GOP Tactic of Maligning Pelosi Failing

Republicans have been up on the air in a number of congressional districts around the country trying to paint Democratic canididates as excessively liberal and too close of allies of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi -- a San Francisco liberal. Leaving aside the fact that being labeled a "Democrat" in this political environment would probably help, more than hurt most candidates, new polling from Quinnipiac University finds that Pelosi is largely unknown by the electorate.

The Quinnipiac survey shows that a 53 percent majority of Americans aren't familiar enough with Pelosi to form an opinion about her, the same amount as are unfamiliar with Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist. Close to two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) don't know much about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid while no numbers were available for either House Speaker Denny Hastert or House Republican Leader John Boehner.

None of the three congressional leaders polled has a particularly high ratings, which jibes with Americans general unhappiness with Congress as a whole. On a favorability scale from 1 to 100, Pelosi scored an average of 34.7, Reid averages 37.9, and Frist averages 45.5.

These numbers indicate that although House Republicans believe they can hold on to power by scaring voters with the prospect of a Pelosi Speakership, this ikely will not be a successful tactic. Yes, such a move has worked more or less in the past; President Clinton was able to run against Newt Gingrich quite deftly during the 1998 midterms as Democrats made history by netting a five-seat increase in the House. But Gingrich in 1998 was significantly more well-known and disliked that Pelosi is today. A Harris poll from that summer found that 92 percent of Americans knew enough about Gingrich to form an opinion about him, with 28 percent of Americans viewing him favorably and a whopping 64 percent of Americans viewing him unfavorably. When asked a similar question about Pelosi this spring by The Hotline (.pdf), Pelosi's favorables are 33 percent while her unfavorables are 8 percent. Simply put, Nancy Pelosi is no Newt Gingrich and the Republican strategy of tying Democratic congressional candidates in key races to her will not succeed.

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Pelosi Sponsors the Safe Climate Act

Today, Nancy Pelosi got behind the Safe Climate Act, which brings the bill up to 33 co-sponsors.  Thanks to Henry Waxman and his brilliant staff, the House is quickly moving past the Senate in the debate on global warming.  The Senate is hamstrung by a group of cantankerous old Senators, like Pete Dominici and Jim Inhofe, who don't want any action on global warming.  This pulls the debate way to the right, since Senators just LOVE compromise.  Mostly the Senate is focused on energy, since handing out subsidies is easier than figuring out ways of getting people to go carbon neutral.

In the House, the Safe Climate Act actually deals with the problem, using market solutions.  There's even a MySpace page for the Safe Climate Act. Hopefully the extreme heat wave we're seeing over much of the country, combined with the wildfires, power outages, and associated environmental problems (like various species moving into new territories and wreaking havoc) will have the effect of waking politicians up.

Regardless, the minority leader signing on to this legislation is a huge deal.  She takes global warming very seriously.  Kudos.

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Civilian Casualties

This is great.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this past Wednesday pulled her co-sponsorship of a bipartisan resolution on the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, because Republican House leaders refused to include language in the statement calling on all sides to minimize civilian casualties.

There are strong strategic reason to minimize civilian casualties.  This is the correct moral and strategic choice.

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Great New DCCC Ad

I was floored by the new DCCC commercial. Maybe it's because my expectations for Rahm and company are so low. But its a very emotionally powerful ad. It does two things: it succinctly explains the republicans troubles and introduces the new prospective leadership -- Emanuel, Hoyer, Pelosi -- to the country. I hope they run this ad everywhere.

you can see it at www.dccc.org

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Talk about a Stupid Incentive System

From political wire we see Bob Novak with one of his standard political gossip pieces, which are usually worth reading.

"Talk is increasing among House Democrats that if they fail to regain control after 12 years of a Republican majority, Rep. Nancy Pelosi should be replaced as the party's leader in the House... there is speculation about Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a second-termer who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as Pelosi's logical replacement."

Now I've heard the same thing, which of course doesn't make it true.  But if you're talking about an incentive system, this is awful.  As Chair of the DCCC, Rahm Emanuel is in charge of recapturing the House.  And if he fails what will happen is... he will get more power?

Putting aside the ideology, that's just rewarding failure.

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