Nancy Pelosi's Defense of John Conyers: A Classic Case of Hyper-Partisanship

Hyper-partisanship has been on display by the left for years. The left defended Ted Kennedy, who got drunk, ran off a bridge with Mary Jo Kopechne in the passenger seat, and delayed calling police so they would not see how drunk he was. The left defended Bill Clinton, who not only abused his power with an intern and allegedly raped a woman, but lied about it under oath and used the power of his office to smear truthful women. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Carl Arbogast wrote earlier today about Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to condemn John Conyers on Meet the Press earlier today, but it’s worth a few more words to discuss her hyper-partisanship. If Pelosi were going to apply consistent standards, she would of course be calling for Conyers to resign. But instead, she relied on the classic defenses of the hyperpartisan. Watch as the spin proceeds:

CHUCK TODD: You said there’s now a zero tolerance. John Conyers. What does that mean for him? Right now. In or out?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women — Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.

CHUCK TODD: Why don’t you?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I believe that he — Excuse me. May I finish my sentence?

CHUCK TODD: Sure, sure.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: That he will do the right thing.

CHUCK TODD: And is the right thing what? Resign?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: He will do the right thing in terms of what he knows about his situation. That he’s entitled to due process. But women are entitled to due process as well.

CHUCK TODD: But he took advantage of a situation where he had a – the rules of Congress and I know you guys want to change these rules, but he got to hide his settlement, he got to — his accusers had to go through all sorts of craziness, so why is he entitled to new due process in this case?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: No, I I – we are talking about what we have heard. I’ve asked the Ethics Committee to review that. He has said he’d be open – he will cooperate with any review.

CHUCK TODD: Do you believe the accusers?


CHUCK TODD: Do you believe John Conyers’ accusers?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I don’t know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward. And that gets to —

CHUCK TODD: So you don’t know if you believe the accusations?


Well, that’s for the Ethics Committee to review. But I believe he understands what is at stake here and he will do the right thing.

Note how she starts with the classic position of the hyper-partisan: “John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.” In other words, let’s talk about his politics. His politics are more important than what he has been accused of. If you hurt him, you hurt the policies that he stands for.

She looks like a fool and a cretin and a hypocrite saying that, of course. This position is always repellent to the non-partisan observer. It alienates swing voters and makes queasy the stomach of every person who is not a hyper-partisan. But that’s not her audience. Her audience is the hyper-partisans. Because she’s one herself, and she knows how to talk to them.

Then she moves on from that to raising quibbles about the accusations, engaging in sanctimony about due process, and suggesting that everyone will act properly if a process determines that the allegations are really true. Of course, only leftist hyper-partisans can say such things about Conyers with a straight face. Everyone else knows that the process itself will be a hyper-partisan joke, with all Democrats having mentally acquitted Conyers (and all Republicans having mentally convicted Conyers) before it starts.

There’s a reason she starts with the politics of it and only belatedly gets around to the rest. The politics is all that matters. Here’s Allahpundit:

As a Twitter pal notes, this is smoking-gun proof that the recent left-wing navel-gazing over whether Bill Clinton should have resigned 20 years ago is cynical nonsense. Faced with credible allegations against a much less powerful Democrat than Clinton in Conyers, one who’s waaaaaay past the age at which he should have retired and who’s been accused of having lost some of his mental capacity, the leader of the caucus whiffs on demanding that he step down. And worse than that, she cites his “icon” status as a point in his favor. Clinton, Conyers, and basically every male member of the Kennedy family, living or dead, would smile at that. It may be the single creepiest thing she’s ever said in public life.

Indeed. It’s a classic and repulsive example of hyper-partisanship. But what makes it disgusting? Is it her hypocrisy? Is it the laughably transparent phoniness of her arguments? The way her super-wide-open eyes stare while the dumb words come out of her mouth?

Or is it merely her politics that makes this a loathsome display?

In other words: would this appearance be something the right would defend, if Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers had a letter “R” after their names, and voted the way the right likes?

Surely not — right? After all, the single most embarrassing thing about her appearance is the way that she tries to make the offenses of her own side seem “different” than those of people on the right. And every attempt she makes to distinguish the two is openly lame and laughably unconvincing.

And when people try to say “but it’s different when I do it” — yet their reasons are transparently unconvincing to anyone who is not as partisan as they are — they come off looking like idiots, just like Pelosi does here. And that’s embarrassing for them and everyone who supports them.


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