Conservative writer argues that newly selected Speaker Pelosi should 'terrify Trump cronies'
Nancy Pelosi made history once again Thursday as the first woman to become speaker of the House reclaimed the title.
In a conciliatory and positive ceremony, Pelosi was sworn in surrounded by the children in the chamber. She didn't rail against her critics in the opposition, many of whom campaigned by actively demonizing her. She acknowledged the mandate given to her by the majority of Americans who voted for the Democratic Party to address pressing issues — climate change, the fate of DACA recipients, gun violence, health care and the country's infrastructure. She even quoted President Ronald Reagan in a welcoming note toward immigrants. It was a positive and forward-looking moment.
But don't be misled by the cheery demeanor — Republicans should fear the newly elevated California Democrat.
As conservative writer Jennifer Rubin argued in the Washington Post, Pelosi is an intimidating political actor and she should "terrify Trump cronies."
"Pelosi remains the only female speaker, is the first speaker since Sam Rayburn to reclaim the gavel after losing it and, therefore, claims the title of the most formidable Democrat currently on the stage and ranks among the top tier of speakers from either party," Rubin wrote. "She has reached higher than any other female politician. Moreover, she will now preside over a House with the power of the purse, of oversight and of impeachment."
It is her day insofar as she will have the ears and eyes of the press, if not the entire country, riveted on her as she tells the country, in effect, “Help has arrived!” She need only control her own members (those freshmen are about to learn how much power the speaker really has) to shift the onus of the shutdown to the Senate and White House. The same is true of efforts to shore up the Affordable Care Act and to pass ethics reform.
As Pelosi plunks down bill after bill in front of McConnell and Trump, she’ll be able to say, “We’re doing our job — why aren’t they?” McConnell and Trump better come up with something better than the president’s gusher of lies (sorry, getting taxpayers to pay for a wall he said Mexico would fund is not “keeping a campaign promise”), exaggerations (there aren’t 30 to 35 million illegal immigrants in the United States, as he claims) and insults. For the first time, he’s going to face a consummate politician capable of running circles around him. 2019 should be a fascinating year in politics.
Trump is still new to politics, and there's much about it that he doesn't understand. He may think he can battle Pelosi the way he took on Hillary Clinton in the campaign — but the truth is that he's never faced a challenge like a Democratically controlled House.
The president has two moves in politics: attack his opponents and play to his base. These tactics have gotten him further than anyone thought they could, but they've also made him lazy and careless. With control of half of the House, Democrats will finally be able to use the power of government to expose Trump's corruption and hold him and his allies to account.