Nancy Pelosi Re-Elected Leader Of House Democrats

Nancy Pelosi won a key vote yesterday on the road to returning as Speaker of the House again in January.

As expected, House Democrats meeting to pick their leadership for the 116th Congress when it convenes in January have largely kept the team that has existed since 2006 in place, thus guaranteeing that Nancy Pelosi will return as Speaker of the House:

WASHINGTON — Representative Nancy Pelosi overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination on Wednesday to be speaker when the new Congress convenes in January, but the defection of 32 Democrats signaled that she could still face a divisive fight to lead the House just as the party assumes control.

The result kept alive the threat of a messy intraparty feud and touched off what promises to be an intense period of internal arm-twisting and cajoling by a leader renowned for both. At the same time, it confirmed that despite a drumbeat of calls within her caucus for new leadership, most Democrats support returning the 78-year-old Californian, the first woman to be speaker, to the post.

In a secret-ballot vote that dramatized rifts among Democrats only weeks after midterm election victories handed them the majority, Ms. Pelosi, running unopposed, won support from 203 Democrats. Beyond the 32 no votes, three ballots were left blank.

“It’s a big victory,” she exulted as she made her way to the Capitol after the results were announced, brushing aside questions about her detractors and saying she felt “great.”

To become speaker, Ms. Pelosi must win 218 votes in a House floor vote on Jan. 3. That gives opponents time to recruit a serious challenger, something they have said could occur only once they showed that she lacked the votes to be elected.

But the tally also demonstrated the limits of a group of dissidents who want fresh faces at the top of the party. They include newcomers who campaigned promising to change Congress, some of whom made explicit pledges not to vote for Ms. Pelosi, who has led House Democrats for more than 15 years.

Speaking with reporters as the votes were tallied, Ms. Pelosi hinted that she expected her opposition to erode.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” she said. “I don’t want to make other people’s announcements for them, but we go forward with confidence and humility.”

But some of those who voted against her on Wednesday said they were repelled by the politicking that has defined the speakership fight so far, and were determined to maintain their opposition in part because of it.

“I made a promise to the voters of my district that I would be a no — no under any circumstances,” said Representative-elect Max Rose of New York, adding that he was mystified that journalists continued to ask him whether he would change his position.

“What it speaks to, though, is a culture of politics in this town where people change their opinions,” Mr. Rose said. “So I’m not swaying with the wind, and I believe that many of us members came here to D.C. not for just one fight, but to change politics in this country.”

(…)

After painstaking negotiations that stretched into the wee hours of Wednesday, Ms. Pelosi struck a deal with the Problem Solvers Caucus, which had withheld its support until it secured changes that its members said would break partisan gridlock by empowering lawmakers to forge bipartisan compromises.

The deal, the latest example of Ms. Pelosi’s quiet campaign to wear down opponents, came minutes before Democrats began formally nominating her for the post, and not long before the start of the vote testing the strength of her support.

“We have reached such an agreement with Leader Pelosi to help break the gridlock for the American people and will support her,” the Problem Solvers said in a statement. The deal won her the backing of eight members.

But Ms. Pelosi still faces determined opposition from others, including members of a group of 16 Democrats who signed a letter last week calling for new leadership. Their three leaders met with the minority leader before the vote on Wednesday and emerged declaring themselves unmoved.

Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, an organizer of the group, said their request of Ms. Pelosi had always been: “Produce a meaningful plan for a leadership transition, as you promised in the summer, to allow a new generation of leadership to step forward.”

He said he was “disappointed to report that no agreement was reached in this initial meeting,” but “hopeful” of continuing talks with Ms. Pelosi.

