John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Pelosi Should Be Elected Speaker by the Democrats

Posted on November 27, 2018
I am not in the business of giving my Democratic friends political advice.

But as someone who worked for the longest serving Republican Speaker in the history of the House (Denny Hastert) and the longest serving minority leader in the history of the Republican Party (Bob Michel), I know a few things about congressional leadership.

And if I were advising my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, I would tell them to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.

Pelosi and I don’t agree on much. She doesn’t much care for my politics. But I respect her as an effective leader who has worked tirelessly to achieve her political goals.

I am not writing this as a cynical ploy because I think that Pelosi would make a great target for Republicans in the next election. I don’t think the attacks on her were particularly effective in the last election, especially with the female voters who rejected overwhelmingly my party.

Here are my five reasons why I think Pelosi should get the nod for Speaker:

1) She’s a liberal’s liberal  

Nancy Pelosi represents the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. She is pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ rights, in favor of higher taxes and more spending, responsible for the passage of ObamaCare, a believer in global warming, etc. If there is a progressive issue out there, Pelosi has been in the middle of it. A political leader must represent her party’s aspirational goals and Pelosi does that very well.

2) She’s mature enough to be able to cut deals 

With age comes experience, and Pelosi has plenty of political experience in making things happen legislatively. The new members of the Democratic Party are every bit as inexperienced and radical as the class of 2010 was for the Republicans. What the House needs is somebody who can successfully teach this class how to become legislators. Nobody can do that as effectively as Pelosi because nobody has been in the room when the deals have been cut as often as she has.

3) Pelosi is a powerhouse fundraiser 

You can’t win elections without money and for a generation now, Pelosi has been the most important fundraising machine for the Democrats.

She raised close to $122 million in the last cycle for her colleagues, resources that were essential to the Democratic victory. We know from history that money doesn’t necessarily buy you love (ask John Boehner), but for the Democrats, it sure gave them a political edge. Her fundraising prowess is unmatched among their leadership team.

4) She’s tough enough to take on President Trump 

Politics ain’t beanbag. Pelosi knows this instinctively, learning at the knees of her father, the former mayor of Baltimore. She can both take a punch and give one back. For the Democrats, they need somebody who has proven that they can go toe to toe with a president who has reinvented the game. While Pelosi is tough, her rhetoric is usually measured. She doesn’t make a lot of unforced errors with wild proclamations or erroneous assertions.

5) She has good and loyal staff 

The hallmark of an effective leadership team is the people who work there.  And Pelosi has a deeply experienced team on staff and equally respected diaspora of former staff scattered around Washington.  If you want to know a good leader, look at the staff.  If they are top-notch and loyal to the boss, then you know that leader will be effective. Pelosi wins that contest, hands down.

It is not my place to advise Democrats on how they should vote in their leadership elections. But I would make one final observation of Pelosi. She deserves this one last shot to be Speaker.

Nobody has done more to get her team back into the majority.  It would be bad form for a rump group of Pelosi detractors to derail her bid to return to the Speaker’s chair, especially in this political Year of the Woman.

I don’t want Mrs. Pelosi to be successful in achieving all of her legislative goals, but I do want effective leadership in the House that can help to competently govern this nation. That’s what the American people voted for and that’s what they deserve.