Give Your Dollars to Nancy — and Let Her Figure It Out

I just love this woman:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) mocked Rick Perry’s suggestion that she debate him about his idea for a part-time Congress.

“He did ask if I could debate here in Washington on Monday — it is my understanding that such a letter has come in. Monday, I’m going to be in Portland in the morning, visiting some of our labs in California in the afternoon, that’s two … I can’t remember what the third thing is,” she said at her Thursday morning news conference to laughter.

That wasn’t even her best statement of the day.  Later, she told Super Committee co-chair Jeb Hensarling (R – Olduvai Gorge) where he could stick it when Hensarling insisted that the Dems agree to dismantle Medicare in exchange for raising taxes on millionaires.

Pelosi has not only been one of the best Speakers in American history, but also one of the best Democratic leaders at any level.  Without her, the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t have passed and maybe wouldn’t even have come up for a vote.  The 111th Congress was one of the most productive and beneficial in the nation’s history, and that’s because of the lady who was running things, with the iron fist concealed in a velvet glove.

All of which should probably affect your donation strategy.  If you’re like me, you probably get several e-mails a day from some House candidate or another, asking for your money.  I’m a political junkie, and I can’t keep them all straight.  Who is a viable candidate?  Who is a progressive candidate?  Who will support Pelosi?

Well, maybe we should trust the Minority Leader’s sense of self-interest and just give her the campaign money.  Each candidate can accept up to $2,500 for a primary and $2,500 for the general.  That’s $5,000 total or 10K for a couple.  Unless you are giving a lot of money for House races, it makes sense just to max out to Pelosi and let her figure out where the best places are for it. 

Such a strategy will also have the important secondary benefit of giving Pelosi more power within the caucus.  The more money she gives, the more the other members will owe her.  That will help make the caucus as progressive and sensible as possible.  (And no: the DCCC is not an adequate substitute.  It faces different rules on how it can spend money in individual races, and in any event, its choice of the best candidates over the last few years has been mixed, to say the least.).

Pelosi represents San Francisco and won’t face a challenge: she will use all of her campaign money for other candidates.  So let her do it.

 UPDATE: A commenter wisely notes that it makes more sense to give to Pelosi’s leadership PAC, called PAC to the Future. (Is the name clever or hackneyed?  YMMV.).  It doesn’t have a website, but its address is: 700 13th Street, NW, SUITE 600, Washington, DC 20005.  If you Google it, you’ll find that many years ago (it seems roughly in 2003), it did some really stupid things and paid an FEC fine.  Conservatives who embraced Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff suddenly got the vapors and reached for their scented handkerchiefs.  Sane people can just write checks.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

11 thoughts on “Give Your Dollars to Nancy — and Let Her Figure It Out”

  1. Perry’s notion of lowering the wages of Congress is dreadfully undemocratic, in my view. Result would be that only rich people could afford to run – some of them Dems (Feinstein, Pelosi, Kerry) some Reeps. I can’t imagine that it’s a good thing that only the rich can afford to be in Congress.

    Pelosi is well to the left of the median voter, and I think the success of the Reeps in demonizing her is because centrist voters see that she is dragging the Dems to the left of where they want their government to be. I think her success in the Dems makes the Dems less able to win in the middle.

  2. I’m quite fond of Nancy Pelosi. But her goals aren’t quite those of many of her supporters. She’s trying to maximize the number Democratic Representatives. Many of her supporters want a pinker group of Democratic Representatives. They’re not quite the same thing, although they are not grossly inconsistent. If your goal is the former, by all means give to Pelosi. If your goal is the latter, visit your favorite pinko website for more guidance.

  3. Is Pelosi free to redirect money donated to her election committee, in significant quantities? I’d have guessed her campaign could donate either nothing or the individual maximum to the campaigns of preferred candidates (although I am very much not a lawyer, and my guess could be way off). I’m sure she has or is affiliated with some PAC, but I doubt you’d achieve your desired effect by donating to her campaign.

    1. Warren, that could be right. You are right on the law, but I will check out the appropriate PAC. My assumption in writing the post is that most readers aren’t giving NEARLY the maximum, so a bunch of $50 contributions isn’t going to put her in the position of not being able to donate to her preferred candidates. But your point is well-taken.

