As the campaign for the midterms draws to a close, Nancy Pelosi, the woman who would be Speaker should the Democrats should win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, is nowhere to be seen. Her Democrats are running a truly stealth campaign, criticizing the president and the GOP for failed policies and corruption while remaining mum on what they would do should they gain the majority at the same time as they hide the woman who would lead their caucus.
Obviously, Democrats fear that should Americans see this liberal Congresswoman as the leader of their party, they would be less likely to vote Democratic in Tuesday’s elections. Should they win by hiding their leader, the Democrats would put her in a position where she shouldn’t very well hide. As Speaker of the House, Pelosi would become the nation’s most visible Democrat. And I don’t think her angry partisan manner would play well outside the confines Bush-hating left.
Not only would her rise hurt the Democratic Party in general, but it could also hurt the Democrat’s 2008 presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton. First, she hurts the Democrats because for the past four years, since she became House Democratic leader, she has defined herself not by the policies she advocates, but by the tone of her opposition to the president. Once she is in the majority, people will expect her not merely to oppose, but to propose. Outside of her party’s thin 6-item agenda, Pelosi’s Democrats don’t have many ideas to hold their caucus together after their first few hours back in the majority.
Second, Pelosi’s rise hurts Hillary because of the similarities between the two women. Both come across as shrill partisans, neither with much appeal to non-Democrats. In the very “blue” state of New York in 2000, Hillary ran 350,000 votes behind Al Gore. As speaker, Pelosi could sour people, already cold to Hillary, on the notion of putting another partisan Democratic woman into a position of leadership. As Mickey Kaus put it:
Isn’t it possible that–if Pelosi assumes the Speakership and flops as badly as some Dems fear–she’ll perform an opposite function, namely souring the voters on the idea of a female executive? Two-years worth of saccharine robotic liberal pollster phrases about “America’s children” can do that.
Given that Democrats have hidden the woman who would lead their party — and the U.S. House — shows once again that they’re running less on their ideas and their leaders than against the GOP. But, should they win a majority next Tuesday, just being against won’t suffice. They won’t be able to hide their absence of ideas — nor the shrillness of their leaders.
Before voting next week, Americans should wonder why the Democrats don’t want us to see the woman who would gain so much power should they win next week. Pelosi’s rise might certainly prevent that of Hillary, but it wouldn’t be very good for the nation to have as House Speaker a woman who has few ideas of her own and whose own party has seen fit to keep her under wraps during this all-important campaign.
UPDATE: In today’s OpinionJournal Political Diary (available by subscription), John Fund notes that Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s observations on Mrs. Pelosi. According to Fund, the former Speaker:
says that while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is still largely unknown to the American public, recognition of her very liberal record is slowly seeping into the nation’s consciousness. Should Democrats take control of the House next Tuesday, he says you can bet she will become a leading symbol of the Democratic Party.
And while some in the comments note the relative invisibility of the current House Speaker, Dennis Hastert, that’s because he’s of the president’s party. Should the Democrats win, Mrs. Pelosi would rise in prominence as did Gingrich in 1994 when the GOP won a majority because she comes from the opposing party.
And the prospect of her leadership, according to Gingrich, has helped the GOP:
Mr. Gingrich says he is detecting a late surge of support for GOP candidates in some districts based on the recognition of just what Ms. Pelosi’s Democrats represent. He believes that’s one reason why the San Francisco Congresswoman has dropped out of public sight ever since a glowing profile on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on October 22. “It seems clear that some Americans have glimpsed a future with her third in line for the presidency, and they don’t like what they see,” says Mr. Gingrich. “She has become largely invisible as a result.”
I would recommend your read the whole thing, but since it’s available to subscribers only, I’ll just encourage you to subscribe to Political Diary — only $3.95 a month.
UP-UPDATE: The Corner reports that “Nancy Pelosi is coming out of hiding [to campaign] for Bob Casey” in Pennsylvania. But, as ThinkProgress, a left-wing blog working hard to find Nancy, reports, she’s appearing (depending on the event) in tandem with other Democrats including former Vice President Gore, PA Governor Rendell and Illinois Senator Barack Obama.
I did follow-up on the links provided by those who claimed the Nancy wasn’t hiding and could find no evidence of her appearing at any campaign events outside her hometown of San Francisco until her Pennsylvania trip tomorrow. And even in those, she’s not the headliner.