Just How Progressive Is Nancy Pelosi?

Creating a histogram in Excel is a huge pain in the ass. And when you’re done, you can’t adjust anything. You take what they give you and that’s that. Either that or else I missed some big button labeled “Modify Chart Here.” But today I needed a histogram, so you get what Excel produced for me.

Anyway, on to the subject at hand. I keep hearing a lot about the newly elected progressives in the House Democratic Caucus refusing to commit to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House—and, you know, I get it. The Democratic leadership is getting pretty long in the tooth: Folks like Clinton, Sanders, Biden, Pelosi, Hoyer and so forth really do need to step aside for a younger generation sometime soon. That’s one of the main reasons I voted for Kevin De León in the California Senate race: sure, he’s Hispanic and he’s more progressive than Dianne Feinstein, but the main thing is that Feinstein will be 91 when she finishes her term, and really, that’s just too old. It’s time.

But that aside, what about Pelosi’s ideology? Maybe this is just because I’m a dinosaur myself, but I sure remember when Pelosi was the very model of a “San Francisco liberal,” a creature feared far and wide among the conservative set. And look at her voting record—which, unfortunately, is best shown on a histogram. Using the DWNOMINATE ranking she scores -0.49, which puts her in the third bucket of liberalness. She’s not most firebrandy liberal in the world, partly due to the demands of her leadership positions, but she’s pretty damn liberal. It’s hard to see how anyone who understands the constraints of effective leadership would consider her “not progressive enough.”

For comparison, the current Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, scores 0.556, which puts him only in the sixth bucket of conservativeness. In other words, Pelosi is a lot more liberal than Ryan is conservative.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate