The Nancy Pelosi dilemma

There has been an undercurrent of Democratic discontent with Pelosi for years. When the party was in the majority, it generally came from Blue Dogs, who fretted that her liberal image was toxic in their conservative districts. Others chafed at her centralized leadership style. Now, however, the opposition is more generational, coming from a cadre of more vocal members—Ryan, Moulton, Vela, and Kathleen Rice of New York, among others—who are younger and in most cases newer to Congress and looking to advance.

In interviews over the last several weeks, they acknowledged Pelosi’s strengths and accomplishments, conceding that she was not wholly to blame for the constant barrage of GOP attacks against her. But, these Democrats say, Pelosi sometimes makes it too easy for Republicans by bungling the party’s message or by making an offhand remark that goes awry. They winced when, during an appearance in November on Meet the Press, she referred to Representative John Conyers as “an icon” while the party was trying to get the long-serving Michigan Democrat to resign following allegations of sexual harassment. Rice said Pelosi’s comments “ceded the moral high ground” and set women and the Democratic Party back “decades.”…

“Great leaders know when it’s time to step aside, and I obviously have been calling for her leadership team to step aside,” Rice told me. “I think it would be advantageous to us if that were made clear before the election.”