A leftover from this weekend via Mediaite and a nice example of what’s known as “kidding on the square.” She’s sort of joking but sort of not: The eternal thrust of Democrats’ messaging to their core constituencies is that the GOP wants to return to some dark age, even if the “dark age” was status quo America five minutes ago. Ask her if the U.S. health insurance industry circa September 2013 was uncivilized and she’d enthusiastically tell you yes, I’m sure. If Elizabeth Warren jumped in next year and ran the table to the White House, the comparatively modest federal spending proposed by Obama since 2009 would no doubt quickly come to be seen as uncivilized. Each step away from statism is a step towards the end of civilization, even if that step is merely to recover lost ground. Thank goodness Washington takes so few of them!

So yeah: Partly a joke by Pelosi at how hyperbolic partisan rhetoric can be, especially when the stakes are as low as they are in this election, and partly an earnest plea for lefty turnout. And just maybe, there’s a little nostalgia here too. Listening to her talk about the end of civilization took me back to 2006, when lefties were reassuring each other that Bush would surely blow up the world in due course unless a powerful Democratic Congress were elected to rein him in. That’s how Pelosi became the first woman Speaker. No more would the legislature meekly submit to a warmongering executive; the end of civilization had been thwarted in the nick of time! Eight years later, Putin’s invading eastern European countries, a jihadi outfit too nutty for Al Qaeda has taken over western Iraq, and Obama’s preparing to bomb Syria whether Congress likes it or not — and of course, Democratic hacks like Pelosi are backing him to the hilt. If O were a Republican, the prospect of civilization ending due to a fatal combo of authoritarianism and haplessness would be very, very real to devout progressives. As it is, it’s a laugh line on Maher’s show here for the thought of Obama having to serially veto a bunch of bills passed by a Republican Congress next year. Oh well.

Exit quotation from this same interview, believe it or not: “Fear is a motivator, and we are not fear-mongers. The Democrats are messengers of hope, and that’s what we will continue to be.”