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Pelosi's gamble: She's running for Minority Leader, ratcheting up tensions with moderates

By Greg Sargent

Nancy Pelosi Tweets that she's running:

Driven by the urgency of creating jobs & protecting #hcr, #wsr, Social Security & Medicare, I am running for Dem Leader.

With moderate Dems howling in terror of a Pelosi candidacy, this will embolden the progressive wing, which is already sensing growing power in the wake of the disastrous losses among Blue Dog Dems, to pressure Obama against being overly conciliatory with the House GOP majority. It will crank up the heat even further on the tensions between moderate and liberal Dems as the debate smoulders over the future direction of the party.

Pelosi is refusing to exit the stage of history quietly. Very interesting move indeed.

UPDATE, 1:22 p.m.: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee hails the move, suggesting her candidacy could be salutary for the party by galvanizing a dispirited base:

"Speaker Pelosi's decision to run for leader is the first bold move we've seen from Democrats since the election, America is better off as a result, and we hope there's more bold Democratic leadership to come. Democrats lost on Tuesday because of Blue Dogs and others who urged Democrats to not fight for popular progressive change -- and the way to re-inspire former Obama voters is to have progressives like Nancy Pelosi boldly fighting the fight."


By Greg Sargent  | November 5, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, House Dems, House GOPers  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama should "pull a Clinton," but what does that mean?
Next: Pelosi's letter announcing candidacy: GOP isn't rolling back squat!

Comments

Pelosi's favorability number is 8%

Why on earth would the Dem party want her as their face?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

sbj3:
Why would we want the corrupt Blue Dogs as the face of the party?

Posted by: Calvin_Jones_and_the_13th_Apostle | November 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

As much as Pelosi is despised by the majority of Americans, she will only help the republicans in 2012.

Posted by: elby | November 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@Calvin: If you aren't willing to accept the fact that the majority of independents are center-right, then I guess having Pelosi as leader makes sense...

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg:
Would I be corrupt in saying that she is pretty assured of being Minority Leader? Because she wouldn't do this if she didn't have the votes?

Posted by: Calvin_Jones_and_the_13th_Apostle | November 5, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

sbj3:
Where is your proof? Just because old, white rich people voted this election? We both know lots less people vote in mid-terms. So that doesn't give much clarity to the big picture.

Posted by: Calvin_Jones_and_the_13th_Apostle | November 5, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Pelosi is despised by most Americans. She did a good job leading her people. I believe that Fox News has led the dumb media to act like she is despised.

Most Americans wanted Health Care Reform.
Most Americans wanted Wall Street Regulation.
Most Americans wanted a stimulus package.

But those that don't won't ever admit that. They will die saying it isn't true.

Good for Pelosi. She is someone I can look up to.

Posted by: kindness1 | November 5, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@Calvin: As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating - and the Dems just *ate* the 2010 midterms.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama -

The Presidency is no place for on-th-job training. And I think that if Obama thinks he deserves any breathing room on account of that, the American People say in response: you should have stayed in the Senate for 15 more years and gotten some more experience before you ran.


_________________________

Comment on "pulling a clinton"

First, Greg you really need to refer to this differently ...........

Second - there is a major component here which you are not considering. With Obama, the ignoring of the Economic Crisis has "made it personal."

Also, Clinton ran in 92 towards the center, and although Obama talked up a centrist platform in 08, Clinton was regarded as a centrist, so a move to the center was believable for him. With Obama, a move to the center will be seen as an attempt at deception, and something he is being "forced" to do.


.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Whoever takes up the post will immediately be targeted by the Republicans for character assassination. As soon as Pelosi took the position the GOP started demonizing her; the same fate awaits whomever takes the minority leadership role.

Therefore it would make sense for Pelosi to hold the position for another year or year and a half, then hand the reigns over to someone else. By doing so she will deny the GOP the required time it takes to turn someone from, say, a lovable grandma into a fire breathing Gila monster with radioactive breath and freakin' laser-beam shooting eyeballs.

