Is this the tweet that launched a thousand campaign ads, and burnt the topless towers of Democratic midterm ambitions? If the Republican Party and/or the National Republican Congressional Committee doesn’t cut a version of Nancy Pelosi’s remarks at today’s Politico Playbook interview for every contested House race, they should get sued for incompetence. Jake Sherman asks Pelosi about GOP claims that a Democratic House majority would pass a single-payer health care system and raise taxes. “The second part is accurate,” Pelosi replied:
See for yourself: https://t.co/eERslTTVYF
— Matt Gorman (@mattsgorman) May 8, 2018
Pelosi then goes on and on about how the tax bill was passed “in the dark of night and the speed of light,” which is amusing when it comes from the woman who coined the phrase, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Her explanation of how the tax cut bill defies the tradition of comity and consensus similarly elides Pelosi’s role in imposing the egregious ObamaCare bill through brute partisan force. And even putting aside the historical hilarity, Pelosi also manages to ignore the weeks and months of “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” hysteria from Democrats that preceded the eventual passage of the tax bill.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake points out that Pelosi continues to be her own worst enemy:
Nancy Pelosi clearly wants to be speaker again, and she’s on the cusp of reclaiming that perch. But someone appears to be standing in her way: Nancy Pelosi. …
While PolitiFact ruled a month ago that claims Pelosi had pledged to raise taxes were only “half true,” Pelosi seemed to just confirm that’s her plan. Most any politician knows that when you are asked whether you want to “raise taxes,” the next words out of your mouth probably shouldn’t be “Yes.” You talk around it. You massage it. Republicans passed this bill partially in hopes that Democrats would be baited into running against tax cuts and for raising taxes, and Pelosi seems to be obliging them.
None of this is to say this is a fatal blow for Pelosi’s hopes to become speaker. And she’s certainly done her party plenty of good on that front, most notably with her fundraising. But Democrats need to win in red areas to take back the House, and her message seems to be significantly different than the one the candidates who will decide that desire.
Interestingly, Politico’s own coverage of the event fails to include these remarks. Instead, it focuses on Pelosi’s rather strange confidence in her abilities after four straight electoral losses:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday she is unbothered by Democrats campaigning in swing districts by pledging not to support her for speaker.
Her message to such candidates, channeling iconic former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby.” …
“I think if they have to do that to win the election, I’m all for winning,” she said. “I think many of them are saying we need new leadership. I don’t take offense at that.”
“I’m okay. Just win, baby,” she said, misattributing the quote made famous by Davis and his Oakland Raiders to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, the league’s defending champions who are currently in the midst of a playoff run.
Given the temper of the times and the historical issues the president’s party faces in the first midterms, Democrats might still win in November. But it will be in spite of Pelosi rather than because of her, and if she keeps handing gifts like these to the GOP, it will be Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell quoting Al Davis — assuming, that is, that Republicans take advantage of those gifts.