Pelosi biographer: She's still at war with "The Squad"

Pelosi biographer: She's still at war with "The Squad"
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Nancy Pelosi isn’t all that happy with Barack Obama either — at least according to her biographer. Pelosi worked with Susan Page on the new book, Madame Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, which will come out next week. The excerpts suggest that Pelosi wants to settle some scores right up front, which puts her in line with fellow Speaker John Boehner:

  • Pelosi unloads on the Squad, at one point adopting a child-like voice when discussing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and offers the Squad this blunt advice: “You’re not a one-person show. This is the Congress of the United States.”
  • “Mitch McConnell,” the speaker said, “is not a force for good in the country. He is an enabler of some of the worst stuff, and an instigator of some of it on his own.”
  • Pelosi scoffs at President Obama for not being able to deliver his home state votes for Obamacare — “Why are we having a problem with Illinois?” — and bristles at Obama getting sole credit for the deals she got through Congress.

The Hill picks up the hostility toward the Squad too, and provides a bit more context. In the book, Page writes that this was no PR move but a “palpable” anger directed at the four frosh Democrats:

At one point in July of 2019, the feud between Pelosi and the “Squad” had become so ubiquitous that Pelosi told reporters during a press briefing that she would no longer “be discussing it any further.”

Page wrote that During her second of the 10 interviews with Pelosi, which took place just after those comments, the Speaker’s “anger at the four new progressive congresswomen was palpable.”

Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez have gone back and forth on a number of issues over the years, with the New York Democrat accusing Pelosi of focusing criticisms on female lawmakers of color while Pelosi has criticized members of the “Squad” for publicly criticizing fellow Democrats.

The tiff with the Squad might not be new, but the grudge Pelosi has carried over it might be. The dig at Obama might make some waves too, although not in the way Pelosi imagines it. Obama couldn’t deliver the Illinois caucus because Pelosi and Harry Reid opted for hardline-progressive policies in ObamaCare, only pulling back from one — the “public option” — when Pelosi couldn’t get the votes for it. Even with 59 votes, Reid couldn’t push it through the Senate, forcing him into a reconciliation process that required tax hikes and other “revenue” enhancers. Those all helped lead the party to disaster in the next election, when Pelosi lost 68 House seats and control of the lower chamber for eight years.

These days, though, speakers are letting it all hang out. Boehner certainly did in his memoirs, in which he claims to regret impeaching Bill Clinton and airs out his grievances about Donald Trump. Most of his barbs are aimed at Capitol Hill, and a good share of those at his fellow Republicans:

Boehner directs much venom at Republican “bomb throwers” who he sees as more interested in appearing on Fox News than getting something accomplished. He singles out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for some of his harshest criticism.

“There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless a**hole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz,” Boehner wrote.

I’d bet he sells more books than Page does. Boehner will probably get more media invites, too.

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