The most notable thing about the outcome of yesterday’s vote, of course, is the fact that Pelosi recieved the support of 203 of the Democratic Caucus members who voted, and that 32 members ended up voting against her. This is problematic at least on paper because it puts Pelosi fifteen votes short of the 218 votes she will need on the House floor in January in order to win the Speakership on the first ballot. Failure to do that would send the House into a second or third ballot that could result in the decision by other candidates in the Democratic Caucus to throw their hat in the ring and, in any case, would be a significant embarressment for Pelosi since it would be generally unprecedented in the modern era. In theory at least, if this vote total were to hold up in January and the 32 people who voted against Pelosi could end up voting “present” or voting for some other candidate or candidates instead of her. However, it seems to me that this is highly unlikely and that what we’re really seeing here is an effort by various factions within the House Democratic Caucus to flex their muscles and, perhaps, gain concessions on rule changes from the leadership team in exchange for their support.

On some level, of course, this is not dissimilar from what happened inside the House Republican Caucus over the past seven years. Beginning most especially with the Speaker’s election in 2013 and continuing forward with those that occurred in 2015 and 2017, various elements of the Republican Caucus have attempted to rebel against the leadership by threatening the Speakerships of both John Boehner and Paul Ryan. In a handful of cases, this included voting against them on the House floor when it came time for the official vote for Speaker. For the most part, though, the Republican rebels ended up falling in line after getting some concessions from leadership on rule changes or some other matter, and the supposed threat and drama that preceded each of the aforementioned votes for Speaker ended up being largely overblown. You can see some of that same drama in the coverage of the leadership vote from the political media, as exemplified by the report from The New York Times quoted above, as well as similar coverage from The Washington PostPolitico, and, of course, the cable news networks. In no small part this is because this vote for Speaker would be rather boring if it weren’t for the sense of drama that coverage of this type lends to the process even if it is rather exaggerated.

In the end, I expect that we’ll see the vote for Speaker in January go roughly the same as it has in the past. Some handful of Democrats will either vote “present” or vote for some other candidate, but in the end Pelosi will end up with a vote totally comfortably above the 218 votes she needs to win on the first ballot. The main reason for this is the simple fact that there is no viable alternative out there that would appear to be a serious threat to Pelosi’s bid for Speaker. The closest that anyone came to that was in the form of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who has represented Ohio’s 11th Congressional District since 2008. After Election Day, Fudge did put her name forward as an alternative to Pelosi, but she ended up withdrawing from the race last week after reaching an agreement with Pelosi regarding certain concerns of the Congressional Black Caucus. And that gets us to the final point. As the old saying goes, you can’t beat something with nothing and, while there may be some serious questions to raise about Pelosi continuing as Speaker in the new Congress, the lack of a serious challenge makes much of the suspense over what will happen in January much ado about nothing.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Todd says:

    Despite the media’s attempt to still portray this as suspenseful, there is no more drama in this vote. That 203 number who supported Pelosi in the caucus vote is significant, as it is greater than the total number of Republicans (who will all presumably vote for Kevin McCarthy). Even if all 32 Democrats refuse to vote for Nancy Pelosi in January (unlikely), the possibility that any of them would actually vote for McCarthy is almost unimaginable. Nancy Pelosi does not need 218 votes, she just needs to have the most votes … which realistically means >200.

    10
  2. James Pearce says:

    The main reason for this is the simple fact that there is no viable alternative out there that would appear to be a serious threat to Pelosi’s bid for Speaker.

    If there’s “no viable alternative” to a 78 year old congresswoman who’s been in office since 1993 and was once already speaker, then we are well and truly screwed.

    3
  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    The young guns have now fulfilled the promises they made to constituents to vote against Pelosi. In the process the young guns also ensured that they will be less effective representatives since I doubt Ms. Pelosi will be moving their favorite bills to the front of the queue. When you strike at a queen. , .

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  4. Todd says:

    Okay, upon further consideration, it could be slightly more complicated if some of those defecting Democrats actually vote for another candidate (not Pelosi or McCarthy), as opposed to voting “present”; as the Speaker needs to win a majority of the votes cast (“present” votes don’t count). Even with that being said, it is still almost unimaginable that Pelosi will not win a majority of the votes cast on the 1st ballot … and if by some chance she doesn’t, I suspect it will be her detractors who will be imperiling their own reelection chances in 2 years, rather than actually stopping Pelosi from ultimately (even if on a 2nd or 3rd vote) becoming speaker again.

