When Nancy Pelosi wins, Americans lose

Nancy Pelosi has had an eventful week.  Wednesday, letters were exchanged between herself and President Trump, who eventually conceded to her seething demand to postpone the State of the Union address.  Left-leaning media announced this as some kind of a victory, like CNN's front-page headline, which read, "Pelosi claims win over Trump in State of the Union showdown."  It begs to be asked: what did this really accomplish?

The answer is that it has given Nancy Pelosi a feeling of vindication, that she finally got payback for President Trump canceling her vacation abroad trip. But does it help the American citizens whom she is supposed to represent?  Not allowing the president to address Congress and the American people is just a maneuver so she can act as a gatekeeper between the country and its elected leader, and that is at the core alarmingly anti-American.

By using the government shutdown as an excuse to go against the tradition of the State of the Union, Pelosi is guaranteeing that the subtext of history remembers her as a spiteful obstructionist while paving the way for future speakers to use the same tactic, perhaps against a future Democratic president.

 Then, on Thursday, Pelosi decided to celebrate the lack of progress she helped bring about when House Democrats shot down two separate bills that would have given affected federal workers their paychecks while the shutdown continued.  How did she celebrate this blatant attack on federal workers?  By giving the House a three-day paid weekend off, essentially contradicting her previous cries to "end the shutdown."  Can't work on a solution if work is canceled.

While it's fully within her powers as speaker of the House to call for these "mini-recesses," maxed at the three days, her execution of this privilege is poorly timed and an insult to the 800,000 workers who are now watching her reward the House with a vacation that extends the uncertainty of their own economic security.

Nancy is continuing to double down on her refusal to do her job while the government is shut down, with the AP reporting that Pelosi said, "Democrats won't negotiate with Trump until the government is open."  This recalls her infamous blunder when she told House members in 2012 they it would "have to pass the [health care] bill so that [they could] find out what's in it."  She clearly hasn't learned her lesson about government overreach.

One of my more rational liberal friends and I sat down to discuss Pelosi's pressuring Democratic leaders to stand firm and refuse to negotiate with the president.  He saw it as a reasonable response to such a politically charged and polarizing issue as a border wall.  I asked him: if the situation were reversed, would he trust Republican representatives to forfeit their leverage on an issue they were irrationally against only if and after Democrats gave in to their demands?  Even he could see that in this role reversal, Republicans would have no obligation to follow through on their word, thus they probably wouldn't.

Despite the media's claims that Nancy Pelosi has done anything this week that has mattered, what we are witnessing is pure political posturing.  Pelosi was trying to make an example of herself when she told CNN's Dana Bash, "I want women to see that you do not get pushed around."  In Speaker Pelosi's mind, it seems, strong women are willing to one-up their opponents even if it costs themselves and their country.

Unwillingness to compromise isn't a show of strength; it is a show of defiance.  Sending workers on a vacation during a crisis is not an example of how to be "not pushed around"; it's an abuse of power.  And coming between the president and the people by canceling his address doesn't make you a strong woman, Nance – it makes you an egomaniac.

There is no long-game strategy here.  Speaker Pelosi is just hoping that if she doesn't do her job long enough, Democrats can pull some new divisive tactic from their playbook, all in the pathetic attempt to make the president look bad.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Nancy Pelosi has had an eventful week.  Wednesday, letters were exchanged between herself and President Trump, who eventually conceded to her seething demand to postpone the State of the Union address.  Left-leaning media announced this as some kind of a victory, like CNN's front-page headline, which read, "Pelosi claims win over Trump in State of the Union showdown."  It begs to be asked: what did this really accomplish?

The answer is that it has given Nancy Pelosi a feeling of vindication, that she finally got payback for President Trump canceling her vacation abroad trip. But does it help the American citizens whom she is supposed to represent?  Not allowing the president to address Congress and the American people is just a maneuver so she can act as a gatekeeper between the country and its elected leader, and that is at the core alarmingly anti-American.

By using the government shutdown as an excuse to go against the tradition of the State of the Union, Pelosi is guaranteeing that the subtext of history remembers her as a spiteful obstructionist while paving the way for future speakers to use the same tactic, perhaps against a future Democratic president.

 Then, on Thursday, Pelosi decided to celebrate the lack of progress she helped bring about when House Democrats shot down two separate bills that would have given affected federal workers their paychecks while the shutdown continued.  How did she celebrate this blatant attack on federal workers?  By giving the House a three-day paid weekend off, essentially contradicting her previous cries to "end the shutdown."  Can't work on a solution if work is canceled.

While it's fully within her powers as speaker of the House to call for these "mini-recesses," maxed at the three days, her execution of this privilege is poorly timed and an insult to the 800,000 workers who are now watching her reward the House with a vacation that extends the uncertainty of their own economic security.

Nancy is continuing to double down on her refusal to do her job while the government is shut down, with the AP reporting that Pelosi said, "Democrats won't negotiate with Trump until the government is open."  This recalls her infamous blunder when she told House members in 2012 they it would "have to pass the [health care] bill so that [they could] find out what's in it."  She clearly hasn't learned her lesson about government overreach.

One of my more rational liberal friends and I sat down to discuss Pelosi's pressuring Democratic leaders to stand firm and refuse to negotiate with the president.  He saw it as a reasonable response to such a politically charged and polarizing issue as a border wall.  I asked him: if the situation were reversed, would he trust Republican representatives to forfeit their leverage on an issue they were irrationally against only if and after Democrats gave in to their demands?  Even he could see that in this role reversal, Republicans would have no obligation to follow through on their word, thus they probably wouldn't.

Despite the media's claims that Nancy Pelosi has done anything this week that has mattered, what we are witnessing is pure political posturing.  Pelosi was trying to make an example of herself when she told CNN's Dana Bash, "I want women to see that you do not get pushed around."  In Speaker Pelosi's mind, it seems, strong women are willing to one-up their opponents even if it costs themselves and their country.

Unwillingness to compromise isn't a show of strength; it is a show of defiance.  Sending workers on a vacation during a crisis is not an example of how to be "not pushed around"; it's an abuse of power.  And coming between the president and the people by canceling his address doesn't make you a strong woman, Nance – it makes you an egomaniac.

There is no long-game strategy here.  Speaker Pelosi is just hoping that if she doesn't do her job long enough, Democrats can pull some new divisive tactic from their playbook, all in the pathetic attempt to make the president look bad.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.