Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

I don’t think it is too much to ask for the Speaker of the House to comprehend the limits of her power and position, do you?

Yesterday, as Nancy Pelosi officially seized the gavel from Republican Speaker Paul Ryan, she  declared that she is equal to the President:

Asked if she considers herself Mr. Trump’s equal, she replied, “The Constitution does.”

The mainstream media, invested in defending and bolstering Pelosi, are already spinning the exchange to mean merely that Pelosi considers women the equal of men, and that the Constitution obviously (now) embodies that principle. However, that would have been a question and answer neither worth asking or answering. The question was whether Pelosi, as Speaker, felt that she was the equal of the President in power and Constitutional authority, and she replied in the affirmative to cheers from the “resistance.” Here’s Scott Dworkin, for example, frequent MSNBC contributor and  co-founder of the Democratic Coalition on Twitter:

“The Constitution considers me equal to Trump.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Damn straight. Trump is not the boss of Congress, no matter what Trump’s lapdogs Ryan & McConnell made it look like. Speaker Pelosi reminds us how the pathetic GOP is owned by Trump. Weak & useless pushovers.

Down, boy! Someone get Scott some Prozac. As for Nancy, someone get her a high school civics textbook.

No, the Speaker is not “equal” to the President in any way. It is not a position elected by the national electorate, so it has no national mandate. It is a political position, determined by a partisan vote of other Representatives. The U.S. does not have a parliamentary system like Great Britain, where the elected leader of the legislature becomes the leader of the government itself. The Speaker of the House is the leader of one-half of the legislative branch,  and the Presidency is the entire Executive Branch (though he may delegate his powers to subordinates, departments and agencies)  as described by the Constitution in explaining three branch system in which all three branches are co-equal. Chief Justice John Roberts, the leader of the judicial branch, would never be so foolish as to announce that he is “the equal” of the President. No, that kind of fantastic over-statement is just the kind of think Pelosi is saying these days. Now, if she said Congress is the “equal” of the President, she would be on solid ground. Congress, however, is made up of 435 House members and 100 Senators. Those 535 elected members of the legislature, working in concert (sorry, I broke into giggles there), are indeed approximately equal in power to the President…not just one, you. 535, one—it’s an easy mistake to make.

Maybe Nancy is confused because of the Constitutional succession batting order, where the Speaker is third in line for the Presidency if both the President and Vice-President die or otherwise can’t serve. But nobody claims that #2, the Vice-President, is “equal” to the President. And #4, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, has no special power at all. (Pop quiz: who is the President Pro Tem now? I had to look it up.)

This kind of factually false and ignorant statement—or perhaps it is puffery—is exactly the kind of statement that, when the President makes one, end up on a list of Presidential “lies.” When Pelosi says things equally dumb and wrong, she should be held to the same standard. Moreover, this kind of misstatement from a trusted source–yes, some members of the public are foolish enough to assume that elected officials understand their own jobs—makes the public even more civically illiterate than they already are, as well as, and I am sure this is the objective, more tolerant of Democratic efforts to pretend the President doesn’t have the power he was elected to exercise.


9 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

  1. At this point we have next to nothing in common with these ignorant fools.

    If Pelosi meant to say she, as Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader are the leadership of majorities of each respective house of Congress, a co-equal branch of government, she should have. I suspect she may have meant that, but with her, like Trump, who knows.

  2. “Down, boy! Someone get Scott some Prozac.”

    PETA may consider it an insult to dogs (and it may be), but the forgoing may need to be enshrined up there next to “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

  3. So, why does the Speaker of the House have special powers? I can’t remember the position being given any special powers in the Constitution. She did reply “The Constitution does” (consider her equal to the President), but I don’t see any special power except to be notified of things (same as the President Pro Tempore in the absence of the Vice President).

  4. Anyone notice SanFranNan hasn’t been as much of a stumble/bumble/mumble lately? Perhaps they adjusted her L-Dopa?

    She also got into it with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Wednesday border security meeting.

    Rudely interrupting Nielsen’s presentation of the state of affairs at our southern border, Pelosi said: “I reject your facts.”

    “These aren’t my facts,” Nielsen shot back. “These are THE facts.”

    TKO in the first;


  5. Maybe Nancy is confused…
    That has been apparent nearly every time she has spoken publicly in the past few years.

  6. Uncomfortable interpretation….she is figuring that if they get rid of Orange Man Bad and the guy wise enough to not meet with women alone, that makes her President? Wonder if Lenin had similar thoughts?

  7. The U.S. does not have a parliamentary system like Great Britain [sic], where the elected leader of the legislature becomes the leader of the government itself [emphasis added].

    Not quite; that’s merely how it usually works out in practice in normal times. But every two or three decades you get a minority government or a coalition and things work out differently. For one thing, the legislature as a whole then very visibly doesn’t have an “elected leader” at all (strictly speaking, it doesn’t in ordinary times either, even if it looks that way from outside, unless it is a special variant like Israel). Right now, Australia is in that situation, as is the U.K., or very nearly (that’s not merely Great Britain – the balance of power is being held by a party from outside Great Britain). Famously, in 1940 Churchill became Prime Minister when he wasn’t even the leader of anything at all, nor did he become one until Chamberlain died some time later.

    By the way, this is half the misreading in the widespread fallacy that “the C.I.A. forcibly overthrew Mossadegh, the elected leader of Iran”. Even at his peak, he only led the main party in a coalition, not even a majority. (The other half is that, by the time he was forcibly overthrown, his coalition had already come apart and he had switched to being a dictator, closing parliament rather than having new elections for it. However, it is true that the C.I.A. had been destabilising him all along, though only within existing if corrupt customary practices.)

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