To conservatives, she’s public enemy number 2. Only President Obama himself elicits more anger and outrage from those on the right. While she’s constantly decried as a monstrous villain, she’s been unfortunately effective for the left, particularly in ramming the unpopular Obamacare through Congress. Republicans have been woefully ineffective at minimizing her power and even though she’s no longer the speaker of the House, she’s remained the most visible Democrat other than the commander in chief. So, when Nancy Pelosi claims to “know something” about Newt Gingrich, it’s easy for nervous Republicans to joke that they’re surprised to learn she knows anything at all.
They take her claim lightly at their own peril.
This is not to say she has any actual dirt on Gingrich. After all, if you’ve got a hole card that will destroy an opponent, you don’t announce it. You play it close to the chest, and unleash it at the perfect moment for maximum damage. Pelosi’s willingness to brag about her supposed anti-Newt doomsday device likely means she doesn’t have one.
Still, there’s something about Newt that she knows. If we take her at her word, we can surmise that she probably knows three things.
1.) Bold people tend to overwhelm the weak.
In 2008, the bigger, bolder candidate was undoubtedly Barack Obama. Regardless of how you feel about his policies or ideology, there’s no denying the fact that in terms of sheer bravado, he trounced his Republican rival. Obama claimed to be the candidate who would restore the country, turn back global warming and lower the sea levels. Four years later, it’s hard to remember a single McCain idea. His plans were murky, his goals were ill-defined and his ability to achieve them was barely articulated.
Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, is swinging a sledgehammer of grandiose claims. Whether or not he can get his agenda through Congress is, at least for Pelosi, not the point. She learned from the 2008 campaign that in terms of electability, the claim is the thing. As Barack Obama proved, if you can convince people that you’re capable of achieving great things, they’ll follow you.
Obama no longer has the power to do this, so Pelosi is desperately afraid of anyone who can.
2.) Voters love a fighter.
In 1980, voters were not supposed to fall for Reagan’s shtick. According to the Republican establishment and their Democrat counterparts, they were supposed to believe that he was a doddering ex-movie star whose finest days were spent co-starring with a far more popular simian. He’d been divorced. He was from Hollywood. He’d been on both sides of the political aisle. He was not presidential material.
Then, he decided to start fighting. Once Reagan came out swinging against the failures of the Carter administration, he was unstoppable. His jabs are now the stuff of political legend. Now, Pelosi sees Newt doing the same thing to a president whose destructive policies make Jimmy Carter’s train wreck look like amateur hour.
3.) People will forgive personal flaws in a leader.
Yes, Newt has a lot of personal baggage. There’s no getting around that fact. His marital life is a decades-long mess and his tenure as speaker ended on an ugly note. However, he’s also able to strike the tone of a real leader. Again, regardless of whether you like or detest his policies, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll be forced to admit that Newt sounds like a man who can lead. You may not always be thrilled with where he’s taking you, but Pelosi knows that on Election Day this may not matter.
If her only current goal is to keep a Democrat in the White House, she must be terrified of Newt’s ability to fire up his political base.
It’s unlikely that Nancy has the goods to destroy Newt. If she actually did, she’d be salivating over the prospect of him winning the Republican nomination. As it is, she and her left-wing cronies have taken to the Sunday talk shows in order to remind conservatives, over and over again, that their party would be better off with Mitt Romney. Only Mitt, they say, is a danger to Obama — and we’re supposed to believe she’s warning us out of the goodness of her heart.
Sadly, so far Mitt has shown himself to be an obsequious, if flawless, man who lacks the ability to lead his own people and is reticent to fight. He’s exactly the type of candidate that Nancy Pelosi “knows” will be easy to defeat, just as John McCain was in 2008.
The next time Pelosi alerts us that there’s “something she knows,” we’d do well to remember that the source of such generous advance knowledge views a Republican victory as a cataclysm. The only thing that matters to a woman like Pelosi is her agenda. A strong Republican is exactly what she doesn’t want. She’s not interested in helping conservatives succeed, and she could care less if they pick a worthy nominee.
Her claims are best ignored.
Robert Laurie is a Michigan-based conservative columnist and freelance writer. He runs a daily political commentary blog at RobertLaurie.net.