Has the controversy surrounding Nancy Pelosi’s statements on torture made the Speaker vulnerable to a coup? John Feehery of Politico thinks so.

Feehery compares Pelosi to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, two former leaders in congress whose declining popularity intersected with controversial statements and resulted in political ouster. Pelosi is already a toxic name for Blue Dog Democrats who don’t want to be associated with the liberal Speaker. Worse for Pelosi, the support from her own liberal base is not as strong as it once was, primarily because she’s failed to deliver on such pledges as bringing the Iraq War to an end.

In my mind, the Democrats would be better off without Pelosi in charge. She’s proven unwilling to lead the House in the more inclusive direction President Obama promised and she’s become adept at playing politics as usual, standing behind corrupt representatives like John Murtha and allowing members to bloat any and every bill with excessive earmarks and questionable spending measures. A new Speaker might give Obama the chance to lead more pragmatically and stop having to kowtow to Congress’ lesser instincts just to get bills passed.

The question is, would the White House support a Pelosi ouster? In a way, her presence gives the administration an easy excuse as to why our government has been more politics-as-usual and less new-way-forward since Obama took office. It’s easy for Obama to shrug and claim he can only do as much as Congress will let him, and be content to let the ire of the public fall on Pelosi and her crew. A less divisive, more constructive Speaker might force the White House to take more responsibility for the details of the bills coming out of Congress. Would a moderate like Steny Hoyer be a more forward-looking Speaker or would he just end up removing a valuable buffer for Obama?

This is all conjecture, of course. No one is openly calling for Pelosi’s ouster as of yet. But she is vulnerable. We’ll see what the Democrats end up doing.

  • Rob

    Let me get this straight. Pelosi is in trouble because she says she was not breifed on waterboarding in 2002, Graham (an OCD note taker) backs her up.

    This appears to be a ruse to switch the discussion from the white house torturing people to “Hey the democrats knew about it”.

    It seems obvious that even if the allegations were true that it shouldn’t be a distraction, the the MSM falls for it every time.

    I also find it curious to see that Pelosi has called for investigations to see who is telling the truth, and the Republicans do not want an investigation.

  • Chris

    I’m amused by the republiclones freaking out about this. Not that we tortured people, or that several hundred thousand people have died needlessly, etc.

  • John Feehery of Politico

    Um, apparently reading bios is too much to ask of the average Donklephant front-pager. If you had done so, you’d see that John Feehery doesn’t actually work as a journalist for Politico:

    John Feehery worked for the House Republican leadership from 1989 to 2005. He is the founder of The Feehery Group, a strategic advocacy firm, and blogs at

    In other words, Feehery is a GOP strategist (and formerly the press secretary to Denny Hestert), apparently trying to *gasp* further the current GOP strategy to undermine and marginalize Speaker Pelosi via specious conjecture.

    And you are providing the slack-jawed even-the-liberal assist. Nice job, that.

    Seriously — I thought (ideally) blogs were supposed to challenge conventional wisdom and Beltway blather (to say nothing of out-and-out bullsh*t), not virally transmit them in a usefully idiotic fashion.

    Once again the lazy volunteer stenographers @ Donklephant bring the EPIC FAIL with typically bland aplomb.

  • Jacob

    Really? Really? Alan, I’m just surprised that you would take a GOP strategists claims as anything other than a DISTRACTION from the issues at hand. The GOP has decided to shift the converstation about torture from: did we or did we not tortue to did the dems know we were torturing or not. They are effectively admitting they were wrong and blaming the dems for not stopping them- Pelosi in particular. The GOP has realized that attacking Obama isn’t denting his approval enough to do anything. So they pick the less popular face of the Democratic party and are making her a scape goat. I honestly think Pelosi is fairly moderate and that’s a GOOD thing- the GOP has had a good time branding her as “liberal” and “socialistic” just because she hails from California. I’m not saying she’s perfect, and I have disagreed with her from time to time, but all in all, she’s a great Speaker (and I honestly believe if she were a man we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation). The fact that THIS IS NEWS AT ALL is ridiculous. We should be investigating the members of the executive branch who called for this all to be happening. Then if we find that Congress was negligent then we censure them and move on- they didn’t order it. Maybe I’m wrong, but I honestly can’t see how people can blame Pelosi for anything (except for the people who don’t like her anyway).