    5
  5. gVOR08 says:

    In no small part this is because this vote for Speaker would be rather boring if it weren’t for the sense of drama that coverage of this type lends to the process even if it is rather exaggerated.

    Thank you for that, Doug. The press do need drama. And the supposedly liberal MSM love Dems in disarray stories, no matter how hard they have to stretch for them.

    10
  6. Todd says:

    @James Pearce:

    If there’s “no viable alternative” to a 78 year old congresswoman who’s been in office since 1993 and was once already speaker, then we are well and truly screwed.

    Our government is much more complicated than most people, especially those who consider themselves “activists” appreciate. Speaker of the House is not a job that can be learned on the fly. Yes, Democrats probably should have done a better job of identifying new leadership for the future. But when Nancy Pelosi does step down, any new Democratic Speaker will almost certainly be another person who has been in the House for a very long time … by necessity of the job.

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  7. Kathy says:

    @Todd:

    Despite the media’s attempt to still portray this as suspenseful, there is no more drama in this vote.

    The suspense keeps people interested and tuning in or reading. That’s why they keep talking about other candidate’s chances even when one has the nomination int he pocket during the primaries. If they ever get a contested or brokered convention, we’ll never hear the end of it.

    It’s a common literary device. Outside of Babylon 5, you knew every time a main cast character is in peril that they’ll be ok. Yet the show writers play up the suspense. Hitchcock managed it, sometimes, by letting the audience in on information the characters on the screen knew nothing about. This, too, has become cliche by now.

    2
  8. James Pearce says:

    @Todd:

    Speaker of the House is not a job that can be learned on the fly.

    And yet, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan didn’t need any special training to take the job.

    Nancy Pelosi is not just the first woman Speaker ever, she’s also the ONLY Democratic Speaker since I was in high school. I’m a bitter old man now.

    3
  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    BREAKING:
    M. Cohen is going to plead guilty, this morning, to a charge in the Mueller investigation.
    It seems to be about lying to Congress.
    Should be interesting to read the court documents.
    Donnie Jr. also lied to Congress. I hope he is in cuffs soon.

    7
  10. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Pearce: Holy cow, and how effective was Boehner or Ryan???

    I’ll note Boehner could have been effective if not for the soi-disant “Tea Party” movement; he had experience and connections. But he certainly seemed to lack the will. Ryan never made a pretense at being effective. He’s like a carpet runner.

    Pelosi is effective and that is in part because of her age and experience. And it’s clear she’s taking steps – particularly with Marcia Fudge – to mentor and develop the next generation.

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  11. Tyrell says:

    I certainly have respect for the experience and organizational skills she brings.
    She also brings a “nails on chalkboard” image when she speaks and things like this:
    “we will read it after we pass it”
    (” Affordable Health Care” Act).

    3
  12. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    And yet, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan didn’t need any special training to take the job.

    Yup, most of those guys totally came from nowhere…

    Long-time House Minority Leader Bob Michel of Illinois had not run for re-election, giving Gingrich, the highest-ranking Republican returning to Congress, the inside track at becoming Speaker.
    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newt_Gingrich#In_Congress

    Hastert:
    * 105th Congress (1997–1999) – Chief Deputy Majority Whip; Commerce; Government Reform and Oversight[50]
    * 106th Congress (1999–2001) – The Speaker; Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies[51]

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Hastert#Committee_assignments_and_House_positions

    House Republican Leader

    Delay resigned as Majority Leader in 2005 after being indicted, and Boehner, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, all sought to succeed Delay.[22] Boehner campaigned as a reform candidate who wanted to reform the so-called “earmark” process and rein in government spending. In the second round of voting by the House Republican Conference, Boehner defeated Blunt with 122 to 109 votes.

