old guys. They’re not even arguing about replacing 67-year-old Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who lost seats in the midterms.
But the House, which gained 37 seats (and still counting) under her leadership, is debating about replacing Pelosi. If I didn’t know better, I would think there’s a little sexism involved here.
I think Pelosi’s critics have a good argument about fresh faces, new blood, and a younger generation to lead the party. But, I think there’s a better argument for experience.
Right now, there’s only speculation on who would replace Pelosi. A better question would be; who has the ability to lead the House? Who can count? Who can herd cats? Who is best to weather juvenile personal attacks in presidential tweets?
Pelosi is really good at all the above. Obamacare never would have passed without Pelosi. In case you have a short memory, let me remind you that Obamacare has only recently become popular among the general public. It was detrimental to the Democratic Party and President Obama’s poll numbers back when it was passed. The Democratic Party lost 63 seats and the House in the 2010 midterms, largely in part to Obamacare. You can probably blame Pelosi for some of that, but you can give her credit for herding Democrats to vote for Obamacare at the risk of losing their seats.
There has been much gaslighting about Pelosi, much like Republicans have done for over two decades to Hillary Clinton. She has been a boogeyman for them in campaigns and the face of all that is wrong with the Democratic Party. Yet, most Republicans couldn’t give you a specific reason why they don’t like her, except that she’s effective. If Republicans hate her, maybe Democrats should keep her.
Will Republicans use her in future campaigns? Most likely, just like they did during the last midterms, which didn’t work out for them.
I’m arguing for youth and experience. We need more youth in Congress, but they need to learn from those who are experienced. Pelosi should remain the Democratic Party’s choice for Speaker, for now. The younger members of Congress should pay attention and learn from her. If they don’t, they’ll end up with Speakers like John Boehner and Paul Ryan, who are two of the most ineffective and inept Speakers in the history of Congress. Democrats don’t need to pull a Boehner. Don’t give Donald Trump an easy foil.
Pelosi may not be as inspiring or energizing as an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but she delivers. Hopefully, in her next term as Speaker, the more youthful in the party will learn how to do the same.
Watch me draw.