Bipartisan Nonsense: Both PBS Pundits Tout 'Moderate' Democrats, Endorse Speaker Pelosi

We can't say this "blue wave" spin is unexpected....but it's not accurate. On Friday's PBS NewsHour, we were "treated" to "bipartisan" agreement among the pundits that the Ocasio-Cortez Class of Democrats is a centrist, or non-ideological bunch. The headline was "David Brooks and Ruth Marcus on a ‘moderate’ new congressional class."

Anchor Judy Woodruff brought up an "interesting fight" over whether Nancy Pelosi should be Speaker of the House. Pseudo-conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks and liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus were energetically agreed in NewsHour style that these were moderate Democrats who would do well to vote for Pelosi. They "need" her discipline in tacking to the....center. 

 

DAVID BROOKS: The new class, the ones I have met, are very refreshing, very non-ideological, by the most parts. They're sort of the — especially the people who have military service, it's just like, how do we get this job done, sort of that kind of attitude.

They look like America much more than the other class. They're a sign of the vibrancy of the Democratic Party, frankly . They're moderates, though. Remember, two-thirds of the new members were endorsed by the New Democratic Caucus, the more moderate group among the out — all these caucuses. And so the attack on Pelosi is generally coming from the center, not from the left.

If we track all the Democratic freshmen on an American Conservative Union voting index, are we going to find "moderates" who score at least, say, 20 percent conservative in the next year? I think it's easier to guess the majority will be in single digits, where the party "mainstream" lies. Marcus started the "centrists need Pelosi" argument: 

RUTH MARCUS: The thing I find so puzzling about this is that David correctly points out that this is — while it's an incredibly young and diverse and interesting caucus, it is not a caucus of lefty crazies. It is a pretty conservative caucus. Those are the folks who need somebody exactly like Nancy Pelosi in the speaker's chair to make sure that the caucus stays disciplined, that it doesn't overstep its bounds, do things that will make the Republican — Republican-leaning districts that they came from vote them out in 2020.

These are exactly the people, from my point of view, who should want Nancy Pelosi there.

Brooks then politely agreed by saying "If I were a Democrat...I would probably vote for her." It would be nice to see who exactly Brooks votes for in real life. Let's bet it's not a pile of Republicans.

BROOKS: I would probably vote for her. She's always been an external drag. Republicans love running against Nancy Pelosi. But she's been nothing but an internal bonus, because she has been a very effective speaker, and she raises money like nobody's business.

And so, if I were a normal, standard Democrat, I would think, it's two years. It's a tough two years. We want somebody who's been there before, who is very disciplined. And the external drag diminishes, because, in 2020, Republicans will be running against the presidential nominee, not against Nancy Pelosi. And so, to me, it would be a win to keep her.

So ends a typical PBS NewsHour "debate," where no one is invited to say anything contradictory about Nancy Pelosi being ultraliberal or anything about Democrats tilting too far to the left.

Campaigns & Elections 2018 Congressional PBS News Hour David Brooks Ruth Marcus
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