By Fred Gardner

Maureen Dowd’s front-page paean to Nancy Pelosi in the NY Times Sunday Review section July 7 included two important facts in one sentence: “AOC has now replaced Pelosi as top villainess on Fox prime time and the more moderate Pelosi’s poll numbers have risen.”

Logically, Pelosi should be grateful to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She isn’t, of course. Her attitude towards the first-term representative from New York and her “Squad” (Reps. Pressley of Massachusetts, Tlaib of Michigan, and Omar of Minnesota) is scornful. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi told Dowd, “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.” 

Madame Speaker was referring to The Squad’s refusal to join the rest of the Democrats in voting for a bill to increase spending at the border without demanding protection for the migrant children being held in concentration camps. Dowd quoted Pelosi admiringly, If the left doesn’t think I’m left enough, so be it.”A Times editor made it the featured quote, over a photo of Pelosi that took up half the page (along with some meaningless pastel-colored polka dots.)

Getting back to the one meaningful sentence in Dowd’s long puff piece (which was based on an interview conducted at Pelosi’s Napa Valley vineyard): AOC’s presence in Congress makes it obvious that Pelosi is a centerist. Center-right from my POV, “center-left” according to Dowd, who credits Pelosi for opposing the US invasion of Iraq. But Barbara Lee was the only representative who voted not to authorize $40 billion for the first wave of “Shock and Awe.”

Where was Barney Frank, where was Pelosi? Just you, Barbara Lee, just you… all alone.

Pelosi was among the 420 (!) Congresspersons voting to fund the attack in 2003. Does Dodd think that being pro-gay is “left?” Her vineyard-chat piece is accompanied by a photo of Pelosi’s purple Manolo heels, which matched the purple jacket she wore at the Pride parade in San Fran. You’ve come a long way, lefty.

Refusing to recognize how the left serves their interest is what cost the corporate Democrats and Al Gore the White House in 2000. Gore would have won by a theft-proof margin if the Dems had allowed Ralph Nader to take part in the debates. Nader would have come across as the Intellectual on the left, Bush as the Dimwit on the right, and Al Gore would have been the solid Everyman in the center, just where you want to be in a presidential race.

In Nader’s absence, Gore came across as the wonk-liberal (the ambitious smart kid, now grown up) and Bush as the folksy conservative (the dumb but popular˛kid). Bush drawled his phoney drawl, Gore emitted a loud contemptuous sigh, and the pundits said that showed him to be a snob. Nader had been kept out of the debate because the Demoratic Party leaders’ instincts are anti-democratic. Ditto their high-paid consultants’.

Bill Zimmerman is the successful Santa Monica “campaign professional” who got funding from Soros et al to replace Dennis Peron as manager of the Prop 215 campaign. (Zimmerman was also the voice of the peace movement on Ken Burns’s recent War in Vietnam documentary.) Because he is my own private Sweeney, I ordered Zimmerman’s memoir “Troublemaker” from a remainder house. It’s a long exercise in self-praise. Skimming through it, my eye caught this riff about a 1987 initiative campaign: “I called Ralph Nader, not yet the victim of the narcissim and bad judgment that led him to run for president and eventually empower his coroporate enemies by throwing the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush.”

That’s what passes for expertise in Democrat circles.