Blue Dog Democrats
“Last night was devastating, no question.” - MoveOn.org
The dust is still settling on last night’s returns. We’re going to hear a lot of analysis over the mid-terms and what it means for both the new majority for House Republicans, Democrats that survived in both chambers and President Barack Obama.
As it currently stands, Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. They also picked up at least nine governerships and 19 state legislatures. The states where the GOP made significant gains make up a chunk of the electoral college.
Keith Olbermann and others can deny it all they want, it was a historic night. Newt Gingrich, who was behind the Republican Revolution in 1994, is calling last night “a more decisive repudiation” than what President Bill Clinton faced. The Republican Party will enter the 112th Congress with their largest majority since 1928, during the Hoover Administration, and the largest pick-up for either party since 1948.
Just months after a tough loss in her bid for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Mia Love announced this weekend that she would seek a re-match against Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) in 2014:
Saturday, Mia Love announced her second candidacy for the 4th Congressional District.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love told the Utah Republican Organizing Convention Saturday she would be running for the 4th District seat in Congress in 2014.
“We have some unfinished business with Jim Matheson,” she said.
In her announcement Saturday, she said the election showed her what to do next time to be successful.
“I am confident in our country. I am confident in our future. And I have great confidence in the people of Utah and America,” Love said
Love became somewhat of a conservative rock-star in 2012. She gave a great speech at the Republican National Convention last August, during which she talked her upbringing and early sense of personal responsibility and slammed the economic policies pushing by President Barack Obama. Love was articulate in her fiscal conservative views and would have been a great addition to the House.
While Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made it clear that she will run stand for re-election as House Minority Leader, she doesn’t have the support of every Democrat in the chamber. Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), a so-called “Blue Dog Democrat” who barely survived last week in a tough race against Mia Love, has stated that he will oppose Pelosi if someone steps up to run against her:
Matheson, D-Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday that he would oppose Pelosi’s bid to lead the Democratic Caucus, as he did in 2010, though he doesn’t know if anyone will step up to challenge the powerful leader and he expects that she will keep her post.
“I think it is time to shake things up within the Democratic Caucus. I think we should look for some new leadership,” Matheson said. “I won’t be voting for Nancy Pelosi.”
He argues Pelosi has contributed to the polarization in Washington that has squeezed out moderates in each party and made it more difficult for Congress to take action on pressing issues.
“If we had new leadership, that helps create a new opportunity for working in a constructive way,” Matheson said.
According to new polling from the Salt Lake Tribune, Mia Love is on her way to becoming the first black Republican woman in Congress. The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon, shows Love leading Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) by a 12-point margin:
Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love 52 percent to 40 percent in a new poll conducted for The Salt Lake Tribune, a large margin in a race where, even a few days ago, both campaigns were predicting a tight finish.
The Tribune poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, found that the coalition of Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans and women that Matheson has united in past elections is failing to coalesce this time around, with just 9 percent of Republicans crossing over to support him.
Matheson’s poll showed him getting 19 percent of GOP support.
Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon, said that Matheson may be falling victim to the popularity of Mitt Romney.
“Romney is winning [Utah] by such a big margin and Republican voters are coming out because of Romney,” Coker said. “It’s just not a good year to be a Democrat in Utah.”
Love — with the backing of national groups and fundraising help from prominent national Republicans — has also been able to keep pace with Matheson’s spending and has become a popular figure among national Republicans, Coker said.
Late yesterday afternoon and on the same day as a new poll by ABC News and the Washington Post was released showing that slight majority of Americans support repeal of ObamaCare, the House of Representatives followed through on a campaign pledge by repealing the health care “reform” law enacted last March, by a vote of 245 to 189 - with only three Democrats, Dan Boren, Mike Ross and Mike McIntyre, supporting repeal:
Democrats are deriding last night’s House vote to repeal ObamaCare as “symbolic,” and it was, but that is not the same as meaningless. The stunning political reality is that a new entitlement that was supposed to be a landmark of liberal governance has been repudiated by a majority of one chamber of Congress only 10 months after it passed. This sort of thing never happens.
With the 112th Congress set to convene in just a few days and tax hikes on pharmaceutical companies and new restrictions on health savings accounts (HSAs) as a result of the law passed last March took effect at the beginning of the new year, Republicans are promising a legislative assault on ObamaCare before the President Barack Obama gives the State of the Union at the end of the month:
“We have 242 Republicans,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” He added, “There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us. You will remember when that vote passed in the House last March, it only passed by seven votes.”
Upton, whose committee will play a key role in the GOP’s effort to roll back the law, said that he believes the House may be near the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto.
“If we pass this bill with a sizeable vote, and I think that we will, it will put enormous pressure on the Senate to do perhaps the same thing,” he said. “But then, after that, we’re going to go after this bill piece by piece.”
