As the November election inches closer, conservatives are offering a preview of a major strategy with an ad portraying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a 50-foot monster hellbent on destroying small-town America in a taxpayer-money-devouring rage.
The Pelosi-hating campaign isn’t new, of course; the Republican National Committee launched the Fire Pelosi Web site the day of the health-care vote. But the anti-Nancy campaign seems to be picking up steam.
The polls partially explain why. A Gallup/USA Today poll from March found that 36 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the speaker, while 54 percent have an unfavorable opinion. For all the fire that Republicans and the Tea Party lob at President Obama, his approval ratings are significantly higher (48 percent in the latest NEWSWEEK poll).
But Pelosi’s success as speaker also explains the big target on her forehead.
Despite tough opposition, Pelosi succeeded in getting the president’s health-care-reform package through Congress, and more recently, the financial-reform bill. As Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post writes, “her infamy among conservatives is partly the product of her often-imperious manner, a rougher media culture, and a superheated political climate. But it is also a backhanded acknowledgment of how effective she has been.” Gail Collins of the The New York Times, in a piece called the “The Age of Nancy,” said, “The Republicans have turned Pelosi into the Demon Grandmother” even as she “seems utterly indifferent to the endless public pummeling.”
Matt Smith of SF Weekly’s blog offered a harsher critique of the Pelosi-monster ad, saying that while entertaining “the ad smacks of Republican desperation.” And the fact that it calls upon voters to vote against liberal San Francisco in favor of a candidate in Pennsylvania, “channels the idea that the poor local sap has nothing going for him other than antipathy for the sensibilities of a far-off city,” Smith adds.
Desperate or not, the Fire Nancy site raised more than $1.5 million in less than a week. And another new ad, launched by the National Republican Congressional Committee, blasted Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), chair of the House Budget Committee, as “Nancy Pelosi’s Budget Chair.” The Pelosi haters are just getting started.