This was not, how you say, helpful. At all. From The New York Times:
Pelosi feels that the four made themselves irrelevant to the process by voting against “our bill,” as she put it, which she felt was the strongest one she could get. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”... She pinned the blame for the border bill on Mitch McConnell. In an era when millennials prize authenticity, she said, McConnell is “authentically terrible.” She has had a working relationship with him for years but now, she says, the Senate majority leader has “really crossed a threshold with me.”
And then there's this, which is an almost cosmic level of futility.
“With all due respect, the press likes to make a story that is more about Democrats divided than the fact that Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about the children,’’ she said, referring to what she called “trash” stories about a supposed rift between her and Chuck Schumer. She also accused the press of “constantly enabling” Trump by allowing him to suck up all the oxygen and says journalists are “accomplices to their own denigration.”
“You would think that within a couple of days, 48 hours or so, of seeing that little child with her father, there would have been some challenge of conscience,’’ she said of Republicans. “But understand this: They don’t care.”
That sounds bad. What say we use all the power at our disposal to break these heartless gombeens?
She said, “I didn’t exactly say that,” and noted: “You can’t impeach everybody. People wanted Reagan impeached but that didn’t happen. O.K., they impeached Clinton for something so ridiculous — getting impeached for doing a dumb thing as a guy. Then they wanted to impeach Obama.” And now comes Trump, who she says, “has given real cause for impeachment.” I ask her if the president ever pressured her on the issue. “He may have one time said something like, ‘I’m glad you’re not doing this impeachment because there’s nothing there,’” she said. “But that means nothing to me.”
It takes a rare kind of something to excoriate the media about pushing the Dems In Disarray narrative in the same story in which you rip the four most visible young members of your own caucus. This piece is a violation of two major rules governing modern American politics.
1) Don't pick unnecessary fights with your own people, especially in the public prints. The press is not your friend, nor is it supposed to be.
2) At a time of national political crisis, under no circumstances give an interview to Maureen Dowd.
Let's deal with the second one first. You do not give an interview to La Dowd because, when you do, in addition to getting your message out, you also get this.
“If he could be president, this glass of water could be president!” Madam Speaker exclaimed disgustedly, as we ate omelets in a restaurant by the bay after she mingled with adoring constituents in last Sunday’s glittery, feathery Pride parade. She regarded the little box of chocolates I brought her with delight and said, “Now we’re talking,” popping one in her mouth as I asked about something less sweet.
The trim speaker, wearing white pants and a purple cardigan to match her purple Manolo heels, stabbed her fork into one of my home fries.
Or, in a desperate sprawl for actual analysis not involving high-end footwear:
The article described the outrage of the Squad, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are known. Pelosi feels that the four made themselves irrelevant to the process by voting against “our bill,” as she put it, which she felt was the strongest one she could get. Even with all her remarkable skill, it is a herculean task to weave together her anarchic progressives and the moderates who helped flip the House by winning in districts where Trump won in 2016.
"Anarchic progressives"? Just to name one, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts was forged as a politician in that legendary crucible of ancient grudges and petty grievances, the Boston City Council. She's tough and determined, but she's about as "anarchic" as a Thanksgiving proclamation. The other three indeed are outspoken and media savvy, but they're operating well within the ideological boundaries of the Democratic Party. I almost would guarantee that, as hard as they're making her job, the Speaker wouldn't describe them that way. It takes a veteran observer like Dowd to set the table in that fashion.
I still think that, given the alternatives, Pelosi was the right call for Speaker in 2017. If it wasn't going to be her, it was going to be someone from the Tim Ryan-Seth Moulton Blue Dog Pound, and that would have been worse. But, beneath all this puffery, deadly serious questions continue to fester. El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago is edging right up against defiance of the Supreme Court, which is something even Nixon never tried. Prosecutors in two jurisdictions keep digging, and the preposterous stonewalling by everyone in the Executive Branch goes on and on. Yet, not only is Pelosi still adamantly against beginning even an inquiry into the possibility of impeachment, but also none of the threats of legal action from the various oversight commissions have produced a lawsuit yet. And it is entirely possible that this latest Jeffrey Epstein arrest may kick over a whole squadron of apple carts before it's done.
I know Pelosi is not the arrogant fool she's made out to be in that column. I know she's shrewd enough to calculate what by her lights is the best course of action. But, dammit, she's wrong here, and she's listening to the wrong people. The administration* is going to bait-and-switch that border bill that has caused all this ill-feeling in the first place, and everybody knows it. Moreover, its contempt for Congress, and for constitutional limits to its power, grows by the hour. The clock is ticking faster, and somebody thought the best defense against encroaching authoritarianism was to give an afternoon of hang-around time with the Speaker to Maureen Dowd, as if that matters a damn anymore.
We deserve what's coming. Swear to god, we do.
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