Oops she did it again: Pelosi’s inability to connect with non-gajillionaires is just getting weird


This direction is working just fine. Sinking is just like rising…only not. PHOTO by Brook Hines.

Last night Twitter lit up with clips of Nancy Pelosi at the CNN Town Hall responding to a college student asking if the Democrats might be wise to adopt more populist economic policies and priorities.

Before asking the question, NYU student Trevor Hill said the alt-right had scored too many points with populist rhetoric. The question was basically saying, “we all know the right-wing has no intention of improving economic conditions for working Americans, so what can the Democrats offer that’s different?”

He then tee’d off with some polling data suggesting that 51% of people between the ages of 18-29 no longer support the “system of capitalism.” A smart politico would have taken this as a straw man, because he then said, “that’s not to make you make a radical statement about capitalism, but I’m just telling you that my experience is that the younger generation is moving left on economic issues.”

Here’s his final softball question: “I’ve been so excited to see the party move left on social issues…but I wonder if there’s anywhere you feel that the Democrats you could move farther to the left to a populist message the way the alt-right has captured this populist strain on the right wing—if you think we could make a more stark contrast to right wing economics.”

You can see in the split screen in the clip below, that his question made Pelosi visibly uncomfortable. Trevor had barely finished as Pelosi jumped up to say (dismissively), “Well, I thank you for your question, but I have to say—we’re capitalists.”

What’s most sickening about this response is that it reflects so poorly on the capitalism that actually made this country great. Sure Nancy, Democrats are capitalists, but we also don’t fool ourselves into thinking that completely unregulated capitalism is consistent with Democracy, or consistent with having a middle class. If you want Democracy and a middle class, you have to regulate capitalism. Period.

Realizing that she’d just really stepped in it, she tried to reel it back in, and rambled on for five minutes describing John D. Rockefeller’s Stakeholder Capitalism versus Shareholder Capitalism, but never offered a solution, or even commiserated with Americans who are getting the economic shaft while CEOs are feasting on our productivity. The moderator had to cut her off.

At the very least, Trevor’s question offered the perfect opportunity for Pelosi (the 12th richest member of Congress, worth 54 million according to one estimate) to score an emotional point, but she was inexplicably unable to meet that challenge. This is why Twitter went nuts.

This incident reminded me another recent Pelosi goof, when she claimed, after the shocking November elections, that she believed Democrats were quite happy with…things. Appearing on Face the Nation Pelosi was asked, “The Democratic party is in a moment of questioning about its identity…What do you tell Democrats who want a new direction and what are you going to do differently?

She responded, “Well, I don’t think people want a new direction.” Saying further that the problem we had in the 2016 election was one of messaging: “What we want is a better connection of our message to working families in our country, and that clearly in the election showed that that message wasn’t coming through.”

No really, it’s not the messaging. It’s the policy and priorities. We really want, and need better economic policy from our leaders.

The problem with always blaming our failures on messaging is that at some point a clever person like Trevor, is going to call you on it. The reason your messaging isn’t working, is because there’s no policy work to back it up. Pelosi had a chance last night to change that messaging and she blew it because there’s no there there. She couldn’t point to one policy position that would help people struggling in a nightmarish economic environment. Her bumbling answer made no sense, made no one happy, and worse, it indicated that the Dems are a long way from being able to clean up their act, since they can’t even face their constituents’ problems head-on.

Oh, and I hear they don’t want a new direction, either.

Here’s the clip:






  1. Roger Dahdjer · ·

    The look on Pelosi’s face was priceless. She did backpedal hard, but she came out of that chair snarling and contemptuous. “Hold on kid — we’re all rich folks up here …”

    It’s been tragicomic watching Hillary’s Third Way neoliberals trying to spin away from the fact that no one bought their Democrats for Corporations” theory.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Millie Herrera · ·

    Having being born and lived in a “socialist anti-capitalist” (only for the masses as the elite leaders lived in capitalist privileged luxury) in Castro’s Cuba, I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that moving farther to the left will not work. It never does, because you can’t succeed by stiffling people’s competitive spirit, desire to innovate and create wealth, since those are the drivers for upward economic mobility. The opportunities of a free – AND fair – market society have been proven time and again to be the catalysts for human progress, equality, peace and well being.

