I wrote last week about the debate over Nancy Pelosi’s leadership that was spurred by the Democratic loss in Georgia. There was enough hubbub about Pelosi that Meet the Press devoted a 10-minute segment to the question this morning.
Chuck Todd opened the segment by noting that “Groups aligned with President Trump, Speaker Ryan and former Speaker Newt Gingrich spent a combined four and a half million dollars in that race simply to tie Ossoff to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.” “The adds made sure that Pelosi’s supposed San Francisco liberalism and Jon Ossoff were indistinguishable, as you can see in these ads. And apparently it worked,” he added.
Rep. Tim Ryan, who previously challenged Pelosi for the leadership position, said “It’s not necessarily her fault. They’ve spent, I would say, hundreds of millions of dollars against her.” He continued, “I’ve got enormous respect for Nancy Pelosi. I love Nancy Pelosi. She’s helped me throughout my career and she was a tremendous Speaker.” But Ryan added, “This is completely unfair but the reality is the reality…We have to go into 2018 with a leader who has been damaged.” Ryan then made the case that Democrats’ ability to help people was being hampered by their inability to win elections (and by implication, Pelosi was limiting their ability to do that).
Right on cue, Republican groups made it known that Pelosi will continue to be “front and center” in campaigns against Democrats around the country. From the Hill:
“Nancy Pelosi will be front and center in the millions of dollars we’re going to spend over the next two years across the country,” said Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) executive director Corry Bliss, whose group spent almost $7 million in the Georgia election cycle…
“This midterm is going to be a referendum on Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco liberal values,” Bliss said. “That’s what the elections are going to be about … We saw a little glimpse of that on Tuesday.”…
“Nancy Pelosi is the gift that keeps on giving. She represents everything wrong about the Democrat Party,” said Andrea Bozek, a former NRCC aide who helped on Handel’s campaign.
So with fresh evidence that tying Ossoff to Pelosi worked, Republicans are promising more of the same next year. There are only two outcomes here. Either Pelosi stays, in which case she becomes the face of Democrats in GOP ad campaigns around the country. Or, the other option, is that Pelosi is pushed out, creating anger among the more progressive wing of the party just as they are heading into an election season. Either outcome seems to create serious problems for Democrats who are desperate to exploit President Trump’s poor poll numbers.