• Michael Thompson

Nancy Pelosi Was The General For Democrats In 2020 But Not 2021

Do you remember George C. Scott’s wonderful theatrical take on World War II general, George Patton? General Patton was considered one of the best as well as one of the most feared Allied commanders by the Germans. He led the 3rd Army by the force of his domineering personality against the equally stout but increasingly despondent Germans. Similarly, Speaker Pelosi has been engaged in a war of attrition against President Trump since 2016 who, himself, has also become increasingly desperate for the past 4 years.

As World War II ended against the Germans, Patton supported a continuation of the war, only this time against the Soviets. Patton was not alone either in this belief. Legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also felt the war should continue against the ‘Red Army,’ even drawing up 'Operation Unthinkable.' The belief was that the ‘Commies’ were going to need to be confronted eventually, so better to do it now while everyone was trained, mobilized, and already stationed in Continental Europe.

Sounds crazy now, since in retrospect, the war against the Russians never came, as instead cooler heads prevailed. Churchill was ousted as Prime Minister and Patton was sent stateside. “Thank You, but no thank you,” was the sentiment of the day. Democrats should strongly consider taking a similar approach after winning the Presidency and Senate – time for a fresh start! Perhaps, I will eat these words, but the last three weeks before the November 3, 2020 election looks like the Fall of Berlin. Joe Biden is going to be President and both chambers of Congress will be under Democratic control come January.

Fireworks Over Washington Courtesy: Architect of the Capitol

Truthfully, it was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s October 2020 Coronavirus Stimulus negotiations leading up to the election that showed she is not the leader the Democrats need moving forward in 2021 as there is too much vitriol to ever have bi-partisan solutions to issues while she is in power. A negotiated stimulus agreement was needed weeks before the election. Somewhere along the way, she decided she knew what is in the best interest of the people more than what those people whom the bill affected. No compromise was better than any compromise it seemed, for she believed that after the election, just about any bill would be a realistic possibility.


Unfortunately, January is too late for another Stimulus Bill as Americans desperately need help now. I too support Progressive ideas, and I am sure that everything she is asking for would go a long way towards helping the millions of people facing eviction, unemployment, and late bills. However, the reality is she lacks the leverage she believes she has. Of all the times Progressives have pushed her to fight harder, she chose the one-time Americans most desperately need a compromise to dig a trench. Until late-January, Democrats still will only control one-half of the two branches of Congress needed to enact legislation, not exactly a position of dominance.

Even fellow Democrats in her caucus have been critical of her refusal to accept a Republican compromise. Representative Ro Khanna of California’s 17th, a Progressive by any measure, thinks it is time to accept. The last bill was passed in March leaving 7-months to negotiate and pass the next. The good fight was fought, and a strategic victory is won. She says it is not enough. Representative Khanna and other Democrats, such as ex-presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, are at a loss to explain Speaker Pelosi’s stubbornness. Progressives ask where this motivation has been as they have spent 4-years wanting to battle this administration at every turn.

Speaker Pelosi contends that they nor I understand what is included in the proposals. I will concede that point as the negotiations are not made public. Still, what I do know is that Americans are hurting, and the more time that passes without an agreement is just counter-productive to the purpose of the stimulus. Examples: Are you fighting for $600/week extra unemployment when Republicans are only offering $400/week extra? Of course, $600/week would be better but not if the bill for $400/week could have been passed in September. Perhaps you are fighting for a $1500 stimulus check instead of a $1200 check failing to think that the extra $300 is now offset by late fees and utility reconnection orders. A January passage will be too late for most Americans.


On CNN, Speaker Pelosi chastised anchor Wolf Blitzer over stimulus negotiations. Wolf remarked, “[Americans] really need the money right now even members of your caucus, madam speaker, want to accept the deal.” Blitzer then challenged Pelosi a few more times to which she responded like a demagogue with a variety of condescending quotes, “...you’re always an apologist…”, “Well, I will not let the wrong be the enemy of the right.”, and when Wolf said he was sensitive to people’s needs because “he sees them on the street begging {Americans],” her reply – “Have you fed them? We feed them.” Can one get any more elitist and condescending?

It is my opinion, as a Progressive Democrat, I no longer believe that Speaker Pelosi is as interested in the struggles that poor Americans are facing when compared to the pound of flesh, she wants to extract from President Trump. She doesn’t just want a November 3rd victory, she wants a November 3rd total victory, the same as any general, and if Americans must suffer a little more till then, so be it. Her battle with President Trump has compromised her judgment. Even if she comes out tomorrow and says there is a compromise, it will be a bill that is nearly identical, but probably worse, than what she could have gotten before the election. Only, Trump will not have as significant a political win – clearly political instead of helpful. Now, it is true that she is not alone in the blame as Senate Republicans and the White House each have agendas as well, but it just feels more than optics to blame Nancy Pelosi when one discusses reasons a compromise has yet to be achieved.

President Trump and Speaker Pelosi
President Trump and Speaker Pelosi

In my opinion, this bill exacerbates the fact Speaker Pelosi is the wrong person to lead Democrats moving forward. Democrats are going to lead from a dominant position in January, and they do not need a leader who is still fighting a war against Donald Trump. Like Patton and Churchill, it is time she is thanked for her service and pushed to the side. There are many other Democratic

Congresspersons, perhaps Congressman Ro Khanna even, who could be given the shot at leadership. I do not know much about him other than he is Progressive, however, he seems reasonable in a crisis where compromise is evidently required. This next Speaker should be a different type of general who was not on the frontlines of the last war. In sticking with the earlier World War II theme, we need someone like General George C. Marshall and his Marshall Plan for Europe, except in this case, we need a Democrat who recognizes the situation and has a plan to lead the party moving forward.

Assuming that the November 2020 election is a success, the window of opportunity may be limited. It is conceivable that the party will only have two years to prove that Democratic ideas do work. Hopefully, someone will step forth.

Further Reading

‘Operation Unthinkable’ was a great name for the British invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, and you can read it here - https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/history-lessons-did-churchill-want-fight-stalin-1945-152596

Rep. Ro Khanna thinks it is a good time to deal. https://www.alternet.org/2020/10/ro-khanna-urges-democrats-to-pursue-relief-deal-with-white-house-people-are-suffering/

Speaker Pelosi video of her losing to Wolf Blitzer on who knows the American people better. https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/10/13/nancy-pelosi-intv-stimulus-bill-trump-offer-coronavirus-tsr-vpx.cnn

What did the Marshall Plan do for Europe? https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/marshall-plan1#:~:text=The%20Marshall%20Plan%2C%20also%20known,rebuilding%20efforts%20on%20the%20continent.

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