    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boehner#House_Republican_Leader

    Ryan was a bit of an exception. He was part of House Leadership, but was a Dark Horse candidate for the gig. He got it largely because the Freedom Caucus refused Bohner’s chosen successor, Kevin McCarthy.

    Hastert was a bit of a surprise as well — mainly because the person everyone expected to replace Gingrich opted not to because of an affair.

    All that said, there is an issue that the House Dems have not been advancing younger leadership as quickly as one might like.

    12
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In the process the young guns also ensured that they will be less effective representatives since I doubt Ms. Pelosi will be moving their favorite bills to the front of the queue.

    In the election, she said, “I don’t care what they say about me, just win.” This past weak a leading Democrat (forget which) said something along the lines of “This vote is their opportunity to express their differences and nobody should be denied that right.”

    Nancy has pretty thick skin and is able to allow for differences with in her caucus as long as she can count on their votes when she needs them. I doubt she will hold any grudges over this vote. I’m not sure she would over the next vote unless it went to 3 or 4 ballots.

    5
  14. JohnMcC says:

    @Todd: One might also point out that the very strong Repub showings in ’10 and ’14 (and in many state contests of the era) had the effect of trimming a lot of D-party careers short. Left a dirth of candidates.

    If one were less fastidious than I and so would ‘reply’ to Mr P – with whom discussion is impossible.

    6
  15. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: and the lying Cohen did was about Russia deals during the campaign.

    I’m not surprised that Trump keeps freaking out on Twitter lately.

    4
  16. Blue Galangal says:

    @mattbernius: Very true. And as far as “effective” goes, let’s take a look at that. One could argue that Gingrich and Hastert hastened the current GOP predicament by sowing the seeds of polarization (the “Hastert rule,” anyone?). What does “effective” really mean? That the Republicans get what they want? By that definition, of course Pelosi will never be “effective.” Which I suppose is Pearce’s real point.

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  17. James Pearce says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    Holy cow, and how effective was Boehner or Ryan???

    I’ve heard a lot about “effectiveness” in this debate, but I’m not even sure what that means. It has the whiff of “argument” and not necessarily “fact.” How does one gauge, exactly, the “effectiveness” of a House speaker, and in the final analysis, would the years 2007-2011 really prove to be the most “effective” era?

    The speakership isn’t a reward for past “effectiveness” anyway.

    And just to be clear: I’m not defending the Republican speakers. Just placing Pelosi in the proper context. If Boehner et al could do it, so could Tim Ryan or Marcia Fudge or nearly any Dem with a pulse. We don’t necessarily need “the queen.”

  18. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    The fact that there is no plausible substitute for Pelosi is something that works against her, not in her favor. A good party leader nurtures good lieutenants that can serve as substitute to him/her.

    Boehner and Ryan could be incredibly inept as Speakers of the House, but the Republicans did a good work of nurturing party leaders and nurturing potential speakers. They even have people without an AARP card in their party leadership.

    1
  19. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “In the process the young guns also ensured that they will be less effective representatives since I doubt Ms. Pelosi will be moving their favorite bills to the front of the queue. ”

    I actually think this isn’t right. Pelosi is tough, but not mindlessly so, and she knows the progressives are on her side. Now the Tim Ryans and Seth Moultons and all the morons in the Problem Solvers Caucus… yeah, they’re dead.

    7
  20. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    All that said, there is an issue that the House Dems have not been advancing younger leadership as quickly as one might like.

    And yet another point of agreement. It’s not too weird, is it?

    @JohnMcC:

    If one were less fastidious than I and so would ‘reply’ to Mr P – with whom discussion is impossible.

    Look, I’m not saying I make it easy, but discussion with me is totally possible. Is it worthwhile? I think so, but mileage varies on that.

    2
  21. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “And yet, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan didn’t need any special training to take the job.”

    Exactly. Which is why Boehner was chased out of the House by the Tea Partiers because he couldn’t control his caucus… and why Ryan is leaving Congress, too, because he also can’t figure out how to control his crazies. Gingrich flamed out spectacularly. I can’t remember much about Hastert as Speaker, because it’s all been eclipsed by the image of him molesting teen wrestlers.

