The Polk County Democrats featured speaker for their spring fundraiser is a legend in the Democratic Party. Democratic Congressional Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s amazing record speaks for itself. She is the longest serving political leader of either party in the past 40 years. Pelosi is the first and only female Speaker of the U.S. House in American history. She has been described as one of the two most effective House Speakers in history. The other is former Speaker Tip O’Neil.
While House Minority Leader Pelosi has her critics, the benefits of bringing her to Iowa outweigh any downside. It appears Polk County Democratic Chair, Sean Bagniewski, planned the Pelosi visit very strategically.
He seems to be practicing the Democrats’ winning big tent strategy. In order for Democrats to win in 2018 and beyond, the party must knit together all the ideological slices that make up the whole. Democrats must be united in opposition to Republicans if they are to create a big blue wave. Pelosi represents the more established slice of the party and her leadership has been challenged by other Democrats.
Bagniewski has already appealed to some of the young turks in the party that are challenging Pelosi’s leadership. The Polk County September Steak Fry featured three Democratic Congresspersons that have challenged Democratic leadership. Tim Ryan, Seth Moulton and Cheri Bustos have criticized Democratic leadership for failing to emphasize jobs, economic issues and rural voters in the 2016 election.
Congressman Tim Ryan challenged Pelosi as Minority Leader following the November losses but he failed. Moulton voted for Ryan as well, opposing Pelosi.
Democrats are struggling with intra-party criticism that older Democratic office holders need to retire and bring in new blood. Congressman Moulton challenged that tradition by running against a long-serving Democrat incumbent. Moulton won the primary in 2014 and later won the general election beating the Republican.
Bagniewski is providing Democrats a broad menu of Democratic talent to hear and evaluate. Bringing Pelosi offers a unique opportunity to hear one of the most effective Democratic elders in history. She provides a sharp contrast to the three younger Congresspersons that spoke at the Steak Fry.
Pelosi will turn 78 this year, but her energy hasn’t seemed to weaken. She is described as a mix of grit, grace and gavel. In February she stood and held the floor speaking without a break for a full eight hours. Her speech in defense of DREAMer immigrants, broke a 109-year old House record for the longest delivery of one speech.
Pelosi’s use of the art of compromise and deal making is legendary. She is given major credit for successfully pushing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) over the finish line. During the past year she was able to hold every Democrat in line and prevented any from voting for either the Republicans’ ACA repeal or the Republican tax scam.
Perhaps one of Pelosi’s greatest strengths is her record fundraising abilities. It’s estimated she has raised over half a billion dollars in order to elect Democrats in her career. She raised over $50 million last year building the Democrats 2018 war chest.
We know Republicans love to use Pelosi as their punching bag. They try to tie all of our candidates to her coat tails. We also know there is a large degree of misogyny in the Republicans’ attacks on her. This is a chance to stand with an incredibly astonishing woman against the Republicans prejudiced attacks.
Every Democrat should be interested in hearing this remarkable and talented woman speak. Remember, if Democrats flip the House she will resume as Speaker if she is reelected. This is an opportunity for all of us to let her know what Iowa Democrats need and want for the future.
The Polk County Spring Dinner in Des Moines will be Sunday May 6 at 6:00 pm.
You can purchase tickets at:
by Rick Smith