Friday, August 10, 2018


The lead story on the Washington Post website until about an hour ago was titled "Pelosi Is the Star of GOP Attack Ads, Worrying Democrats Upbeat About Midterms." In the story, reporter Mike DeBonis spends 1,440 words trying to prove that Pelosi is a fatal millstone around the Democrats' neck while quoting exactly one (1) actual Democrat, on or off the record, who believes that to be the case.
“People pretend that it isn’t a problem, but it’s a problem that exists,” said Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), who said he heard from frustrated colleagues this week concerned that the anti-Pelosi messaging cost Democrats in Ohio.
Did Higgins name any of these frustrated colleagues? If so, DeBonis doesn't identify them. Nor does he appear to have spoken to any of them -- no other Democrat is quoted in the piece, either by name or anonymously.

Higgins is from Buffalo, and while he has liberal policy positions, he's called himself "the most independent and conservative Democrat" in New York State's congressional delegation. He said in June that he won't back Pelosi for Speaker, calling her "aloof, frenetic and misguided," and he's reportedly been urged to challenge her for the speakership. He's obviously positioning himself as a Democrat you can safely vote for if you're a Republican. If that works for him, fine. I don't think it demonstrates that, as one of DeBonis's (Republican) interviewees suggests, Democrats would win more seats in November if Pelosi weren't a factor:
Ken Spain, a Republican political consultant, said Democrats are “going to leave seats on the table” as long as Pelosi remains a viable face of their party.

“In a race that was decided by 1,000 or 1,500 votes, that was probably a difference-maker,” he said. Even if Democrats win the House in November, he added, “it could be the difference between having a razor-thin majority and a governing majority. It’s a lot easier to move legislation when you have a cushion of votes to work with.”
Excellent concern trolling, Mr. Spain.

Am I stating categorically that Republican attacks on Pelosi are ineffective? Am I saying that Republicans are crazy to make Pelosi an issue in virtually every contested race?

No. Attacking Pelosi probably works. But if she weren't a factor, Republicans would find someone else to demonize.

The prime candidate right now is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, even though she still hasn't won a general election, and even though many Democrats who've run successful races this year aren't in ideological sync with her. She's rapidly becoming Public Enemy #1 on the right.

Much has been made of Laura Ingraham's recent anti-immigrant diatribe, but what's been overlooked is that Ingraham spent the first two minutes of the monologue attacking Ocasio-Cortez. The monologue as a whole is meant to contrast patriotic Democrats of the past (yes, people Ingraham denounced as traitors in that now-romanticized past) with the socialist, "open borders" Democrats of the (scary) future:

And it's not just Ingraham. Ocasio-Cortez has been the subject of nine stories in the past three days at Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire, many of them having to do with Shapiro's offer of a $10,000 contribution to Ocasio-Cortez's campaign if she'll agree to debate the trollish Wire editor in chief. Her response to the Wire reporter who's written most of the recent stories about her is spot on:

But now I see at the Daily Caller that Candace Owens, Katie Pavlich, and other female wingnuts are offering to debate Ocasio-Cortez in Shapiro's place.

The right is clearly gunning for her. Do you think she won't instantly become the GOP's #1 Antichrist if Pelosi announces this afternoon that she won't seek the Speakership in the event of a Democratic House takeover?

Wait, I'll answer that: Ocasio-Cortez might not become the main target of the Republicans -- but only because there's always Maxine Waters. Or Hillary Clinton. Or ...

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