Pelosi Set to Punish Democrats Who Criticize Her
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become a punching bag for struggling Democratic House colleagues this fall, but some mouthy members have hit below the belt, raising questions about whether they’ll face a Pelosi punishment after the elections.
Pelosi has blown off the public slights from the likes of Texas Rep. Chet Edwards, who recently said he would not commit to backing Pelosi for another term as speaker, and Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, who recently predicted Pelosi could “get sick and die” before the next Congress. Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina even suggested that he might run for the position of speaker himself.
But will Pelosi be yanking committee seats or chairmanships after the election? It’s unlikely. Pelosi’s form of punishment has been more subtle — usually a cold shoulder and a behind-the-scenes admonishment — but being frozen out by your leader can be costly, especially in campaign fundraising. (See: Nancy Pelosi not bothered by Dem desertion)
“She uses her power deftly in ways a 21st-century speaker does. This is a powerful speaker who can impact how many campaign dollars you can get,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant who served in the Clinton White House as communications counsel.