Not exclusively, of course, but yesterday it seems both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue celebrated Say Something Offensive Day. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers working on the impasse over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as “the five white guys,” which included members of her own caucus. “Are they going to open a hamburger stand or what?” Pelosi added, laughing at her own joke:
“The five white guys I call them, you know,” Pelosi said, referring to five bipartisan lawmakers, including Hoyer, leading efforts to salvage the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. All five of the male lawmakers are white.
“Are they going to open a hamburger stand next or what?” she said, referring to the popular fast food restaurant “Five Guys.”
Her top lieutenant in the House Democratic Caucus was … not amused. Steny Hoyer — one of the “white guys” involved in the talks — blasted Pelosi’s remarks as “offensive”:
The lack of minority involvement only serves to delay a deal, she argued, since it would need sign-off from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and others.
Her comments prompted an immediate rebuke from Hoyer, the long-time No. 2 House Democratic leader.
“That comment is offensive. I am committed to ensuring DREAMers are protected and I will welcome everyone to the table who wants to get this done,” Hoyer said to POLITICO in a statement.
Pelosi’s spokesman tried backpedaling on behalf of his boss:
“Leader Pelosi has every confidence in the leadership of Whip Hoyer and Senator Durbin, which they have demonstrated on this topic for years,” Hammill said. “It’s not a question of who’s there but who’s not there.”
Three points, other than the obvious observation that Pelosi’s comment is racist on its face. First, she’s the caucus leader; why didn’t see assign negotiators that reflected the blessings of diversity within her caucus? Second, it looks pretty clear that Pelosi doesn’t have confidence in either Hoyer or Durbin to negotiate, or she wouldn’t have made that remark. Third, since when does the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have a veto on legislation that might be supported by a majority of her caucus — and if that’s the case, shouldn’t Pelosi have appointed someone from the CHC to run the Democratic side of the negotiations?
That’s not the only way in which Pelosi appears out of touch, Power Line’s Steven Hayward wrote last night:
Is it still Christmas? Or is Nancy Pelosi just determined to be the gift that keeps on giving all year round? Today, in answer to a reporter’s question about the growing number of companies giving bonuses to their workforce because of the tax bill, said that the bonuses were “insignificant crumbs.” I’ll bet a lot of the people receiving the bonuses don’t think so, though we do have to sympathize with Pelosi, since she lives in a San Francisco neighborhood (when she isn’t up at her fancy Napa Valley vineyard and luxury resort) where $1,000 isn’t very much. Easy to see why she might sniff at such a trivial amount.
Target has raised their starting wage as well as paying bonuses, and Wal-Mart has done both plus added new benefits for adoption. Millions of workers will be instantly better off, and they’re not going to think that’s crumb-y. If Democrats plan to talk down to millions of American workers like this again, they’d better be prepared to deal with the lost opportunities in 2018 that will result.
House Democrats should find that offensive — and give Pelosi the boot.