They are now on the record: 14 men and two women who really, really don’t want Nancy Pelosi to become speaker of the House again.
The letter from current and future House members vowing to not back her will not be enough to block her path to the speakership. Though more who share their sentiments didn’t sign on, the anti-Pelosi squad is still without a candidate of its own.
But if this is a distraction, it’s one unlikely to fade even with the swearing-in of the new Congress. The Democratic Party remains locked in internal battles that are ideological as well as attitudinal — and, as laid bare in current arguments over who should be speaker, often generational.
“We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise,” the anti-Pelosi letter-signers wrote, in language vague enough to satisfy any number of agendas.
For her part, Pelosi seemed to be signaling an exit strategy when she told the Los Angeles Times last month that she saw herself as a “transitional figure.” Notably, though, she’s already walking that back.
“I think every leader is a transitional figure,” she told Robert Draper of The New York Times magazine.