Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Nothing gets me more excited to support the Democrats in 2020 than reading about how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is using her “Italian grandmother sensibilities” to rein in the more left-wing freshman representatives who, in their first two months in office, have gone too far by pushing for progressive climate change solutions and questioning the influence of foreign governments on politicians.

It’s hard to choose the most off-putting aspect of Politico’s piece today breaking down what the site dubs Pelosi’s “rules for radicals.” Could it be the fact that Pelosi (and her veteran House colleagues) feel the need to “wrangle” women like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib at all? From Politico:

“You don’t want to be condescending, but you also have to be courageous enough to say, ‘This is how we’re going to do this,’ in the right way,” Pelosi told POLITICO recently when asked how she addresses the freshmen.

And so far, the Pelosi approach — a mix of her Italian grandmother sensibilities combined with an appeal to her activism roots and a “school mistress sternness,” as one member put it — seems to be working.

Or perhaps is it that Pelosi is somehow framed as an ally to the freshman representatives, despite, I don’t know, championing a bill solely created to chastise Omar and put her in her place? As the site reports:

It led to emotional turmoil that was perhaps the closest some of the freshmen have come to publicly criticizing Pelosi. Ocasio Cortez, for instance, called out Democratic leadership but didn’t mention Pelosi by name.

Amid the media firestorm, Pelosi stood up for Omar, telling reporters, “I don’t believe it was intended as anti-Semitic,” giving Omar a hug the next day during a news conference on the Capitol steps. Pelosi also brokered a private meeting last week between Omar and Lowey, a close ally of the speaker, three days after their clash on Twitter.

A week later, Omar had only praise for Pelosi. “It’s been a joy, really to be here, at this historic moment with a leader that I admire,” she said in a brief interview.

[...]

Pelosi’s decision to defend her colleagues in the line of fire — under the fierce scrutiny of the national media — has helped cement their support for her, multiple lawmakers said.

“A number of them have personally felt her have their back at a time when not a lot of members were doing that,” Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus, said in an interview. “She has consistently been a strong advocate for folks and I think that goes really far with goodwill.”

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Then again, I find myself particularly irked by the multiple examples of how the freshman Democrats themselves aren’t all that willing to be critical of Pelosi, including Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who were all quoted saying positive things about Pelosi in the piece. It isn’t their comments that feel out of place, but the glossed-over fact that their praise might have more to do with her powerful position than her being an Italian grandmother feels significant.

From Politico, emphasis mine:

As speaker, Pelosi can essentially make or break a fledgling lawmaker’s career in an instant. She’s doled out prizes, like offering some freshmen prominent committee posts and even subcommittee chairmanships. And she’s also resisted pressure from the left to embrace some of the party’s most aggressive policies, which could be a death sentence for Democrats sitting in GOP districts.

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Who’s to say why people publicly say nice things about Pelosi, really!