    I realize that posting out of ignorance is pretty much your signature, but you might want to look up Sam Rayburn to understand how much power a really strong Speaker can wield.

    7
  22. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’ve heard a lot about “effectiveness” in this debate, but I’m not even sure what that means.

    Pelosi is a former Party Whip and she knows how to control her caucus and exert power over them. One could argue that’s not an easy feat considering the Democratic Party, always divided between endless factions. She passed ACA, even with strong opposition from Democrats in the suburbs and WWC rural areas.

    5
  23. mattbernius says:

    For the record, here’s the current Republican and Democrat leadership team: https://www.house.gov/leadership

    It doesn’t list the minority whip (Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky).

    Part of the challenge is that as seats become more secure, leadership is very much based on seniority. So Pelosi, Hoyer, Schakowsky, and Crowley are all senior ranking and longtime members.

    Again, it’s worth noting that this is pretty much true on the Republican side as well. The reality is the current set-up of the chamber itself tends towards this direction.

    1
  24. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “How does one gauge, exactly, the “effectiveness” of a House speaker, and in the final analysis,”

    In other words, you have no idea what the actual job of Speaker of the House is, or what she’s supposed to do, and yet you feel that you know who shouldn’t have the position based on some negative feeling because she’s old or something.

    A typically insightful Pearce look into politics…

    10
  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:
    If it’s not an exact quote it should be in single quote marks. And please read the context of her entirely accurate and unremarkable comment about the Senate bill before you bring it up again. Thank you.

    Is there a Latin term for the logical error of arguing from a well known fallacy?

    5
  26. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Boehner was chased out of the House by the Tea Partiers because he couldn’t control his caucus

    If that’s your understanding of the speaker’s role, then I guess I get why you think we need Iron Queen Pelosi up there making sure the rowdies don’t get too rowdy, then.

    Care to comment on the shallow Dem bench, or you just looking for something to argue about?

  27. Todd says:

    @James Pearce:

    If that’s your understanding of the speaker’s role, then I guess I get why you think we need Iron Queen Pelosi up there making sure the rowdies don’t get too rowdy, then.

    The Speaker’s role is to pass legislation that advances the party’s agenda. (full stop)

    So yes, making sure the rowdies don’t get too rowdy is certainly part of the job. The failure to do just that on the Republican side is what made both Boehner and Ryan such ineffective Speakers. The freedom caucus had entirely too much power in the past couple of Republican Congresses. To be successful, the Democrats need to ensure that no similar factions gain significant traction on their side of the aisle. Pelosi putting down this rebellion will help with that.

    10
  28. Jay L Gischer says:

    I can remember Democratic Speakers such as Tip O’Neill, Jim Wright, and Tom Foley. I qualify as “old dude” these days, but I ain’t THAT old.

    I wouldn’t mind bringing in some younger people so they’d have a clue what they are doing, though. I voted against Feinstein (in favor of another Democrat) on those grounds this cycle.

    1
  29. James Pearce says:

    @Todd:

    The Speaker’s role is to pass legislation that advances the party’s agenda.

    Isn’t that what the party Whip is for? Sorry, but I don’t want the Speaker of the House to understand their role in that way.

  30. Tyrell says:

    How about Sam Rayburn? I remember him and John McCormack.

  31. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Tyrell: I have certainly heard of Sam Rayburn, and I was born while he was still Speaker. But I can’t really say I “remember” him as speaker. I barely remember Howdy Doody, and he’s from that era, and even earlier.

  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Pearce: You have every right to want what you want. But I think you’d have to go back maybe 200 years or so to find a Speaker who understood the position that way.

    3
  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Outside of Babylon 5

    And Game of Thrones. Of course, their hands were a bit tied by ol’ George RR. But to their credit, they killed at least one main character deader than he did.

    2
  34. MarkedMan says:

    (Side note: When I saw this post I thought, man there are a lot of comments to get through already. Fortunately I realized about half were either from or in response to a notorious troll and I could safely skip over them.)

