Two Things Nancy Pelosi Loves: Republicans and Living in Fantasy Land
Respectfully, ma'am, what century do you think it is?
For all the hand wringing over Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s apparently moribund mental faculties of late, I’d like to call your attention to fellow California octogenarian, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who seems to have no idea what decade she’s living in.
Speaking at the opening session of the Aspen Ideas: Climate Conference in Miami Beach, FL on Monday, Pelosi popped on her rose colored spectacles to opine about the Good Ol’ Days of American Politics™, when mid-century Republicans were largely indistinguishable from 2022 Democrats, and everyone held hands and sang songs around the campfire and were very polite to one another about how nice it was to be part of the same vaulted institution that is the United States Senate.
“Rather than saying, 'Well, we have to defeat them,' no, let's just try to persuade them,” Pelosi told conference attendees, before launching into how much she loved the GOP of old, back when “you cared about a woman’s right to choose, you cared about the environment.”
I can see the campaign ads now: a Ken Burns-style collage featuring shifting images of quote unquote “liberal” Republicans like Richard Nixon (“there are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white.”) and Nelson Rockefeller (“that’s life”) while Pelosi’s disembodied voice urges Democrats to “just try to persuade them.” Then, in the closing seconds, the Speaker appears on screen, stares straight at the camera, and declares “Here I am, Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican Party.” Boom! Base: energized! Blue wave in November! Country saved!
It’s unclear if the sort of conservatism for which Pelosi is waxing oh-so-nostalgic ever existed, but in 2022, the phenomenon of moderate-to-liberal Republicans is about as relevant as the Whig party, or a new line of penny farthings. If the Rockefeller wing of the GOP ever actually wielded power in this country, those days ended nearly half a century ago — years before she was elected to the House in the first place. Pelosi can “want” that halcyon era of Republicanism back all she wants, but it’s willfully ignorance bordering on political malfeasance for her to seriously expect it’ll ever actually happen, to say nothing of happening through sheer, good faith “persuasion” like she claims.
Pelosi’s comments are, however, noteworthy for being a tacit admission that the Democratic party of 2022 — its leadership tier, at least — is fundamentally incapable of even identifying, to say nothing of actually addressing, the many crises occurring on its watch. Rather than face the reality that the GOP has been engaged in a decades long — and spectacularly successful — enterprise of overt white nationalist fascism, Pelosi, like President Joe Biden, seems totally taken aback at what’s been happening right in front of them, to the point where all they can offer is mealy platitudes and boomer-calibrated callbacks to an era that largely existed only in their minds’ eye.
If anything, what Pelosi is really saying here is that her Democratic party has more in common with long dead strain of politics than with her current House Republican colleagues — the very ones she insists can be persuaded to abandon their “cult” in favor of a moderate philosophy Republican voters left for dead decades ago. It’s bullshit, of course, but it’s also one of the most inadvertently damning indictments of modern liberalism I’ve heard in years.