Democrats have been frustrated with Nancy Pelosi’s leadership for several years. Having led House Democrats back to power in 2007, becoming the first female Speaker of the House in the process, Pelosi has since led her party to crushing historic defeats. In control of the Speaker’s gavel, she was notorious for centralizing decisions and frustrating colleagues. So how has she still managed to remain in charge of the House Democratic caucus?
The answer is fundraising. Pelosi’s colleagues may grumble about her leadership, but there is no arguing with her skill at raising cash. The San Francisco-based Democrat has unique access to the Bay Area’s tech wealth, as well as deep connections within the financial sector, in which she and her family have profited. And though her signature issues, such as the “war on women,” have worn thin with voters, they work with hard-core donors.
In a craven column at the Huffington Post, Democratic Party insider and Chicago crony Robert Creamer has made the case for Pelosi to the rank-and-file. Creamer cites five reasons Pelosi should stay on to lead the House Democrat caucus, but the first four are mere puffery (e.g. she is “widely beloved and respected.). The real reason is #5: “Pelosi personally raised over $100 million for Democratic candidates this fall.” Not bad in a losing year.
The caucus will formally hold its vote today (Tuesday), and Pelosi is equally capable of making her case in political terms: “I’m the one that brung everyone to the party by winning the House in the first place,” she said recently. A few more Democrats than usual are willing to speak out against her, noting the obvious point that she has presided over the loss of 71 seats since the fat years of 2008-9.
But this is Washington, and money talks.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak