Via Mediaite. I’ll spot her a mandate on protecting coverage for preexisting conditions since that was a core part of Democrats’ midterm messaging. I’ll also spot her obstructing Trump on immigration since the GOP went all-in on the threat posed by the caravan before Election Day and got 40 seats flipping from red to blue in the House for their trouble.
Beyond that, what’s Pelosi’s “mandate” from voters? The conventional read on the midterms, particularly the shift towards Dems among suburban voters, is that Americans don’t trust Trump enough to leave his party in total control of government for another two years. It’s not a policy thing. How could it be? Republicans did nothing with their two years in power. They passed a tax cut. Voters wanted change because they wanted a check on the president. Now they have one, replete with subpoena power. Pelosi’s “mandate” by and large is simply to counter Trump, which is exactly why she’s being stubborn on funding the wall.
Here’s the transcript of her speech. The most interesting part almost gets lost amid the traditional yadda-yadda about “the people’s House,” bipartisanship, and so on:
And we will make America more American by protecting our patriotic, courageous Dreamers!
As President Reagan said in his last speech as president: “If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”
DREAMers? Democrats haven’t been talking about DREAMers lately. The Democratic message — again, true to their real “mandate” — has been that Trump gets nothing on the wall, period. It’s Lindsey Graham who’s been pushing a deal that would exchange DREAM amnesty for wall funding.
Is Pelosi signaling here that she might be open to that deal? Trump offered it last year as part of a bigger package that would have required Democrats to agree to new restrictions on legal immigration, not just a wall. Because of that, her signing onto Graham’s proposal would put Trump in a nasty political bind. If he rejects DREAM-for-wall out of hand then it’ll deepen public perceptions that he’s the one who’s driving the shutdown, not Democrats. If he accepts the deal, suddenly he’ll have Tom Cotton and Ann Coulter screaming at him that not only is he signing off on amnesty, he’s giving up all of his leverage to get Cotton’s RAISE Act passed by doing so. What does Trump do then? Anger populists by doing the deal anyway or reject it and then have to explain to the rest of the country why he won’t support a bipartisan compromise that actually funds the wall?
Pelosi probably can’t do a DREAM-for-wall deal, though, no matter how uncomfortable it would make Trump. Again, it’s all about that “mandate.” Liberals spent two years waiting to stick a thumb in his eye; now they’re doing it, denying him his pet project, the thing he campaigned on. Even amnesty for DREAMers isn’t enough to make them give that up.
Here’s the end of her speech. She took the oath as Speaker surrounded by a group of young children, hoping to distract from the fact that the average age of the Democratic leadership is like 82 or something.