Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pelosi for President!

"Gingrich-like approval ratings..."
Proposed: In 2020, the Democratic party will seriously consider nominating Nancy Pelosi for President of the United States. (Set aside the fact that in 2020 Mrs. Pelosi will be eighty years old and humor me, okay?)

Most voters would scoff at that notion. Sure Pelosi has her fans (that shirt to the right is real, and it's for sale) - but to the vast majority of the mainstream American electorate Pelosi is nothing so much as the personification of acerbic, far left political extremism.

So bad were Pelosi's personal approval ratings as she entered what would be the last year of her Speakership, in fact, that CNN's headline writers employed a handy bit of shorthand to describe them - an appellation that even casual political observers would be sure to recognize as describing the worst of the worst, the absolute slime-coated barrel bottom: "Pelosi facing Gingrich-like approval ratings."

Eugene Robinson has a good column in today's Washington Post that starkly illustrates just how deep and durable is the wider public's negative perception of Gingrich, with whom Republican primary voters are once again inexplicably flirting:
Newt Gingrich won a stunning victory in Saturday’s Republican primary, wiping the floor with Mitt Romney and reigniting a nomination battle that seemed to have burned itself out. Amid all the excitement, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that America has known Gingrich for three decades — and really doesn’t like him. 
The most recent evidence is found in a Jan. 12-14 Fox News poll of registered voters nationwide — not just Republicans but Democrats and independents as well — showing that 56 percent of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich, while only 27 percent viewed him favorably. In other words, his detractors outnumbered his admirers 2 to 1. 
By contrast, 51 percent of those surveyed in the Fox poll had a favorable opinion of President Obama, while 46 percent had an unfavorable view. By a roughly similar margin, voters also had a positive opinion of Romney. Views about Ron Paul and Rick Santorum were slightly negative, the survey showed, but only by a few percentage points. No public figure named in the poll was remotely as unpopular as Gingrich. 
And it’s not as if people don’t know the man. He has near-universal name recognition, pegged at 92 percent in the Fox poll and even higher in other surveys. Americans seem to be saying, “Yes, we’ve met Mr. Gingrich, and no, we don’t think we like him very much.” 
Nearly identical results — 58 percent disapproval, 28 percent approval — were found in a CNN poll earlier this month. And this antipathy toward Gingrich is nothing new. A list of surveys over the past two years, compiled by the TalkingPointsMemoWeb site, shows that the mercurial Gingrich is consistent in at least one thing: his unpopularity.
Yes, I understand: Newt is impressive in debates. And yes, it is sort of fun to watch him rip into self-important moderator journocelebrities. But arrogant condescension and epic self-regard are not going to win Newt any upward progress in those abysmal personal approval ratings.
And while South Carolina Republican primary voters may have reacted to ABC News's election eve forensic autopsy of Newt's second divorce by rallying to his defense against what they perceived as a calculated attack by "the liberal media," out in the wider world the roughly 60 percent of the electorate that already dislikes Gingrich saw yet more evidence that the former Speaker is a hypocrite of the highest order and a man of the lowest character. More confirmation, in other words, of their already solidly-held views.

Set aside your own opinion of Gingrich, and consider this incontrovertible truth (from Robinson, above): "No public figure named in the [Fox!] poll was remotely as unpopular as Gingrich." You may think it unwarranted or unfair, driven by 'media bias' or fear of Newt's superior intellect or whatever. There sits Newt's deep unpopularity - consistent and durable.

Only one major public figure approaches Gingrich's negative numbers: the aforementioned Nancy Pelosi, Newt's ideological mirror image, the woman who represents to the right and the middle precisely what Newt represents to the left and the middle - nothing good.

That is why the Democrats will never nominate Nancy Pelosi for President. Because that would be insane and - more importantly - utterly self-defeating.

Two peas in a deeply unpopular pod


  1. Isn't the big difference that Newt changed the House from Dem to GOP - while Nancy let the House slip from Dem back to GOP?

    Newt built the party - while Nancy helped to destroy her party?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anonymous. I could push back on you re. Newt's Congressional record - he was, after all, deposed by his own caucus after presiding over a disastrous session that resulted in significant GOP losses. And I'm sure Pelosi fans would quibble about your characterization of her tenure. But really, all of that is beside the point. Regardless of what you or a substantial part of the Republican base might think of Newt, a very healthy majority of the electorate holds a strongly negative opinion of him. Worse, that opinion is based on long acquaintance, and it is firm and consistent. It is going to be difficult enough to beat President Obama without handicapping ourselves with a nominee who has to dig himself out of a deep (and likely inescapable) image hole.
    Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


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