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Nancy Pelosi has made another major blunder. On the cusp of the Senate achieving a gigantic bipartisan deal to stave off a deep recession, the House speaker unexpectedly tossed in a roadblock, throwing the country and financial markets into a tailspin.
Pelosi lobbed her own counterproposal into the frantic negotiations, derailing an agreement that appeared to be, as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed, on the “two-yard line.” As the hours passed, Republicans grew irate, accusing Pelosi of sideswiping a desperate effort to backstop America’s industries and workers.
The normally taciturn Mitch McConnell and cool-headed Maine Sen. Susan Collins each took to the Senate floor, lambasting Pelosi for undermining the good faith effort to backstop our sagging economy.
As the hours dragged on, the Senate majority leader called out Pelosi for demanding a wish-list of Democratic priorities such as new bargaining powers for unions, tax credits for solar panels and tougher emissions standards for airlines – goals that had nothing to do with protecting the country from the coronavirus. Instead, it appeared the Democrat leader was intent on not letting a crisis go to waste.
To Republicans, and to millions of Americans fearful of losing their jobs or watching their IRAs sink in value, Pelosi’s obstruction smacked of hard-core partisan game-playing. She was slammed on social media, and roundly blasted by her rivals in Congress.
This was an error, one of now four, by my count, that has severely tarnished the speaker’s reputation as a master political strategist.
The first was early on dissing the so-called “Squad,” as four female members of the progressive caucus have come to be known. The second was appointing the distrusted and disliked Adam Schiff to lead the impeachment effort. The third was arbitrarily delaying delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate in what came to be viewed as a raw power play.
And now this – interfering in efforts to calm the nation’s panic.
Early on, Pelosi dismissed the clout of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, not comprehending the power conferred by the group’s vast social media presence. Instead of courting their support, Pelosi allowed these representatives and their followers to become a thorn in the side of the Democrat establishment, funding progressive allies to challenge party incumbents and undermining the speaker’s leadership.
Appointing Schiff to lead the impeachment effort was another goof. From the start, the GOP successfully branded Schiff and his tactics as dishonest and non-transparent. Adding insult to injury, Pelosi refused to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate in a timely manner, infuriating those already calling the effort to toss out the president unfair and politically motivated.
Why is Pelosi, widely considered a master strategist, so obviously off-kilter? So repeatedly on the wrong foot? She, and other Democrats, are frantic.
At the end, Americans were not won over by Democrats’ charges against President Trump. Fund-raising for the president soared and his approval rating rose. That was not how the impeachment drive was supposed to go.
And now this. At a moment when the American economy has been rocked by the coronavirus when workers and industries are being destroyed through no fault of their own, Pelosi resorts to gamesmanship.
As serious negotiations on the Senate bill continued throughout the day, Republicans called out the speaker for insisting on what McConnell called “nonsense” items in the Senate bill. She also reportedly larded up her House counterproposal even more generously with unrelated demands.
Word went out that Pelosi wanted $35 million for the Kennedy Center, $100 million for NASA, $25 million for cleaning supplies for the Capital building, $25 million for additional payments to House representatives and other unrelated goodies. The House bill stretched to more than 1,000 pages. As Pelosi said about the ObamaCare bill in 2010, we’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it.
Why is Pelosi, widely considered a master strategist, so obviously off-kilter? So repeatedly on the wrong foot?
She, and other Democrats, are frantic. President Trump has survived Russiagate, impeachment and is now enjoying approval ratings near all-time highs even as the coronavirus ravages the nation. Not only is his overall popularity improving, but in a recent Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans gave him high marks for his management of the crisis.
It should be noted that the surge in approval for the president is occurring in spite of constant criticism from the Left. Trump has been blasted for being overly optimistic, overly pessimistic, for issuing advisories that are inaccurate, for being behind the curve and every other imaginable failing. Increasingly, it seems Americans are turning out the liberal media.
At the same time, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democrat candidate, looks unsteady. Despite 27 Democrat candidates jumping into the arena, Democrats will likely be represented by the 77-year-old former vice president who has failed to generate excitement or energy – his own or his party’s.
Now being overshadowed by Trump, who daily commands the airwaves talking to Americans about COVID-19, Biden is attempting to gain attention by holding “shadow” briefings from his home in Delaware. What with technical hiccups, the sterile surroundings and the inability to produce real news, those efforts at teleprompter-reading are unlikely to impress any but the party faithful.
There’s a reason that professional odds-makers favor Trump over Biden in the upcoming election.
Pelosi and her fellow Democrats must be incredulous. They and their allies in the media have never understood why Trump was elected. They still do not perceive that many of the Democrats’ enthusiasms – for identity politics, open borders, full-term abortions, political correctness and so much more – are unpopular with a wide swathe of the nation.
As they continue to pander to the far-left fringe of their party, they will find themselves further and further away from retaking the White House.