The Atlantic

The Nancy Pelosi Problem

The first female speaker of the House has become the most effec­tive congressional leader of modern times—and, not coinciden­tally, the most vilified.
Source: Ryan Melgar

Last May, The Washington Post’s James Hohmann noted “an uncovered dynamic” that helped explain the GOP’s failure to repeal Obamacare. Three current Democratic House members had opposed the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. Twelve Democratic House members represent districts that Donald Trump won. Yet none voted for repeal. The “uncovered dynamic,” Hohmann suggested, was Nancy Pelosi’s skill at keeping her party in line.

She’s been keeping it in line for more than a decade. In 2005, George W. Bush launched his second presidential term with an aggressive push to partially privatize Social Security. For nine months, Republicans demanded that Democrats admit the retirement system was in crisis and offer their own program to change it. Pelosi refused. Democratic members of Congress hosted more than 1,000 town-hall meetings to rally opposition to privatization. That fall, Republicans backed down, and Bush’s second term never recovered.

In 2009, Pelosi persuaded deficit-wary Blue Dog Democrats to back Barack Obama’s stimulus package, and it passed without a single Republican

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