Pelosi's Political Expiration Date Has Come and Gone

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Nancy Pelosi is not making life easy for Hakeem Jeffries. She has created a backlash over her objection to the invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress.

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Former Speaker Pelosi chose Jeffries as her successor when she (finally) stepped back from party leadership. He seemed to be her protege, waiting in the wings for her to finally make her move. Jeffries became the first black American to lead a party in either chamber of the United States Congress.

There is a kerfuffle going on (you hate to see it happen) between the two since Pelosi decided to make her objections known that she does not approve of Netanyahu being allowed to speak. Netanyahu spoke to Congress in 2015, too. At that time he was sounding the alarm about Iran's nuclear weapon program. 

Now Netanyahu looks forward to addressing the Israel-Hamas war. 

Netanyahu accepted the invitation, a letter signed by all four leaders, on June 1. 

In a post to X, formerly known as Twitter, Netanyahu wrote that he was looking forward to the opportunity to “present the truth” to Congress about the “just war” that Israel has been waging in Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, when 1,200 Israelis were killed and 240 others were taken hostage. In the months following Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, at least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian health authorities, while millions of others have fled from their homes.

“I am very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both Houses of Congress and to present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us to the representatives of the American people and the entire world,” Netanyahu wrote.

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Pelosi is joining in with the pro-Hamas wing of the Democrat Party. She is going on television and voicing her objection to the invitation. She should step further aside and let more sane Democrats (rare as they are) be the voice of the party. 

The antisemitism is strong in the Democratic Party. It has risen to the top since October 7, 2023, that's for sure. 

San Fran Gran's remarks on national television have caused tension among rank-and-file Democrats. They claim Pelosi makes it harder for Jeffries to do his job. The party is divided enough these days, in the run-up to a presidential election, without Pelosi jumping in. Even the Democrats who say they will boycott Netanyahu's speech are upset. They know that Israel is a longtime loyal ally.

“I was disappointed because I think it does make things more difficult for our leadership,” Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) said. “They made a decision, the decision was a tough one, and we usually hang together. Honestly, when she was Speaker, we hung with her, and I was hoping she would do the same.”

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), who is leaning toward boycotting Netanyahu’s speech to protest his handling of the war, nonetheless supports the decision by Democratic leaders to invite the prime minister to Washington. He’s echoing Vargas’s warning that Pelosi’s comments will only exacerbate the party’s differences over Israel to the benefit of Republicans. 

“Israel is an ally, and many of us support Israel without supporting Netanyahu. And I think that’s the basis upon which Mr. Jeffries made his decision. This was a courtesy to an ally, and not anything more,” he said. “Obviously, she’s the former Speaker of the House, and I think comments like that are not helpful to the cohesion of the party.”

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Some Democrats justify Pelosi's snit as just expressing the sentiments of other Democrats. Pelosi has a long history of opposing Netanyahu when he is in office. 

“Nancy Pelosi is very strategic in everything that she does, and she’s also very discreet in everything that she does,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), who is boycotting the speech. “And so for her to come forward, I think she’s expressing what a lot of members feel. And she is giving cover to members who might be in tight positions who feel the way that she does.”

Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.), a former head of the Democratic caucus, expanded on that argument, saying Pelosi was “sending several different messages” to several different audiences. They include liberal lawmakers, but also liberal voters infuriated over the soaring number of Palestinian deaths, as well as her allies in the White House who have been rebuffed by Netanyahu throughout the war in Gaza.

“She’s expressing the sentiment of a number of voters and a number of members,” said Larson, who plans to attend the address. “And she’s especially upset with the way he’s treated Biden and [Secretary of State Antony] Blinken.”

You remember Rep. Hank Johnson, right? He's the brilliant representative from Georgia who thought that Guam would sink because of the military installation on the island. 

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Pelosi called for Netanyahu to step down, as Schumer did. It's going to be a little awkward for them now. Them's the breaks. 

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
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