Friday, April 13, 2018
Is it time for Joe to go?
From Roll Call:
Pelosi has been in power so long that only 58 House Democrats seeking re-election this fall have known another floor leader. In the interim, a long line of lawmakers viewed as potential future speakers have taken themselves out of the running. First, Rahm Emanuel left to be White House chief of staff and then mayor of Chicago. Then, Chris Van Hollen opted for a Maryland Senate seat, Xavier Becerra opted to be California attorney general, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was fatally sidetracked by her national party chairmanship.
Crowley remains the only member mentioned among that group who’s still got a shot.
To take it will require him to win an 11th term, of course, which is proving more work than usual. The district, which covers northwest Queens and a slice of the Bronx, is lopsidedly Democratic, but in June he faces his first contested primary in 14 years against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old political operative and community organizer running an impassioned grass-roots campaign to his left.
“We have basically, on one side, a multimillion-dollar machine candidate that was never elected, who does not live in the district — he lives in Virginia, his children go to public school in Virginia,” she told the Queens Courier. “It’s really kind of the pinnacle of someone who is a little out of touch but very influential.”
Her reference is to the old-school way Crowley cruised into Congress after a dozen years in the state Assembly: His mentor Thomas Manton, who was both the Queens Democratic chairman as well as a congressman, announced his retirement from the House so late in the 1998 campaign that it was effectively up to him as the party boss to pick a replacement nominee. (Crowley has been county chairman himself since Manton died in 2006.)
Now, he portrays his blue-collar sensibilities as just right for leading his party in combating a president “born on the other side of the tracks” — meaning the Long Island Expressway, which separates Crowley’s Elmhurst from Donald Trump’s Jamaica Estates.
Like the president, Crowley said early in the Trump administration, he’s ready to use colorful language to express outrage and frustration and aims to “talk turkey and talk straight” to workers. “Part of my strength is that I come from the same borough,” he added. “Maybe I sound a little bit like him. But my life could not be more divergent.”