    So I think some of the anti-Pelosi people revealed quite a bit about themselves. For instance Ocasio Cortez held her fire, went in with a list of things she wanted, negotiated well and came away with some good things and the respect of Pelosi and the rest of the house leadership.

    Seth Moulton, on the other hand, came across as a simpleton, more or less a Dem version of the Tea Party caucus. He has been blustering and bloviating and while his main point (or as much of a point as can be discerned) is legitimate, the Dem system is keeping the next generation of leadership from gaining experience. But his only demand is ridiculous on its face (Nancy Pelosi must publicly declare that she is a lame duck from day one), and he has backed himself into a corner where if she stays he looks like a loser. Pelosi does need to take a few limbs in order to instill at least a modicum of fear, and what better person to make an example of than a self important clown like Moulton. Here is a fascinating video of how this negotiation went down.

    5
  35. Blue Galangal says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s it in a nutshell, thank you. Pelosi – as she always does – has played this very smart, and other smart people recognise it and work with it. Contrary to many here, I think there’s a pretty deep Democratic bench in development in the House (I have at least 5 I follow on Twitter that I’m hopeful about and all of them are under 50). I think Fudge will learn from Nancy, and I’m watching AOC. I’m never quite sure if she’s going to flame out spectacularly or if she’s going to learn and grow, but so far she seems to be coming out on the learn and grow side of things.

    2
  36. James Pearce says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    But I think you’d have to go back maybe 200 years or so to find a Speaker who understood the position that way.

    All the way back to the Whig days, huh?

  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Pearce: @James Pearce: Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren invented the “political party” as such. And Jackson took office in 1829, which is a little shy of 200 years ago. That’s where my date comes from. The Whigs lasted another 20-25 years after that.

    But you knew that, right?

    2
  38. Monala says:

    @James Pearce: Let’s see:

    Newt Gingrich was elected to Congress in 1979, and became speaker in 1995. Years of Congressional experience prior to speakership: 16

    Dennis Hastert was elected to Congress in 1987, and became speaker in 1999. Years of Congressional experience prior to speakership: 12

    John Boehner was elected to Congress in 1991, and became speaker in 2011. Years of Congressional experience prior to speakership: 20 (same number of years as Nancy Pelosi when she first became Speaker)

    Paul Ryan was elected to Congress in 1999, and became speaker in 2015. Years of Congressional experience prior to speakership: 16

    None of these folks were newbies when they took the reins as Speaker.

    3
  39. James Pearce says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    But you knew that, right?

    I know that the Speaker has non-partisan duties, too.

    Also, what I don’t know I can read about, same as you. It’s true: I did not go to Harvard.

    @Monala:

    None of these folks were newbies when they took the reins as Speaker.

    I’m not arguing for “newbies.” I’m arguing for new blood.

    The Dems are too backward looking. Who should we run for prez? The wife of the president from the 90s! Who should we make Speaker? The last Speaker!

    1
  40. just nutha says:

    @Jay L Gischer: It’s just as likely as not that “I remember Sam Rayburn” means that someone has some vague notion about why a building in DC is named after him as it does anything else. Now it’s certainly possible that someone over 80 would “remember Sam Rayburn” in some more meaningful way, but…

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Of course Hitchcock is also known for killing off Janet Leigh in the first half hour of a movie.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    I know that the Speaker has non-partisan duties, too.

    I wish you had explained that to Hastert ( the author of the Hastert rule) and Boehner and Ryan, his 2 most fervent devotees.

    1
  43. JohnMcC says:

    @just nutha: My thoughts went in the same direction. “Mr Sam” died while serving in 1961. Someone who ‘remembers’ him as a Speaker would be having clear memories of 1960-61 (and earlier, really). I’m pretty old (so old I’m technically a ‘silent generation’) and I have been pretty keenly following politics since JFK’s administration and I don’t ‘remember’ Sam Rayburn except as a fairly recently dead and revered old Congressman from Texas.

