CNN’s Jake Tapper hosted a town hall meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday evening, immediately following President Donald Trump’s announcement of Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.
It was a painful hour that showed just how poorly the opposition is led on Capitol Hill — and raises urgent questions about why Pelosi still remains atop her party after so many failures.
Pelosi is, first of all, unable to articulate a convincing political message. Her reaction to Gorsuch was a parade of horribles that admitted of no redeeming qualities beyond “hail fellow well met.” She called him “hostile to women’s reproductive rights … hostility toward children in school, children with autism … a very hostile appointment … well outside the mainstream of American legal thought” — a description wholly at odds with the humble man viewers had just seen on CNN minutes before.
Asked by a Yemeni refugee woman what Democrats could do for her family, Pelosi said that the blame belonged with President Trump, who had been “reckless” and “incompetent” in his recent executive order. Mere minutes after advocating for abortion, she said Trump’s policy was “un-Christian,” adding “the president has made us less safe.” She then meandered into renewed criticism of Gorusch before praising Democrats for protesting at the nation’s airports and in the streets.
That was it, other than expressing a wish to work on the woman’s individual case. No proposed legislation, no policies, no solutions at all.
The next question came from a Lebanese Muslim man who was concerned about radical Islamic terrorists, and asked Pelosi “how can you guarantee the safety for all Americans … if we let these refugees to come?” She mumbled something about “comprehensive immigration reform” and claimed that the U.S. already had “the most stringent vetting” before attacking President Trump and accusing him of religious discrimination. She added something about a “right to come to America.”
Ideologically, Pelosi is a far-left talking points machine. Tactically, she knows nothing else other than how to attack. Her worldview admits of no compromise and there seems to be no space in her imagination for new ideas. She has refashioned her dwindling caucus in her image, as the moderate, red-state Democrats have been steadily decimated, leaving nothing but the bicoastal liberals representing the inner city poor and the elite suburban gentry. She feels no pressure to change or to improve.
Confronted by a man who told of his personal experiences of the horrors of violence along the Mexican border, Pelosi said that while that might have been his experience, she and her colleagues had visited parts of the border that were orderly. She seemed unable to acknowledge his perspective and see past her political prism.
The question that followed came from Laura Wilkerson, whose son was killed by an illegal alien. She acknowledged the woman’s grief, then added: “But I do want to say to you that in our sanctuary cities, people are not disobeying the law.” Nothing could penetrate the hard shell of her dogma.
Later, Pelosi brought up the question of working with the president and finding common ground, but insisted that Democrats would “draw the line” at repealing Obamacare. Since repeal is a virtual certainty, her point was basically meaningless — even from an opposition perspective. Given that Democrats are totally powerless to resist Obamacare’s repeal, how will they find a way to move forward — preserving parts of the policy that they cherish, for example? Pelosi had no answers forthcoming.
She argued, instead, that Obamacare had “succeeded in every way,” and that it had the good intention of controlling health care costs, even though they were still rising. She offered, as the saying goes, a better yesterday, not a better tomorrow.
Asked how the Democratic Party could re-connect to the working-class voters who backed Trump in the election, she merely asserted that the party had “failed to convey” its message.
Beneath it all was the conviction that the message is the right one, as well as the messengers. Pelosi and her party, bathed in the glow of media approval, seem to think they are still winning, fervently denying the political reality.
Democrats — and people who believe in political opposition — should be very worried.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated to include Pelosi’s comment about Obamacare having “succeeded in every way.”