  4. This is the only current thread that remotely relates to this issue, but the FDA has taken away its approval of Avastin for breast cancer. Medicare has indicated that it will continue paying for the drug, but many private insurers have already stopped paying for it.

    So, teabaggers, who has the death panels? The government or the private insurance industry??

    This IMHO deserves a new post and thread dedicated to this fact which so rudely interrupts the belief system of the anti-Obamacare contingent.

    I am debating the thought of holding my breath until the major news media (Meet the Press, ABC Sunday Morning, etc) confront the GOP candidates for president to explain how this development has occurred. Is this a safe thing to do, or should I plan to keep on breathing?

    1. Not a good example. At least according to someone who seems well-informed, and has no ax to grind (if anything, is friendly to the pharmaeceutical industry, which employs him), Medicare should not be funding Avastin for breast cancer:

      Survival is the first thing you have to consider with a cancer therapy. And right next to it comes quality of life, because extending someone’s life for a brief period at the cost of horrible side effects is no bargain, either. Should women with metastatic breast cancer take Avastin? It does not, as far as anyone can tell, extend their lives. And it does not improve their quality of life – if anything, it makes it worse. Avastin can be a good drug against other forms of cancer, but it’s not for this one. I very much hope the FDA follows the recommendation of the advisory panel.

      1. You are correct, but you are talking about evidence-based medicine, science, and actual data which the FDA used to rule as it did on Avastin; it made the right call by any objective standards you want to mention. That is why it will grate on the teabaggers; if they agree with you (as they should), then they will have to agree with comparative effectiveness research, with medical practice guidelines, and with a host of other things that they have spent years denouncing as anti-free market! That is what makes this so delicious! They conceive of “death panels” as anything with good data that places any kind of limit on high-tech high-intensity interventions, no matter how futile. The lack of effectivness of this drug is the whole point, and it should be stuck directly into the inflated balloons of the Tea Party movement.

        Do you think my survival will be adversely affected if I hold my breath while waiting for this all to happen?

        1. I agree. Imho there’s nothing wrong with evidence-based medicine, or even – gasp – a rational way of deciding at what point to draw the line on medical spending. But this goes right to the weird tea party thumbsucking about getting squeezed by big government whilst being clueless about market practices.

        2. Evidence-based medicine would be the camel’s nose under the tent. If the Tea Partiers agree with the private insurers denying Avastin on the basis of scientific evidence, the next thing you know, they would have to acknowledge the legitimacy of science when it came to climate change and evolution. If they had to look at markets in terms of data and not in terms of slogans, their entire approach to politics would be threatened.

          Maybe they will bite the hook and maybe they won’t, but if the case for Avastin is based on easy-to-follow anecdotes and the case against it is based on confusing Kaplan-Meier survival curves and complicated Cox regression models, then their models of reality are under threat. Simplistic thinking won’t do after all; a measure of elitism is required for deciding issues of public policy. Herman Cain would be wrong to think that we need a leader, not a reader. It wouldn’t do to say, “It is snowing outside, so Al Gore is full of it and global warming is a sham.” You would need to navigate reality with something more complicated than what you get on Fox and Friends.

          I may be reading too much into the situation, but this Avastin phenomenon appears to have the potential to be a big freaking deal.

  5. “He did ask if I could debate here in Washington on Monday — it is my understanding that such a letter has come in. Monday, I’m going to be in Portland in the morning, visiting some of our labs in California in the afternoon, that’s two … I can’t remember what the third thing is,” she said at her Thursday morning news conference to laughter.

    Good lord enough with the gags. I know what the third thing is, and it is crying shame she didn’t say it:

    Governor, instead of debating me, you should be making sure Congressman Hensarling’s constituents understand that he is disabling their Medicare. Do they even know what he is attempting?

    Every chance a Dem gets with microphones in their face, they’ve got to peck hard at the rotten egg Hensarling’s squatting on…

  6. Better pink(o) than brown or black(shirt), I always say. Like the idea, Mr. Zasloff; will be following through as you suggest. Wasn’t terribly thrilled myself with a lot of the DCCC/DNC choices last round either. Ms. Pelosi has beyond the shadow of a doubt proven herself worthy of the accolades you accord; I think a sharper tack is not to be found in DC. She gets my hard earned $$$.

Comments are closed.