Jonathan Capehart filled in for Joy Reid this weekend on AM Joy, and something tells me this interview with Nancy Pelosi would have gone very differently had Reid been asking the questions. Topics would have been the same, likely: they would have discussed the anti-Pelosi rhetoric and the people clamoring to remove her from the running for Speaker of the House (should the Dems take the House, of course.) The questioning itself, though, might have been laced with less sexism and condescension had it come from Joy Reid.
Capehart started off by talking about all the candidates who have already said they would NOT support her for Speaker should the Dems flip the House, and asked her, "Why not just give up the gavel?" I swear to god, this is always the case for women. "No one likes you. Why don't you just NOT run for the job you've already shown you're really good at? You were only the history-making first-ever woman and most effective Speaker of the House of Representatives, after all." Would a man EVER ask that question of another man? Pelosi fires back immediately, and with a composed smile (you know she's asked this all the time,) that perhaps that question is a bit premature, and maybe NBC should stop using her for red meat.
PELOSI: First of all, let me just say this, and I know NBC has been on a jag, as this is one of their priorities, to undermine my prospects as Speaker, but putting that aside. I haven't asked one person for a vote. I haven't asked a candidate or an incumbent for a vote. What's important, and I know better than anybody, for us to win the election because I see up close and personal what the Republicans and this president are doing. I do not think the opponents should select the leaders of our party. Republicans are spending millions, tens of millions of dollars against me because they're afraid of me. Because I out-raise them in the political arena, because I outsmart them at the negotiating table, and because I’m a woman who is going to be in a seat at the table.
Pelosi's focus is on winning the House, period. She wants candidates to do what they need to to WIN, and she will help them however she can.
Let's not allow Republicans pick our leaders or decide the narrative for the other party. They are the ones spending so much on attack ads against her. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's win. the. House. first. THEN the Democrats can choose who they'd like to be their Leader.
Capehart focused again on her gender, though, and in a way likely Reid wouldn't have. He expressed surprise - SURPRISE! - that a Gallup poll showed she had a 55% approval rating among Democrats. Suuuure. Why would a woman who basically got Obamacare through the House, is the most effective and powerful fundraiser in DC, and most skilled negotiator in a sea of vipers actually popular with Dems? From the excellent Rolling Stone profile on Pelosi:
Pelosi is one of the most powerful women in global politics. She gets credit for securing passage of much of the legislation in the Obama legacy, including the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform and especially the Affordable Care Act. “Nancy Pelosi has been one of the most transformational figures in the modern Democratic Party,” says Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez. Pelosi also spearheaded the takeover of the House a dozen years ago in 2006...
But back to the conversation between Capehart and Pelosi...he really needn't be so surprised. Her priorities have always been Democratic priorities. That's why she's so demonized by the Republican Party and used as a scare tactic. Because she knows how to get things done, unlike the even more unpopular current Speaker, Paul Ryan.
But, you know what? I’m the least important part of all of this. What's important is what matters in people's lives. I tell the candidates, "Don't even mention Donald Trump, it's not about him. He's self-evident, it's about your relationship to the constituents, their financial security which is related to health care, cost of prescription drugs, Medicare, Medicaid, pre-existing condition, as a benefit. it's about how they are not getting big raises in their pay even though we're giving big money to corporate America. So it's about financial stability and their families, and they, the public sees better than most people in politics the connection.
Her effectiveness is why Republicans both despise and fear her. And as she says, the more they attack her, the better her fundraising is. The more money she raises, the better off the Democrats are to enact their agenda of shoring up Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Education, and, and, and...
Maybe if NBC and other allegedly left-leaning groups and media weren't so hell-bent on demonizing her, they'd realize it.