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.
This is hilarious:
In 1992, a life sized donkey was placed at the front door of the Republican National Committee offices. It was a fitting prank in a year when Democrats took the White House and retained majorities in the House and Senate.
Last night, Republicans got payback.
That same donkey, shown here, was delivered after midnight to the steps of the DNC, covered in logo gear from the GOP’s successful 2010 campaign to take back a majority in the House.
Here is the photo:
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.
Facing a tough race for re-election against Steven Palazzo, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) told a local paper that he voted for John McCain, a Republican, for president in 2008 over Barack Obama, his party’s nominee:
How scared is Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor about his reelection prospects? Over the weekend the 10-term Democratic congressman made a startling admission: He voted for Republican John McCain for president in 2008.
Taylor made the revelation that he didn’t vote for President Barack Obama to the Biloxi Sun Herald just as he’s locked in the most competitive reelection battle of his career against Republican state Rep. Steven Palazzo. Despite the district’s strong GOP tilt – its residents voted 67 percent for McCain in 2008 – Taylor has never won reelection with less than 58 percent of the vote.
Palazzo’s challenge to Taylor flew under the radar for most of the election cycle. But as of late, the state representative has capitalized on the extreme dislike for the Democratic leadership in the conservative coastal district, particularly for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In ads, he’s hammered Taylor for voting for Pelosi as speaker and reminds constituents Taylor has voted with Pelosi 82 percent of the time. In pre-general election campaign spending reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission, Palazzo narrowly outraised Taylor in the first two weeks of October.
With polls showing a close race and attack ads being run against B.J. Lawson, it certainly seems that Rep. David Price (D-NC) is fearing a repeat of 1994, when he was tossed out of Congress during a GOP wave:
At a debate in downtown Durham earlier this month, Lawson’s supporters appeared to outnumber Price’s backers. Police officers turned latecomers away from the already packed venue.
On several occasions when Price attempted to speak, the 11-term incumbent was hissed and heckled by folks wearing Lawson pins and T-shirts. A woman waved a hand-lettered sign declaring that she had been “Priced” out of her job.
Encompassing the deep blue enclaves of Durham and Chapel Hill, the 4th District typically leans Democratic by a healthy margin. But on the district’s more conservative side, in western Wake County, Lawson’s yard signs line the roads.
“I don’t think there’s a Democrat in the country who wouldn’t acknowledge this is a more challenging environment than 2008,” Price said this week. “But it isn’t 1994.”
Price, 71, won’t discuss his internal polling results, but for the first time in more than a decade, the Democrat has launched a TV ad attacking his opponent. The 30-second spot highlights Lawson’s desire to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education and cut federal support for scientific research.
Lawson’s campaign launched a new site yesterday, Nancy’s Price, connecting him to the increasingly unpopular Speaker of the House, who Price consistantly supports.
In addition to Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Jim Marshall (D-GA) and others, a two more Democrats may be abandoning Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
Joining a small but vocal group, Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Mike McMahon of New York have both hedged in recent interviews about whether they would vote for Pelosi again as speaker if Democrats hold on to the House.
McIntyre, who has represented the south tip of the Tar Heel State since 1997, told WWAY in Wilmington, N.C., that he would “look forward” to supporting Pelosi’s opposition - the most space any member of Congress has put between themselves and Pelosi. McIntyre added that Pelosi probably won’t even run for speaker again.
“From what we’re hearing, she’s probably not going to run for speaker again,” McIntyre said, according to WWAY. “And if she does, I’m confident she’s going to have opposition, and I look forward to supporting that opposition. We want to have a more moderate type of alternative for leadership, and I’m confident we’re gonna have that alternative. You know, when she had opposition before, I voted for her opposition, not for her. And we’re expecting her to have opposition this time.”
McMahon, somewhat less forcefully, told the Staten Island Advance’s editorial board that he would decide who to vote for based on what’s right for the district.
“It’s hard to answer a hypothetical question when you don’t know who the candidates are, you don’t know if she’s running again,” McMahon said, according to the newspaper’s website.
In case you’re wondering, Pelosi’s office, which is losing a top aide, did confirm that she is running for Speaker again next year.
Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) joined the steadily growing ranks of centrist Democrats who have either pledged not to support Pelosi as their party’s leader, or have been noncommittal about their support for the San Francisco lawmaker.
“I’d like to see somebody more moderate in that role. I’d like to see a Blue Dog, quite frankly, because I agree with them on most of the issues,” Childers said Wednesday evening during a debate against Republican opponent Alan Nunnelee.
“I’d like to see somebody in the Speaker’s seat who’s pro-life and pro-gun, like me,” Childers added.
Childers’ seat, Mississippi’s First Congressional District, leans Republican, but is listed as a toss-up. He is facing Alan Nunnelee in November.
Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA), my congressman, has doubled-down on his recent ad touting his independence from Pelosi by saying that he wouldn’t vote for her again:
“My candidate’s going to be somebody who’s a centrist, preferably somebody who’s going to be speaker of the entire House” who will work with both parties, Marshall said.
His opponent, Austin Scott, has seized on this, pointing out that for someone who has tried to distance himself from Pelosi on the campaign trail, he has had no problem take her money over the years:
In 1998 mid-term election, Republicans lost five seats in the House of Representatives. The end result of this was Newt Gingrich, who was facing a revolt inside his caucus that would have likely resulted in him being replaced as Speaker, decided not to be sat with the Congress.
Some House Democrats are beginning to find themselves in a tough situation. Even if they don’t lose control of the House, though nearly every analyst is predicting that they will, the losses they face in November will be substantial. If you’re a Democrat, what do you do, force out Speaker Nancy Pelosi or do the same thing over again, expecting a different result? Not suprisingly, Some Democrats up for re-election are already making their thoughts on the subject known.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who has been tied to Pelosi by his Republican opponent, Art Robinson, says she has to go:
Robinson criticizes DeFazio for going along too much with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said DeFazio votes with Pelosi 86 percent of the time.
DeFazio, who says he favors replacing Pelosi as speaker if Democrats retain their majority, finds that laughable. DeFazio said he has voted with Pelosi on labor and social issues, as well as National Grandmother’s Day. But he doesn’t follow her lead just because they’re both Democrats.
Others are also on record, such as Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL), who is running this ad in his district as he fights off a tough challenge from Martha Roby: