“No Labels” Leaves Nancy Pelosi Opponents In The Lurch

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D).

Following the Democratic retaking of the U.S. House this month, speculation over a possible battle for the new Speaker of the House quickly became a hot topic for both victorious Democrats and defeated Republicans. Nancy Pelosi’s return to the post of Speaker was by no means a foregone conclusion, but in the intervening weeks Pelosi has expertly navigated the challenges and mollified much of her Democratic opposition.

With an exception worth a mention, as ThinkProgress reports:

16 Democratic colleagues, later reduced to 15 when Rep. Brian Higgins (NY) changed course, signed a letter opposing the California congresswoman earlier this week.

Now another group of moderate Democrats is threatening to upend Pelosi’s House Speaker bid. And they’re working with Republicans to do it.

The House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan collection of lawmakers that reportedly has solved very few problems since its creation, is refusing to back Pelosi unless she adopts their proposed rule changes.

The so-called “House Problem Solvers Caucus” is a product of a pseudo-centrist group known as No Labels. No Labels has aggressively played in Colorado politics in recent years, most prominently with their controversial backing of Cory Gardner’s Senate campaign in 2014. In that race, No Labels “evolved” from a nonpartisan atta-boy service to a heavily funded subsidiary of Gardner’s campaign, with No Labels field crews knocking on doors for Gardner in the final weeks. The other Colorado politician who has benefited from No Labels’ support is–you guessed it, Rep. Mike Coffman!

Cory Gardner, “Problem Solver.”

With that, local readers should realize very quickly that this not about “solving problems.”

Pelosi’s consolidation of Democratic support since the election, combined with an increasingly obvious interest in stirring up infighting among Democrats on the part of crypto-GOP groups like No Labels, makes continuing opposition to Pelosi from honorably-intentioned Democrats problematic. In Colorado, the most vocal opposition to Pelosi has been from Rep.-elect Jason Crow. Did Crow’s stated opposition to Pelosi during the campaign win him votes? As much as Coffman tried to vilify Pelosi for his own benefit over the years, we doubt it. In the end, the CD-6 election was not about Nancy Pelosi. It was about Mike Coffman, who vilified Pelosi, and Donald Trump. And Coffman lost.

At this point, the greater mistake may be to not recognize how the playing field has shifted.

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    When it comes time to vote for a Speaker, only votes for NAMED people are allowed. "No" and "Not Pelosi" are not possible votes. "Present" is possible, but it does not support someone and actually, reduces the number voting (making it possible to win without an absolute majority). Thus far, no other candidate has been identified — even Tim Ryan, who ran against Pelosi for Minority Leader in 2016, appears unwilling to try again.

    When the new House is sworn in, there will be three choices — Pelosi, the Republican nominee (probably McCarthy) or any action to deny Pelosi the position, which will maintain (then not a Representative) Paul Ryan in the Speaker role. It is hard for me to believe enough people in the caucus are willing to position themselves to alienate their colleagues and likely insure a primary challenge in 2020 on this particular issue — but I've been surprised before.

  2. Zappatero says:

    The greatest mistake of this election cycle would be concluding that Colorado voters, who just turned the state Solidly Blue, you’re welcome, want our newly hired Democrats to fade right, abandon their progressive pledges, reject their mandate, and give Donald Trump a bunch of pain-free policy wins. 

  3. Powerful Pear says:

    Just like Mike Coffman, Jason Crow will back down, crawfish, fold, walk back, misspoke, miss-remember, give in, on his campaign pledge to voters; that he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi. After all Jason has to say those things to get elected.

  4. Arvadonian1 says:

    Crow "most vocal" Colorado opponent to Pelosi?  Perlmutter has, inexplicably, been at the front of the Colorado contingent opposing Pelosi as well.  

  5. mamajama55 says:

    I want two mutually exclusive things. Below is me talking myself into an understanding that only one option is possible.

    1. I want Nancy Pelosi to continue being an effective leader. I want House Dems to start and stay strong, not be divided within the Democratic caucus at the very critical time when they are likely to be considering Mueller's report on the Russia investigation, and measures such as demanding Trump's tax returns, and impeaching Kavanaugh.  I doubt that Pelosi can lead us through all that, given her history of taking the strongest options "off the table".

    2. I am beyond fed up with Pelosi saying that __________ option is "off the table". She said that about the public option in the health care bill.(after first saying it was on the table, then off, now on again as Medicare for All.)

