You’ll never guess who’s behind the #fivewhiteguys/#nolabelsUnity20 putsch:
A small group of billionaire-backed Democrats, part of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress, has launched a last-ditch effort that threatens to derail Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s election as House speaker.
They’ve framed their challenge to Pelosi, a California Democrat, in terms of good government and high-minded bipartisanship. Yet the force behind their campaign is one of the most toxic and notorious partisan warriors the Democratic Party has produced in the past three decades: political and corporate consultant Mark Penn.
The Problem Solvers Caucus is made up of 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans; nine of the Democrats have publicly committed to opposing Pelosi on the House floor if she doesn’t meet their demands for House rules changes largely aimed at legislatively empowering Republicans. Combined with the holdouts from the last putsch effort, there would be enough votes to thwart Pelosi.
The Democratic chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus is Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, who has been a protege of Penn’s since the 1990s, when he was just out of college. Gottheimer is one of the nine members making demands of Pelosi. She and the caucus will meet Tuesday afternoon to go over the group’s demands.
The caucus was born out of meetings of congresspeople organized by No Labels, which was founded in 2010 as a bipartisan group, backed by wealthy donors, ostensibly dedicated to civility and good government. Nancy Jacobson, Penn’s wife, is the No Labels CEO, and Penn is also closely involved with the group. Gottheimer was elected to Congress in 2016 and co-founded the caucus, with Rep. Tom Reed, D-N.Y., shortly thereafter.
The failure of this 90s nostalgia act was even more overdetermined than I thought!