During an interview last week with the National Journal, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she doesn’t want to be Speaker again should Democrats win back the House of Representatives.
Pelosi had been commenting on the state of the House Republican Conference and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who won the job in 2011 following a historic mid-term election in which the GOP picked up 63 seats and control of the chamber, when she was pointedly asked if he wanted her old post back.
“No, that’s not my thing. I did that,” said Pelosi.
Pelosi’s office is, of course, disputing the report, telling media outlets that she “fully intends to be a Member of a Democratic Majority in the 114th Congress” and that whether she once again takes the gavel is up to the members of the House Democratic Conference. The National Journal stands by the original transcript of the interview.
The prospect of Pelosi serving as Speaker has been a rallying cry for Democrats. In May, President Obama told donors via email that he “could not be more anxious or eager” to have Democrats in control of the House and Pelosi holding the gavel.
But Pelosi, regardless of whether or not she wants to be Speaker, faces a real deficit of trust with Americans. She remains an unpopular figure in national politics. In fact, earlier this year, a Gallup poll found her to be the least liked and most polarizing of party leaders in Congress.
After all, she’s the person who told the country that Congress had to pass ObamaCare “so that [we] can find out what’s in it.” Unfortunately, Americans are learning what’s was in the law and they’re seeing higher health insurance premiums and changes in their coverage as a result. Moreover, Pelosi’s legacy as Speaker also comes with $5 trillion of added national debt, $3.2 trillion of which was added in the 111th Congress alone.
Republicans will have to present an agenda to the country that shows that they deserve to keep control of the House. But the prospect of Pelosi serving once as Speaker may serve as a bridge too far for voters.