    She said that about war crimes investigations for Bush and Cheney. She keeps being oh so very forgiving and grown up about it all. Saying we're going to "move forward" actually keeps us stuck in the past. Ask Gatsby about that.

    Now she says impeachment of Trump is also "off the table", along with Kavanaugh's accountability.

    This is classic abuse – enabling behavior. " Oh, just give him one more chance. Be reasonable, be nice, don't raise your voice, don't call the cops. " And it's really not effective. Trump even trolled Dems on Pelosi, saying he'd raise Republican votes for her election. But we need accountability to save our democracy –  even if that means being difficult and nasty about it.

    How does Pelosi get away with deciding what is and what is not "on the table"? Give her a real competitive election, if only so she respects her caucus more. There is real anger and desire for accountability out there, in her caucus, among her constituents, in the country. Being nice hasn't worked yet. Trump doesn't respect rules nor norms. At all. We need someone to raise the roof, because the House is on fire!

  6. davebarnes says:

    Nancy is too old.

    Time for younger blood.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      "Nancy is too old…….."  If one goes by davebarnes' logic, then Winston Churchill was too old (Pelosi's age and higher) to serve a second time as P.M. Albert Schweitzer was too old to still be practicing medicine at age 90; and Grandma Moses was too old to still be painting at age 100.

      There are reasons why Ds need some fresh faces in leadership. But age isn't one of them.

      • Voyageur says:

        WhatCHB said.  This barnes-billingsgate of attacking seniors has gone too far.  Personally, I don't like presidential candidates in their 70s because you have to add 10 years to see if they can reasonably hope to live out their terms.  Bernie now 77, would be 79 if  elected president and 87 if re-elected to a second term.  The life expectancy for a white male is 76.  That's ridiculous.

        But speaker of the house is a two year term and 75 isn't just Nancy's age, it's her advantage in IQ over  any of the morons attacking her, i.e., 150 vs. 75.  Yes, she should shake up things with some younger chairs, etc.  But screw this ageist crap: You go, girl!

        • RepealAndReplace says:


          I was kind of ambivalent about Pelosi but the more I think about it, the more I want her to stay. She was a great fundraiser and candidate recruiter. She kept things focused and frankly, the Dems got about all the seats they could have expected to have won given the current district shapes. She took the majority and should get the prize.

          I also think her opponents are incompetent. You can't beat someone with no one. Some one needs to explain that to Seth Moulton and the rest of that crew. At this point, they look ridiculous.

          That said, the Dem caucus needs to find a way to finesse the situation by coming up with a process where those who promised to vote against Pelosi can do so without it actually hurting her chances of being elected speaker. I know, it's my cynical Machiavelli side surfacing.

          I suggested it once before: On the first day of the session, the first ballot should be an open vote. McCarthy will not get a majority. Pelosi may not either. The dissenters can cast a symbolic vote for Ed Perlmutter or Seth Moulton or Tim Ryan. After the first round, the symbolic third choice drops out, and the second round goes to Pelosi.

          The only problem is Paul Ryan remains speaker. Who would control when the second round of voting takes place? That is the only thing that would worry me.

          These candidates made these stupid promises to oppose her and now they are left with their first vote being a choice between a broken promise, or damaging the Democratic Party's credibility. 

  7. itlduso says:

    Jason Crow was calling for new, younger Dem leaders in the House, and he is right. Pelosi will be fine as House Speaker, but she needs to replace the other 70-Somethings with younger Dems that can better represent the future for the party.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      How is that going to work? When they vote on a candidate for Speaker, does the Dem caucus vote on the other positions at the same time? Some have announced for whip and caucus chair but has anyone announced for majority leader? 

      • itlduso says:

        He’ll vote for Pelosi since there is no credible Dem alternative. If Dems are smart they’ll put in new younger members and Jason can claim victory.  Regardless, it’s a bogus nonissue created by Fox News and the GOP who demonized Pelosi just as they demonized Hillary.  We’re just too stupid to let them get away with it.  There is so much more to focus on.  Move on.

    • Duke Cox says:

      Exactly right. The Dems have a chance to create a vibrant youth movement in the party. Will they?

      This next two years is an opportunity for the Dems to get their shit together and build a strong, young active party that can continue to bury the fascists who are intent on subverting our democracy.

      Trump supporters…

      You are a party to treason.

      Stop it.

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