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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 02:36 AM


First Published in 1994


Nancy Pelosi will rightfully go down as one of the greatest speakers in the history of the U.S. House. I'm not sure I would agree with Pelosi on a single policy issue; that's not the point. As far as leadership ability and political smarts, Pelosi ran circles around the bumbling Republicans of her time. She got things done for the left in a way no recent Republican leader could for the right. When the stakes were highest, she was able to corral her votes. Simultaneously, when the far left went too far, she was willing to slap them down. There's a name for all this. It's called leadership. Republicans are desperate for a leader like this in the House.

Before the 2006 elections, as the Bush administration began cratering politically, the far left began pushing to impeach over the Iraq War. Pelosi led the charge against impeachment. She took on the far left directly. They hated her for it. But Pelosi knew that Democrats were winning politically and was smart enough to see that impeachment had the potential to shake that up. It worked. As a result, Democrats gained 30 seats in the House and took back control of the chamber for the first time in 12 years. This effectively ended the Bush administration's power and paved the way for Barack Obama. In the process, Pelosi was elected as the first female House speaker in history. She didn't get it due to some 2022-style artificial diversity push. She earned it.

If Pelosi's first big political test was holding off the far left, her second test required walking moderate Democrats right off a cliff in the name of historic left-wing progress. In 2010, Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority by losing a special Senate election in Massachusetts of all places. Even Obama saw this surprise Massachusetts defeat as the end for Obamacare. He was ready to cave and replace the massive federal health care takeover with a series of smaller bills. Pelosi wouldn't have it. With the push for Obamacare, unlike the impeachment debate earlier, Pelosi found a cause she deemed more important than politics. Moderate Democrats knew their votes would cost them their seats, but Pelosi was able to get them to vote for Obamacare anyway.

In the end, Obamacare passed, and because of it, 63 Democrats predictably lost their seats in the 2010 midterms. Pelosi lost the speakership. Through this process, she did something no recent Republican leader has come close to doing. She proved she was willing to lose political power to get things done. Democrats viewed Obamacare as the holy grail. To them, implementing it was worth the cost.

Conservatives should ask themselves, is there a single issue recent Republican leaders feel that passionately about? What's the point of winning elections if you aren't going to do big things?

You don't have to like Nancy Pelosi or Obamacare to admire this level of leadership and smarts. It's precisely what has been lacking among congressional Republicans. On the right, the reformist side is so desperate for progress that they sometimes end up tilting at windmills, often at their political peril. Even worse, the larger establishment bloc is not really interested in getting things done. To them, the election itself is the end game. Washington service is largely a tryout for a career in corporate influence. They are happy to make some attempt at stopping the most left-wing policies, but real progress on a conservative agenda is not even something they contemplate. They don't say it out loud, but the unwritten rule is anything at all that threatens reelection is off the table. This is, of course, a perversion of the political process, but it's 100% the mindset of the majority of Republicans in Washington.

Republicans love to hate Pelosi, and often for good reason. She was tough and even mean sometimes. On issues like COVID and congressional member stock-trading, she helped break trust with the American people. More broadly, she pushed through many policies that will hurt America badly. This record is nothing to celebrate. But as a purely political matter, Pelosi has been by far the greatest congressional leader of our time. She ran her caucus with tight control. Nobody really crossed her, and she got things done. The gap is so huge that the House Republicans she's gone up against were really never in her league. She was both tougher and smarter than them. She usually ran circles around them. The honest truth is conservatives are dying for a House leader of Nancy Pelosi's caliber.


Neil Patel co-founded The Daily Caller, one of America's fastest-growing online news outlets, which regularly breaks news and distributes it to over 15 million monthly readers. Patel also co-founded The Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit news company that trains journalists, produces fact-checks and conducts longer-term investigative reporting. The Daily Caller News Foundation licenses its content free of charge to over 300 news outlets, reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people per month. To find out more about Neil Patel and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com


Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel

Tucker Carlson currently hosts Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (weekdays 8 p.m. ET). He joined the network in 2009 as a contributor.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” features powerful analysis and spirited debates, with guests from across the political and cultural spectrum. Carlson brings his signature style to tackle issues largely uncovered by the media in every corner of the United States, challenging political correctness with a "Campus Craziness" segment and tackling media bias and outrage during "Twitter Storm."

Carlson co-hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend” starting in 2012, until taking on his current role at “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

While at Fox News, Carlson has provided analysis for “America's Election Headquarters” on primary and caucus nights, including in the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections, as well as the 2014 midterm election. He also produced a Fox News special, "Fighting for Our Children's Minds," in 2010.

Prior to working at Fox News, Carlson hosted “Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered” on PBS from 2004 to 2005 and “Tucker” on MSNBC from 2005 to 2008. He joined CNN in 2000 as its youngest anchor ever, co-hosting “The Spin Room” and later CNN's “Crossfire,” until its 2005 cancellation. In 2003, he wrote an autobiography about his cable news experience titled "Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News."

Carlson graduated with a B.A. in history from Trinity College in Connecticut.

Neil Patel

In addition to his role as publisher of The Daily Caller, Neil Patel is co-founder and managing director of Bluebird Asset Management, a hedge fund investing in mortgage-backed securities.

Before starting his two companies, Neil served in the White House from 2005 to 2009 as the chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. From 2001 to 2004, Neil was staff secretary to Vice President Cheney. Prior to joining the Bush administration, Neil was assistant general counsel at UUNET Technologies. Earlier in his career, Neil practiced law with Dechert Price & Rhoads. He also served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China. 

Neil received his B.A. from Trinity College in Connecticut and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as associate editor of the Journal of Law and Policy in International Business.

Neil lives in Washington, D.C., and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with his wife, Amy, their two daughters, Caroline and Bela, and their son, Charlie.