The Three P’s: Pelosi, Putin and Paranoia

Nancy Pelosi earned the sobriquet “Mama Bear” thanks to her fierce defense of whatever the Democratic Party happens to stand for and her ability to corral elected Democrats into aligning with her positions. She has now become the standard-bearer of her party’s addiction to the paranoid style.
Nancy Pelosi

New York, NY – March 14, 2022: Representative Jamaal Bowman and Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding town hall at Mount Saint Vincent College © lev radin / shutterstock.com

February 07, 2024 04:30 EDT

Although Nancy Pelosi is now just an ordinary Congresswoman after serving for the best part of the past two decades as either Speaker of the House or minority leader, loyal Democrats admire her for her unwavering support of the party and her ability to get things done. Even presumably less loyal members, reputed to be committed to challenging the party establishment, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have referred to her as Mama Bear and have found it convenient on most occasions to drift towards the party discipline enforced by Pelosi.

As she approaches her 84th birthday, Pelosi, like President Biden himself,  represents the senior side of the Democratic party. It has become increasingly apparent that their generation is out of touch with America’s youth, a demographic traditionally counted upon to support Democrats. That sounds like bad news in an election year. Recent polls show the Democratic party’s taste for getting seriously involved in and committed to overseas wars has alienated a good portion of the younger generation from the Democrats. Biden’s resistance to calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict appears to be a major factor in the disaffection of voters in the age range of 18 to 34.

Mama Bear won’t tolerate such flagrant indiscipline. Interviewed last week on CNN’s “State of the Union,” she berated Biden’s critics. “For them to call for a cease-fire is Mr. Putin’s message,” she insisted. “Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine. It’s about Putin’s message. I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia.”

Today’s Weekly Devil’s Dictionary definition:

Putin’s message:

For establishment Democrats, any statement made by an American that varies from the orthodoxy of the party, especially if related to the question of military intervention in various parts of the world.

Contextual note

Some feel that Pelosi’s insistence on seeing Putin as the source of every idea that fails to conform to the party’s orthodoxy resembles a dangerous conspiracy theory. Others may say that it’s nothing more than an innocent reflex inherited from the great Russiagate campaign the Democratic party launched in its embarrassment to explain away Donald Trump’s 2016 election.

“Pelosi Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Pro-Palestinian Protesters” is the title NYT affixed to its article. Investigate, really? She must know that investigations cost taxpayer money. So, if she made such a request, she must have felt she was on solid ground. No responsible politician, especially a former Speaker of the House, would ever consider spending their citizens’ hard-earned money on trivialities, would they?

Pelosi is of course open-minded. We should admire her generosity of spirit when she conceded that “some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere.” She can even imagine lost souls taking such a deluded position without having to consult the Kremlin or allow their brains to be programmed by Putin’s telepathic powers. 

Pelosi is right to focus on money as the obvious explanation. What else could explain such an aberration? Pelosi’s own life story demonstrates how rational people may do the most outlandish things when there is a prospect for making money. In their place, she herself would have taken the Kremlin’s money and placed it in a stock she had reason to think might soon be rising.

There’s another pragmatic reason to dismiss the idea that this is about Putin’s mind control of the protesters. Since the start of the Ukraine war, the US government has banned access to Russia’s privileged channels of propaganda. Two years ago, paid Kremlin agents brazenly presented their programs on RT, which had a license to broadcast in the US. Thanks to the Russian channel, Americans were free to have their minds programmed by propaganda spread by the likes of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, satirical comedian Lee Camp and former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, among others. Pelosi understood that it was Putin who provided these professional entertainers with their scripts. The Biden administration effectively silenced those seditious voices.

With so little access to Putin’s political theology, money alone can explain the obedience of the protesters. It’s now up to the FBI to do what it’s generally good at (except possibly in the case of Hunter and Joe Biden): scrutinize in detail each of the culprits’ bank account.

Who in Washington better than Pelosi understands the role of money in politics? Just as ardently as she defends the Democratic party and its policies does she defend the sacred right of legislators of both parties to engage in “informed investing,” which some abusively refer to as insider trading.

Historical note

American politics in the 2020s has taken on a character of déjà vu. The Democrats have taken more seriously than Trump the Donald’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Most people understood it to evoke a nostalgia for the conformist culture of the 1950s, with its crewcuts, tail fins, thin ties and button-down collars. But thanks to the Democrats, the real culture of the fifties has return with a full-throated revival of the spirit of the Cold War and even its iconic moment, McCarthyism. Pelosi’s wish to have the FBI investigate peace protesters is worthy of the most paranoiac excesses of Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.

The only significant difference between McCarthy’s feverish campaign to root out American communists and Pelosi’s mission of exposing the Kremlin puppets populating the current peace movement is that McCarthy’s crusade was directed at preventing the damage wrought on the US by evil Marxists. Pelosi’s focus isn’t on preserving American institutions, but Israel’s.

Under the Republican Eisenhower administration, McCarthy sought to shield the sacred institutions of American democracy from the universal communist threat. Pelosi’s modern patriotism is focused on protecting the administration of that great democratic leader, Benjamin Netanyahu and furthering Bibi’s noble cause of ridding his Middle Eastern nation of the troublemakers who have no business trying to survive in his holy land.

The Democrats of the 1950s vilified and eventually shamed and neutralized Joe McCarthy. In contrast, Pelosi demonstrates what Richard Hofstadter documented in a famous Harper’s Magazine article from November, 1964 that ran with the title, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” The author developed the thesis that paranoia had always been a feature of style in the framing of political causes throughout US history.

In the year arch-conservative Barry Goldwater stood as the Republican candidate for the presidency, Hofstadter described the paranoid style as a feature of the right and occasional populist movements. No sane commentator identifies Pelosi with either the right or populism. They believe Democrats to be the party of the left. But Hofstadter insists that the paranoid style is neither right nor left. It is built around the belief in the threatening presence of an imaginary enemy. “Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention.”

This appears to correlate with the way Pelosi and others in the supposedly “left-wing” Democratic party think. Russia is clearly the enemy, just as it was in the good ole Cold War days. Its leader is “totally evil and totally unappeasable.” Those who share any so much as random thoughts with the devil are totally evil. Even those diabolical souls who claim to protest genocide.

Hofstadter adds another observation, about history itself. “The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will.” 

Pelosi, but nearly everyone in the Democratic party and the modern security state has focused on Putin’s supernatural will that manifests itself in the most varied contexts: Trump’s 2016 election, the Donbas, Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and most perversely among young Americans hypocritically claiming to be shocked by genocide.

In other words, Hofstadter was spot on when he observed that the paranoid style has been present throughout US history. But 60 years ago, back in 1964, he couldn’t have suspected that one day the paranoia might stretch across the entire mainstream political spectrum, embracing both major parties. Mama Bear has now made that entirely apparent.

*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news. Read more of Fair Observer Devil’s Dictionary.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.


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