In the Georgia special House election won by the Republican candidate in what many regard as an affirmation of the Trump agenda, GOP ads tied Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi's “San Francisco values.”
That "Republican playbook" obviously is working, declared Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, who concluded in an interview Thursday that Pelosi's time in leadership is over.
“Nancy Pelosi was a great speaker, she was a great leader, but her time has come and gone. And yes, she is a great fundraiser, but if the money we’re raising through her leadership is not helping us win elections, then we have to have this conversation now,” Rice told MSNBC.
While there is no formal challenge to Pelosi's post as House minority leader, other House Democrats are voicing their displeasure.
“I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top,” said Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, who supported Pelosi in her last leadership race, Politico reported. “Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.”
The congressman who challenged Pelosi for minority leader in November, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, wouldn't state to Politico whether she should step down, but said, “My position hasn’t changed.”
“I think it’s very concerning that that tactic still has some punch,” Ryan said. “Again, it’s part of the broader national brand that average people don’t feel connected to the Democratic Party. Walk up the street and ask 10 people what the Democrats stand for, you’ll get 10 different answers. That’s no way to build a national party.”
President Trump stirred the pot, Thursday, tweeting: "I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party - and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!"
Asked by reporters Thursday about Trump's tweet and the complaints of fellow House Democrats, Pelosi defended her leadership.
"So you want me to sing my praises, is that what you're saying?" she asked. "Well, I'm a master legislator. I'm a strategic, politically astute leader. My leadership is recognized by many around the country.
She added: "That is why I'm able to attract the (financial) support that I do, which is essential to our elections, sad to say."
Pelosi, indeed, has raised more than $560 million for House Democrats since she became leader in 2003, the most by any politician in history, apart from presidential races. And some of her colleagues have voiced support for her since Tuesday, including Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who described her as "one of the best speakers ever."
Meanwhile, the Hill reported activist Michael Moore expressed the anger of many on the left after Democrats spending tens of millions of dollars on the Georgia race, viewing it as a referendum on Trump.
Moore, charging that members of the Democratic establishment "hate the resistance," said the Democratic National Committee and its House campaign arm have “no message, no plan, no leaders.”
Commenting on the Democrats' electoral failure in the South this week, which included a South Carolina House race, Hot Air blogger Andrew Malcolm observed that one-third of Pelosi’s 193 House Democrats now come from just three states, "the usual liberal suspects of California, New York and Massachusetts, not the crucial Heartland."
"Pelosi’s entire leadership team is also coastal, and like her, linger on in their mid-70s."
There was little soul searching in the wake of the devastating loss in Georgia, he wrote, noting Pelosi told her troops: "We cannot be taking full responsibility for what happened in the election. A lot of it was beyond our control."
Pelosi's rhetoric of late has only reinforced the "San Francisco values" meme, her critics contend.
When President Trump, for example, announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord — a voluntary agreement that promised only to reduce the average global temperature by just 0.05°C by 2100 — Pelosi accused the president of “dishonoring” God and questioned whether his grandchildren will even be able to breathe air.
The Washington Times noted Pelosi, as House speaker, staked her majority on attempting to pass a major piece of legislation to limit U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Analysts say the legislation’s unpopularity was a factor in Democrats losing control of the House in the 2010 election.
Also, the highly influential Drudge Report has spotlighted reports suggesting Pelosi is losing her composure as well as her ability to win elections, with her multiple references to President Trump as "President Bush" and incoherent speech.
She recently had a shining moment on the House floor, however, in the hours after the June 14 shooting of Republican lawmakers.
Pelosi said her prayers were with the badly wounded Republican House whip, Steve Scalise, and the Capitol Police and Hill staffers who also were hit.
"You may not know this, my colleagues, but every time I pray, which is very frequently, and certainly every Sunday, I pray for all of you. All of you, together," Pelosi said.
"In the earlier years I used to pray for your happiness, for the fact that we would work together.”
She vowed to “heed the words of President Kennedy in the closing of his inaugural address, when he said … 'God’s work must truly be our own.'"
But a day later, she returned to the fray, suggesting Fox News is responsible for inflaming tensions and slamming Republicans for “outrageous” comments blaming rhetoric on the left.
'Three dirty words'
The San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2006 the "three dirty words" were in vogue as Democrats threatened to retake the House, elevating Pelosi to the speaker position.
In a fundraising pitch that year, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich asked supporters, "Will everything you've worked so hard to accomplish be lost to the San Francisco values of would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi?"
And then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert asked in a column: "Do we really want Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco values leading the culture war?"
In Georgia, the Augusta Chronicle endorsed a Republican congressional candidate in the 2006 race, warning a Democratic House would mean "Pelosi will be speaker and her far-left San Francisco values — gay marriage, cutting and running from Iraq, coddling terrorists, raising taxes, amnesty for illegals — will become the House agenda."