Grab the Water, the Wicked Witch of the West is Back
Grab the Water, the Wicked Witch of the West is Back
What happens when a Wicked Witch known for sharp words and victory at any costs is vying for control of Oz? What sort of deals will the Wicked Witch of the West want once she resumes her mantle of leadership? As the respective head of her party, and presumptive Speaker of the House, it’s going to be a production that we all need to watch.
With a concession to term limits for the top three positions in the Democratic Leadership House positions, Nancy is BACK! Her skills in the political arena are unmatched. I don’t like her, or her politics, but I admire her ability to be a formidable opponent. Nancy Pelosi has a long memory, and she uses it to her advantage. She has historically browbeaten her own caucus into following her lead, or paying the price.
When crossed, she works to move her opponents aside. John Dingell has been on the receiving end. When he sought to defeat her bid to become Democratic whip in 2000, she launched an eight-year effort to displace him as the top Democrat on the Commerce Committee. After turning back Martin Frost’s challenge to her bid to become Democratic floor leader in 2002, she opposed his effort to become chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2004.
~Voices Washington Post May, 2010
One of her detractors Rep. Seth Moulton told Boston Public Radio that Pelosi has “a stranglehold on the caucus right now that people recognize that if they come out against her now, that she’ll turn all her allies against whoever steps up in a very vindictive way and it’ll be very hard to win an election.” This fresh face may not be around long. According to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd he squandered his capital and “…his future in the House is pretty limited.” We’ll see how it works out for him, and if Nancy leverages her vast network against him.
Like her soul-sister the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz, Nancy Pelosi has an innate ability to harness her influence to corral the caucus. A flick of her wrist has diminished the opposition to her resuming the speakership. She turned it into support. She’s a deal maker, and gave the youngsters the term limits they wanted. But is it their idea, or hers? The House Democrats publicly debated leadership term limits in 2015. Maybe it’s not as much of a win as they think.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the idea of establishing term limits “has come up a number of times, but it’s up to the members of the caucus.” The California Democrat has not publicly weighed in on the debate.
~Politico January, 2015
By all appearances Nancy Pelosi just played her own party. In the October 2018 LA Times interview Nancy was touting her return to Speaker as “a transitional figure, I have things to do. Books to write; places to go…” Yet here she is, set to fill the Speakers seat for what may be longer than her time left in Congress. She said that she plans to stay in position until Trump leaves office, but that she was not imposing a limit on her tenure. “Do you think I would make myself a lame duck…”
I don’t know what to think Nancy. Neither should those democrats in your caucus who are giving you their votes.
Be it a stick or a carrot, she has the House dems towing her line. Will she welcome back into the fold those Democrats who opposed her regaining the vaunted gavel? What about those who publicly stated a desire to run against her for the position? That’s where she uses carrots. They are fine carrots indeed!
Pelosi successfully defused the letter’s [opposing her return as speaker] threat by winning support from Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, the one Democrat who had considered challenging Pelosi for the speakership. Pelosi cut a deal with Fudge, creating a new House subcommittee on elections and naming Fudge as the chair…. She got New York Rep. Brian Higgins to go from signing the letter to endorsing her speaker bid by promising to work with Higgins on two of his priorities: lowering the age for Medicare eligibility and improving infrastructure…”
~NPR November 28, 2018
WHAT?! In any other setting this smacks of bribery. But in a caucus that prides itself on secret ballots and back room deals it is business as usual. Remember the DNC “Super Delegates”? Bernie does. For a party that prides itself on fighting for the underdog, they take every opportunity to duck out of the battle.
Not everyone in the caucus is supportive of the idea of term limits. By agreeing to them, Pelosi has undercut the #2 leadership position. If the deal is approved by the Democratic caucus, members will be allowed to serve in senior leadership positions for three terms, with an option of a fourth term if they have the support of two-thirds of their fellow Democratic lawmakers. It will retroactively apply to the two leadership terms she and her counterpart, Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland served from 2007 to 2011. That would allow him to serve as majority leader for a maximum of four more years. Minority Leader Steny Hoyer gave an interview this week where he said,
“I am against term limits because I have a term limit. It’s a two-year term limit. And every year, the citizens that I represent and the members in this House have to re-up my contract…She’s not negotiating for me.”
~Minority Leader Steny Hoyer
Hoyer, the current minority whip, is running to become majority leader in the new House. He may want to simply offer support to Nancy’s bid, and secure his own position for #2. He’s been around long enough to know what happens when someone crosses the Wicked Witch.
For the term limit to become an official rule, the Democratic caucus will have to give their approval. In a statement, Pelosi said she expects it to come up for a vote February 15th, but that she is “comfortable with the proposal” and intends to abide by it whether it passes or not. FEBRUARY 15th?! But isn’t the vote for Speaker held in January? Well, yes it is. What happens if the Wicked Witch is elected Speaker by her caucus, but then the term limit vote doesn’t pass? Just because she “plans” to abide by it, doesn’t actually make it a sure thing. Plans change all the time. What if there is no clear successor for the Speaker position? What if Trump wins in 2020 and the Witch feels like she’s the best one to lead the opposition to his agenda? I don’t know those answers, but we will soon see. I do know that a power hungry Wicked Witch, looking to secure her place in national history will never volunteer to relinquish her rule. Sometimes it takes a youngster and a bucket of water.