Dreaming of an Anti-Pelosi Coup

Created: May 18, 2009 11:00 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

John Feehery’s “top five ways to determine whether there will be an anti-Nancy Pelosi coup” story is a curious case of media narrative-setting. There’s really little indication that the Republican focus on what the speaker of the House knew about torture is endangering her career; I’ve only seen one poll that shows her approval rating dropping, and it was a modest drop. Nonetheless, Politico nabbed the Republican strategist to dish out the party’s talking points. Feehery also includes a minor but telling factual error:

Her base is angry because she made promises she couldn’t keep. In fact, she has faced primary opposition from Cindy Sheehan because she hasn’t been left-wing enough.

Sheehan ran against Pelosi in the general election, not the primary, and got a fairly impressive 16 percent of the vote, forcing the GOP into third place with 10 percent. Also, Sheehan’s challenge was not explicitly about whether Pelosi had been “left-wing,” but about how she had not initiated impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush.

The rest of the article is just sort of self-refuting.

The Pelosi name is toxic in many of the districts that make the majority. In some parts of Blue Dog country, she is simply not invited to help members raise money or do campaign events. The same thing happened to Newt Gingrich.

That cuts against what Glenn Thrush found for an early March story in … Politico.

“Pelosi’s a particularly tough demographic to demonize,” says a senior Republican strategist who has okayed several anti-Pelosi ads during the 2006 campaign.

“She’s a woman, and she’s of a certain age level, and that’s a demographic both parties are trying to court. She just doesn’t evoke that same kind of visceral reaction [as Limbaugh]. She’s not a big, bellowing heavyset guy who is prone to controversial statements.”

Asked to gauge the impact of dozens of anti-Pelosi ads and mailings created by the GOP in the past three election cycles, the consultant replied, “Bleh. Nothing.”

Politico reporters have found that Pelosi is not a controversial figure whose gavel is in danger. They open their pages to a Republican strategist who argues that the opposite is true. Gee, which take is going to be on cable news today? (Feehery’s column is actually promoted on Thrush’s blog.)