    Moving economic policies more to the left sounds very sexy and wonderful on paper, but in reality, it stinks. Why do you think that 58 years after the Castro “revolution” so many young men and women who were born in this “socialist paradise” choose to face sharks and drowning rather than living the rest of their lives in a country where the socialist economic policies have only created ruins, hunger, malnutrition, and long lines to get even rationed goods? Where young women are encouraged by their parents to sell their bodies to tourists just so the family can eat? Where labor unions are dismantled and the freedom to worship is suppressed or forbidden? Where torture is practiced unfettered in jails filled with dissidents while the rest of the world looks on?

    I don’t think 51% of 18-29 year olds who don’t approve of capitalist economic principles really know what the alternative is! I welcome them to live a few years as real working people in Cuba or Venezuela to learn that not all that glitters is gold. All the freedoms, comforts and opportunities we’re accustomed to are not there. And let them try to protest peacefully and demand change in those regimes, and see how quickly they’re beaten, jailed or killed by the ruling forces with impunity.

    Yes, unregulated capitalism is not good for working people because our protections for justice and a decent way of life are eroded and go away. We see it in the income inequality that has caused our most recent economic downturn, which by the way, hurt those of us at the bottom as well as some growing businesses as well. But throwing away the baby with the bath water is not the way to go.

    We have to continue to put pressure on our Democrat leaders and institutions to stand up to the unbriddled GOP, like they’re finally doing now on the nomination hearings. They need to start walking the talk and stand up strong to fight the attacks on our freedoms, and keep the GOP from further deregulations and economic power grabs that hurt workers and our future prosperity.

    And because we don’t currently have the majority in Congress to be more effective in doing these things, all of us need to focus on winning the US Senate in 2018, and more state legislatures, the US House and White House back in 2020, and not in fighting to move us toward losing economic policies that will only bring us misery and want.


  3. This is what happens when people are promoted for their gender. She’s a horrible communicator and has been for a long time. Steny Hoyer, who is far more articulate was in line to become the next leader, was defeated because he was/is a white guy. As long as Democrats remained tied to identity politics, people like Pelosi, will be in charge.


  4. It’s not about capitalist or socialist policies. It’s about whether political and economic institutions are inclusive or extractive. Cuba’s economy is failing its people because it is inherently extractive- the leaders do not give their citizens rights or democracy, and the profits are funneled to the top, leaving everyone else with no incentive to succeed. That is not socialism’s fault. That is authoritarianism fault. There is still room for socialist democratic policies to be argued and tested as a model for success. What we need to avoid is the authoritarianism by which Cuba’s (and many other countries’) elite has used government to extract resources from its populace, leaving it impoverished and with little incentive to invest themselves. the example of Cuba or the soviet union should not discourage Americans from exploring the role of socialist policies- the key difference is that we have a strong culture of inclusive political and economic institutions whereas Cuba and Russia do not.

    I do think the balance of capitalism vs social network policies should be discussed (there is merit to both) but I think it is unfair to use Cuba as a predictor of why they will fail. This is because I do not believe the economic policies are the real reasons that Cuba failed- the political ones are.

    Liked by 1 person


    Unregulated Capitalism and Socialism are both problematic. Combining both with a Democracy of, by, and for the people is what we must strive for.



    Pelosi, Clinton, and DWS are arrogant people who have no humility and no clue.


    1. Millie Herrera · ·

      And how do you know that? Have you ever met them personally, interacted with them? It’s so easy to throw stones at glass houses. I’d like to see how well you hold up if you ever had the chance to do ever 10% of what they’ve done for this country!!! I may not agree all the time with everything they do, but to call them names because you disagree with some of their positions is very unfortunate.


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