Upton specifically called out the requirement for businesses to complete 1099 tax forms, the individual mandate and the amendment on abortion introduced by Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. “We will look at these individual pieces to see if we can’t have the thing crumble,” he said.
In case you haven’t already heard, House Democrats decided to pay no attention to the results of the election that took place two weeks prior and elected outgoining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - the most unpopular politician in America - to serve as Minority Leader in the 112th Congress, defeating Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC):
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, was re-elected on Wednesday to lead the Democrats in the next Congress, despite her party’s loss of more than 60 seats and its majority control of the House in the midterm elections.
Officials said that Ms. Pelosi defeated Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina in an internal party vote, 150 to 43. Mr. Shuler acknowledged before the vote that he had no chance of winning, but he wanted to give disgruntled Democrats a chance to register their opposition to Ms. Pelosi’s leadership anyway.
Earlier on Wednesday, the House Democrats defeated a motion to delay the leadership election by a vote of 129 to 68. The 68 votes for delay showed the fractures in the caucus over Ms. Pelosi’s continuing as the party’s leader. Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon, one of those pushing for a delay, said he believed the vote sent a substantial message.
Pelosi is still fighting as a handful of members are trying to essentially save the caucus from the soon to be ex-Speaker. Writing at The New Republic, William Galston, a veteran of Democratic politics, wrote that House Democrats “should have dumped Pelosi”:
Despite the fact that House Democrats are coming off huge losses, they seem likely to make Nancy Pelosi their leader in the 112th Congress. The editoral board of The New York Times thinks this is a bad idea:
Ms. Pelosi announced on Friday that she would seek the post of House minority leader. That job is not a good match for her abilities in maneuvering legislation and trading votes, since Democrats will no longer be passing bills in the House. What they need is what Ms. Pelosi has been unable to provide: a clear and convincing voice to help Americans understand that Democratic policies are not bankrupting the country, advancing socialism or destroying freedom.
If Ms. Pelosi had been a more persuasive communicator, she could have batted away the ludicrous caricature of her painted by Republicans across the country as some kind of fur-hatted commissar jamming her diktats down the public’s throat. Both Ms. Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, are inside players who seem to visibly shrink on camera when defending their policies, rarely connecting with the skeptical independent voters who raged so loudly on Tuesday.
With President Obama proving to be a surprisingly diffident salesman of his own work, Congressional Democrats need a new champion to stand against a tightly disciplined Republican insurgency.
We speculated on Nancy Pelosi’s future earlier this week, wondering whether she would stay in the House or retire. Today, she announced her bid for House Minority Leader in the next Congress, a position she held from 2003 to 2007:
Nancy Pelosi, the nation’s first female House speaker, said Friday she will try to keep her spot as leader of the House Democrats despite huge election losses that cost her party the majority.
Pelosi, a California liberal, rejected pressure from moderate House Democrats — and even some liberal allies — who said the widespread defeats cried out for new party leadership.
Pelosi, 70, will seek her colleagues’ support to become House minority leader when the new Congress convenes in January. That would keep her atop the Democratic House caucus, which will number about 190 people next year. But it would mark a big drop from being speaker, which carries tremendous power to influence legislation and is second only to the vice president in the line of presidential succession.
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) has publicly stated that Pelosi should step down, and that he would challenge her if she decided to run for this post. However, the Democratic caucus is much more to the left than Shuler, as over half of Blue Dog Democrats went down on Tuesday evening. And Pelosi isn’t the type of politician that wouldn’t announce a run for this if she didn’t already have the votes.
If Republicans take control of the House of Representatives tomorrow night, Nancy Pelosi, who will be relieved of her post as Speaker in the new Congress, may decide to retire rather than be Minority Leader or a backbencher:
Democrats on Capitol Hill and K Street are increasingly convinced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have little interest in being Minority Leader — and may start preparing to leave Congress altogether — if Republicans win the House next week.
Pelosi and her allies adamantly refuse to entertain questions about a possible Democratic minority. But Democratic sources say they have a hard time imagining the 70-year-old, independently wealthy California Democrat would want to return to the less-powerful post that she held for four years before becoming Speaker in 2007, particularly after having spent the past four years driving the Congressional agenda.
“It’s pretty clear that what she does is just leave,” said a former House leadership aide who now works downtown. The Democrat had no direct knowledge of Pelosi’s plans but predicted she would probably resign from Congress in fairly short order. “Once you’ve been Speaker of the House, why would she just want to be a Member of Congress?”
Pelosi’s predecessor, former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), opted not to run for Minority Leader when Republicans lost the House in 2006; he resigned from Congress slightly more than a year later, on Nov. 26, 2007, after fading into obscurity.
But Pelosi’s backers think that while Republicans could get by without Hastert at the helm, Democrats would have a harder time functioning without Pelosi: They point to her hands-on leadership style and her near-unmatched fundraising ability.