I helped run the ‘Fire Pelosi’ effort. Our toxic politics are going too far

Collectively, we have to lower the temperature. People keep getting hurt. We’re very lucky no one has been killed — and I worry I need to emphasize “yet.”

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Columnists

November 2, 2022 - 1:57 PM

Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has been a longtime target of Republicans. The ‘Fire Pelosi’ campaign began in 2010 and included a bus tour that visited every state in the Lower 48. Last Friday, Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband was assaulted by a man determined to kidnap Ms. Pelosi. PHOTO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

As communications director for the Republican National Committee in the 2010 election cycle, I was part of the “Fire Pelosi” campaign, launched on the day the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare squeaked through thanks to the efforts of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

We set up a fundraising website with a picture of Pelosi engulfed in flames (fire, get it?) to unseat her as speaker with a GOP takeover of the House. After we pulled in $1 million more than our initial goal of $400,000, we launched a Fire Pelosi bus tour that visited each of the Lower 48 states. Our success felt like a political gift.

When I left the RNC, I made sure the Fire Pelosi banner we had hung on the building came with me. (It remained in my possession for several years.) This was shortly after I had to rush to the office one Saturday morning in 2011, after Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot while meeting with voters. On a conference call with colleagues in Capitol Hill Republican leadership and at the party committees, we discussed the need to roundly condemn the shooting and to do what we could to make sure none of our more caustic members said the wrong thing.

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