29 June 2017 — 1712 mdt
Understand Sam Rayburn to understand why Nancy Pelosi
plans to be the U.S. House’s Democratic leader forever
Sam Rayburn served 21 years as the Democratic leader in the U.S. House, from 1940 until 1961, when he died at 79, his gavel still in his hand. Understanding that is the key to understanding why Nancy Pelosi, now 77 and in her 16th year as the House’s Democratic leader, refuses to consider stepping aside for a younger representative. She intends to beat Rayburn’s record, and probably intends to let the Grim Reaper pry the gavel from her fist.
But as Logicosity and Ed Kilgore observed this week, she’s overstayed her welcome. Her defenders argue that she’s irreplaceable, that her detractors are misogynists, but those are disreputable arguments. Humankind would not have lasted as long as it has were leaders irreplaceable, and opposition to a woman’s remaining in office is not by definition misogyny.
Pelosi has stayed on as Democratic leader far too long for any good that she’s doing. Her deputy leader, Steny Hoyer, is 79, and Jim Clyburn is in his mid-seventies. They enjoy their positions, but they’re selfishly subordinating the good of their party to their personal ambitions. Instead of waiting for death to extinguish their torch, they should pass it to a new generation of leaders.