Nancy Pelosi has confidently and perhaps preemptively declared herself the next Speaker of the House. She’d be the first speaker in six decades to regain the top House job with the larger office, paycheck and driver.
Of course, as our colleague Allahpundit has pointed out, it’s not true that she’s already won. The caucus vote isn’t until the end of the month. And enough Democrats have publicly said they want someone else. There’s plenty of time for them to change their mind, say, if she offers some treats to younger caucus members agitating for party leaders not born before Pearl Harbor.
Oh, and by the way, a recent survey Gallup found most Americans don’t want her back either. But they don’t matter.
The problem with this nascent rebel Dem caucus is that Pelosi has been a prodigious fundraiser for many members and the rebels had no alternative candidate.
Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge says she’s been overwhelmed by colleagues’ promised support as a Pelosi challenger. That doesn’t mean she will. Pelosi may buy her off with something. But someone like Fudge makes sense. She’s not young (66). But she’s younger than Pelosi, who turns 79 in March. Fudge is a woman and black, so who could argue against the first black female Speaker?
Fudge is also from Ohio in the Heartland, where Democrats lost big-time in 2016 with only coastal leaders in Congress.
But, wait. There’s more. The late November caucus vote doesn’t make Pelosi Speaker. It makes her head of the Democratic caucus. She only becomes Speaker if she gets at least 218 full House votes in January.
You may have noticed since 2016 that Democrats are sore losers. There’s no way they can lose in a fair vote. They must somehow be victims of evil outside forces, like Russian collusion or voter suppression or something. If the rebel caucus loses the November member vote, a number of them could deny her the Speaker’s gavel by wasting or withholding their vote in January.
And that means — wait for it — Pelosi would need some Republican help, either in votes, which might be painful back home, or in enough GOP members voting “Present” to lower the majority from 218 to whatever Pelosi can muster.
Now, New York Republican Tom Reed says he and some other GOP members are committed to backing Pelosi for Speaker if she agrees to enact a package of rules reforms. He says they’re rounding up others.
Well, after all, this week’s D.C. catchword is bipartisanship.
Do you remember the caucus chaos and forced Speaker change among Republicans by the small but feisty Tea Party group in 2015? Yes, yes, it’s called the Freedom Caucus today. But now it appears to be Democrats’ turn to endure internal turmoil. Get some popcorn and sit back.