Slash and Burn

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

I wanted to point your attention to an interview Rep. Marcia Fudge (D) did yesterday with Huffpo. Fudge is seen by many – I think accurately – as basically a stalking horse for a handful of anti-Pelosi members on the right of the Democratic caucus. Reps. Moulton, Ryan, Lynch, et al. Her interview gives a taste of the kind of slashing contest Pelosi’s most vocal opponents have in mind.

In the course of the interview, Fudge suggests the Caucus and Pelosi specifically may be a bit racist. “I don’t have a pitch because at this point I’ve not decided I’m going to run but I would say this: My concern about the caucus is the same concern I have about the country. Just as there is this undertone of racism in the country, there’s also that in our caucus. But she wants our endorsements? Who has she endorsed? We’re not feeling the love.”

Fudge also suggests Pelosi is an “elitist.”

She finally says (very accurately) that Pelosi is a “very wealthy person. She raises a lot of money from a lot of other wealthy people.”

One point that is important to bear in mind is this. Fudge is considering challenging Pelosi for the Speakership. But that’s not exactly what is going on here. The normal way to do that is to enter the election in the Democratic caucus. But she would almost certainly be beaten by a wide margin. Fudge and her key supporters are saying that regardless of who wins the Democratic caucus election they won’t vote for Pelosi for Speaker when the race is between Pelosi (or whoever wins the Democratic caucus vote) and Kevin McCarthy in the Speaker election on the floor of the House. So they are essentially saying that unless Pelosi steps aside, they will not vote for her as the caucus winner when she is running for Speaker against Kevin McCarthy.

What seems clear is that these attacks are required precisely because Pelosi has overwhelming support in the caucus, at least to be Speaker for the next two years. So a kind of blackmail is required to render that caucus election moot.

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