    1
  44. wr says:

    @JohnMcC: I have no personal memories of Sam Rayburn, what with being born in 59 and all, but I got a very vivid picture of what a powerful House speaker could do from reading the first volume of Caro’s LBJ biography…

    1
  45. MarkedMan says:

    You know, the more I think about Moulton, and his partners in that little fiasco, Rice and Ryan, the more I feel bad for their districts. You elect someone as a Rep to watch out for your local interests. That means cutting deals, working to get the bridge repairs into the infrastructure bill, making sure there is no extra tax on the tiddly wink factory in Podunk, and so on. And here you have three clowns that actually had something to negotiate with walk into the office of the leader of their own party and walk out with nothing. Worse than nothing. They walked out as the people most likely to be made examples of. Now, Pelosi isn’t like some of the Speakers in the past. She doesn’t seem to go after people she feels screwed her over merely for the sport of it. But she’s no pussycat either. They walked into her office and didn’t even realize they were demanding something that was tantamount to asking her not to run. And they were carrying nowhere near the weight to pull it off. And it appears they had nothing else as a plan B. And they didn’t seem to contemplate that making an example of them might bring others into line. Pathetic.

    I don’t claim to be a great negotiator. But as an avid fan of the sport I can recognize a amateur league play when I see it.

    2
  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: This. The only type of people that would argue this are blind party sychophants. Her perennial Speakership is evidence of an unhealthy organization based on personality and NOT on values.

  47. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I wish you had explained that to Hastert ( the author of the Hastert rule) and Boehner and Ryan

    I did. But they have deaf ears too.

    @JohnMcC:

    Someone who ‘remembers’ him as a Speaker would be having clear memories of 1960-61

    If any commenter here remembers Sam Rayburn, it would be Tyrell. If I had to guess, by 1960, Tyrell was already in his 20s. We’re lucky to have his perspective, even if he does overrate Charles Kuralt from time to time.

    1
  48. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: This is actually an unfair point. The Freedom caucus member were elected specifically to be disruptive and NOT to compromise. Their constituents believed that it was a better to get either all of what they wanted or nothing. Getting a little via compromise was not an option.

    I doubt Pelosi could deal with member with that kind of mandate. No Speaker could.

    1
  49. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Todd: This was not a “rebellion” on a scale with what happened with the Freedom Caucus. At this point, Liberals and Progressive voters haven’t elected members specifically to be disruptive and not compromise. A sizeable number of Republican districts sent just this kind of Representative to Washington. They had to be reckoned with.

  50. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @wr: One thing I can say about “Mister Sam” is that any junior congresscritter who made it a habit of constantly getting his face on the national news would have been relegated to sitting on the Subcommittee for Oversight of Toilets in National Parks.

  51. Tyrell says:

    I just filled up at $2.03/gallon. How much is it in California, Mrs. Pelosi?
    How’s that high speed train project coming along?
    “a rathole” USC transportation studies director
    “will cost more than a plane ticket and be slower”

  52. Tyrell says:

    I just filled up at $2.03/gallon. How much is it in California, Mrs. Pelosi?
    How’s that high speed train project coming along?
    “a rathole” USC transportation studies director
    “will cost more than a plane ticket and take longer “

  53. al Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    I just filled up at $2.03/gallon. How much is it in California, Mrs. Pelosi?
    How’s that high speed train project coming along?
    “a rathole” USC transportation studies director
    “will cost more than a plane ticket and take longer “

    Interesting how conservatives demonize every powerful female Democratic politician.

    I live in California, I’ve met Speaker Pelosi twice (at brief ‘meet and greets’ at a San Francisco non-profit) and she’s kind, intense, and she knows what she’s doing. I wish there was younger leadership that was ready to assume Democratic Party leadership in the House, however I simply do not see it.

    By the way, I filled up today at my ’76 station – $3.75 per gallon – yet, somehow I’ve resisted the urge to move to Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee or Kentucky to save money on gas prices.

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