Nancy Pelosi, queen of cosmetic injectables that have her almost entirely immobilized from hairline to mandible, appears to be the frozen chosen of the Democrats and the odds-on favorite to become Speaker of the House. After years, nay, decades of overuse, perhaps the Botulinum toxin has seeped into her gray matter. It is a neurotoxin after all. At the ripe age of 78, Ms. Pelosi has difficulty retrieving names and makes odd statements, but her thirst for power and control has not waned. And she is convinced she’ll regain control of the gavel once again, now that Democrats are to take back control of the House.
Despite her age and oft-confused state, Pelosi is a formidable candidate for the post – so much so that no one has yet come forward to challenge her. She does not yet appear to have the magic number that will put her back in charge of the people’s house, but she is “confident” that she will. And there is reason to believe that is precisely what will happen come January 3rd.
That’s when U.S. Representatives take a vote to elect the next speaker. Until then, the House will be twiddling their thumbs because they can do nothing until they have someone to wield the gavel. And while there have been skirmishes, there hasn’t been an all-out war for speaker since 1923. That’s when the House took three days and nine ballots to elect a leader. Since then it’s been speaker-by-first-ballot.
Twice before – in 2007 and 2009 – Pelosi rallied the troops to put her in charge. In 2007 she was effectively the unanimous vote with every single Democrat giving her the nod. In 2009, she had all but five, and those few didn’t vote against her but rather stayed silent and did not register a vote at all.
Why It Matters
“The gavel makes all the difference in the world,” Pelosi told Rolling Stone, “The speaker has awesome power.” This is for certain. Speaker of the House is not as much a ceremonial role as it is administrative. To open their mouth on the floor, members must first be recognized by the speaker. To make motions, members must first seek approval from the speaker. And who gets to appoint members to committees? Why, the speaker, of course. This person sets the tone, tenor, and pace of the lower chamber and has a good deal of latitude when it comes to setting the legislative agenda on behalf of the majority party.
So, despite the memory lapses, e.g., calling Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “whatshisname” or repeatedly referring to President Trump as George W. Bush, Ms. Pelosi appears to have staying power and the ability to get Democrats to line up behind her.
In the final analysis, there can’t be an insurrection against Pelosi becoming speaker if there is no one willing to challenge her, and thus far no one has stepped forward. Still, there is time for Democrats to put an alternative candidate in motion. As well, several new house members say they will oppose Pelosi as speaker. Given enough time and space, the Democrats do have a habit of making a mess of things, but when it comes to party unity, more often than not they have fewer people willing to go off the reservation than Republicans. For better or worse, all this adds up to the likelihood that Nancy Pelosi will become the next Speaker of the House in 2019.