05 November 2010

The Capitol is A-Twitter As Pelosi Seeks Minority Leadership

After leading House Democrats to a 62+ seat loss in the midterm elections, Washington wags were wondering if soon to be former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 8th) would even remain in Congress.  It is difficult to give up the prestige and the perks of the Speakership office, like the non-stop military jets that can ferry Pelosi and her family between San Francisco and Washington DC.   After all,  Denny Hastert (R-IL 14th) handed over the Speaker’s gavel to Pelosi in January 2007, Hastert did not seek a minority leadership position and resigned mid-term in November 2007.

Pelosi, however, has chosen another path. Just days after the electoral defeat that President Obama called a shelacking, Pelosi sent out a Twitter indicating that she will seek the Minority Leader position. Her current lieutenant, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD 5th) promised not to seek the Minority Leader’s position. So far, only Sophomore Congressman Health Schuler (NC-11th) has announced his intention to lead the House Minority huddle.  But the midterm blowout cut the Blue Dog caucus in half from 54 to 26 seats, so this seems like a stray challenge for the leadership.

There is no doubt that Pelosi can keep her leadership role in the Democrat caucus if she wants it. Pelosi’s “PAC for the Future” has a nice war chest remaining so it could be useful in a quid pro quo for leadership support.

The real question should be whether continuing to have SanFranGranNan as the face of Democrats in the House is a wise idea. The Pew Poll gave the 111th Congress a 37% favorability rating in September, while a separate Washington Post/ABC poll from the same time showed that Pelosi had a 29% approval rating.  Frankly, those numbers seem high.  While the Lamestream Press will not be as antagonistic as they will towards Republican leaders, Pelosi will lose her insularity that she had as Speaker and will continue to be scrutinized.

At a junction when re-districting will make more Democrat districts vulnerable, having an uber-liberal leader will be a lightning-rod going into the 2012 election cycle. The Democrats might not be putting their best face forward.  To that end, there is a new banner hanging over the Republican National Committee which standing in stark contrast to the pre-election "Fire Pelosi"; now the RNC puckishly urges "Hire Pelosi".

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