When I first saw “Jim Cramer” trending on Twitter I thought nothing of it and still thought nothing of it when I saw that it was trending alongside “Crazy Nancy.” In fact, I continued thinking nothing of it until I saw this clip and realized that it wasn’t just a nickname Cramer said on TV, but rather a nickname he said to her face:
Jim Cramer calls Pelosi “Crazy Nancy” TO HER FACE on live television pic.twitter.com/WOndLjtrQP
— Jewish Deplorable 🇺🇸 (@TrumpJew) September 15, 2020
Pelosi’s reaction is a lesson in reading faces. It takes her a second to process what he just said then the jaw draws in before the blink and smile with eyes fixed, shooting daggers. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue or a mixed-up way of presenting Trump’s nickname for her, it was both intentional and an interesting mile marker in this continued breakdown of political civilities. Trump, for what it’s worth, would never call Pelosi “Crazy Nancy” to her face (unprovoked at least) because regardless what happens in the streets there is still an unofficial, yet observed, rule of decorum governing in-person interactions. Pelosi will call Trump a disease in interviews and Trump will question her sanity on the campaign trail but she’ll politely, if hollowly, clap for certain of his remarks at select portions of the State of the Union after they greet one another. It’s an unobserved rule that doesn’t require explanation if you work in politics or PR: You fake niceties towards the people you dislike because the real fight occurs under the table and away from the cameras. It’s also just plain professionalism and a mark of a civilized society to be able to disagree without mud-wrestling. For his part, Cramer insists he was imitating the President and wasn’t actually calling her “Crazy Nancy.”
However, for condemnation’s sake, how is Pelosi a victim of anything but her own creation? Cramer surely isn’t alone in public censure, Pelosi was reducing people to issues to justify Democrats’s dehumanizing rhetoric long before Trump assumed office and language only became an issue when Trump emulated it in response. You can support the adage that “two wrongs don’t make a right) and dislike the state of political rhetoric but let’s not pretend that Pelosi hasn’t steadily laid the groundwork for this breakdown in discourse; she’s given (and probably received) worse.
Why this blip particularly interests me though is that I can’t remember a situation prior where the aforementioned rules of a false political civility were unobserved in person. Playground names are a far cry from actual brawls in the House and Senate chambers (and this isn’t between lawmakers, but a television host and a representative), but if history is your guide, escalation is undesirable and the satisfaction temporary.