Posted by: nisleib | November 5, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@calvin:

"This shift is part of a broader trend: Over the past two decades, moderates have trended down as share of the total electorate while conservatives have gone up. In 1992, moderates were 43 percent of the total; in 2006, 38 percent; today, only 35 percent. For conservatives, the comparable numbers are 36 percent, 37 percent, and 42 percent, respectively. So the 2010 electorate does not represent a disproportional mobilization of conservatives: If the 2010 electorate had perfectly reflected the voting-age population, it would actually have been a bit more conservative and less moderate than was the population that showed up at the polls. Unless the long-term decline of moderates and rise of conservatives is reversed during the next two years, the ideological balance of the electorate in 2012 could look a lot like it did this year."

http://www.tnr.com/blog/william-galston/78918/its-the-ideology-stupid-midterm-elections

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

SBJ - The problem with pieces like the one you linked to is that they rely on getting people to identify themselves as "liberal" or "conservative."

Over the last 40 years the GOP has engaged in an effort to turn the word "liberal" into an insult. A lot of people who hold liberal beliefs don't identify themselves as liberals because of that.

Posted by: nisleib | November 5, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Will it really matter much who is Minority Leader? seems as though Dems can't be effective as a minority or a majority. Pelosi was an easy target for the rabid right but who ever gets the Minority Leader job will be crucified.

For a laugh:
http://www.zimbio.com/The+Brooding+Cynyx/articles/682/SPEAKER+PELOSI+GET+FACE+TRANSPLANT

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

1. Boner's popularity is lower than Pelosi's.

2. Progressive principles are significantly more popular than blue dog's.

3. Pelosi has strength and courage, something blue dogs (and democratic senators for that matter) are sorely lacking.

4. Pelosi was the most effective speaker in the history of the house.

5. Publicans will demonize any Dem, leader or otherwise. It is naive to say that Dems need a new face that has better approval ratings, since whomever leads the house Dems will be destroyed by Crossroads and the Chamber of Commerce.

6. Dems lost on Tuesday due to their base not showing up (30+ million of us). Putting Republican lite in house leadership will cause the base to stay home in 2 years.

Posted by: AjaxtheGreater | November 5, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Will it really matter much who is Minority Leader? Seems as though Dems can't be effective as a minority or a majority. Pelosi was an easy target for the rabid right but who ever gets the Minority Leader job will be crucified anyway. Dems really need to toughen up in a big way real quick or McConnell and Orange Boerner will make our President a one term wonder.

For a laugh:
http://www.zimbio.com/The+Brooding+Cynyx/articles/682/SPEAKER+PELOSI+GET+FACE+TRANSPLANT

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Will it really matter much who is Minority Leader? Seems as though Dems can't be effective as a minority or a majority. Pelosi was an easy target for the rabid right but who ever gets the Minority Leader job will be crucified anyway. Dems really need to toughen up in a big way real quick or McConnell and Orange Boerner will make our President a one term wonder.

For a laugh:
http://www.zimbio.com/The+Brooding+Cynyx/articles/682/SPEAKER+PELOSI+GET+FACE+TRANSPLANT

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@nislieb: "A lot of people who hold liberal beliefs don't identify themselves as liberals because of that."

There's some truth to that. But speaking as a gay conservative who lives in California, there are a heckuva lot of conservatives who are unwilling to identify as such, as well.

The analysis makes sense to me but I guess we shall see if pursuing an even more liberal agenda proves to be a wise move for the Dems... IMO, much of the liberal agenda has actually successfully been implemented over the last 20 years. What's left is actually fairly radical and I think that's why folks are rejecting Democrats.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

How much will it matter who is Minority Leader as long as the Dems, from the White House thru Congress cannot match wits or tactics with the rabid right? Obama was a fool to think that GOP'ers like Grassley and his crowd would EVER negotiate IN GOOD FAITH on health care reform or anything else. Dems really need to toughen up in a real way, very, very quickly. As of yesterday the 2012 presidential campaign has begun for the GOP and it could be a disastrous 2 years.

For a laugh:

http://www.zimbio.com/The+Brooding+Cynyx/articles/682/SPEAKER+PELOSI+GET+FACE+TRANSPLANT

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

How much will it matter who is Minority Leader as long as the Dems, from the White House thru Congress cannot match wits or tactics with the rabid right? Obama was a fool to think that GOP'ers like Grassley and his crowd would EVER negotiate IN GOOD FAITH on health care reform or anything else. Dems really need to toughen up in a real way, very, very quickly. As of yesterday the 2012 presidential campaign has begun for the GOP and it could be a disastrous 2 years.

For a laugh:

http://www.zimbio.com/The+Brooding+Cynyx/articles/682/SPEAKER+PELOSI+GET+FACE+TRANSPLANT

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

How much will it matter who is Minority Leader as long as the Dems, from the White House thru Congress cannot match wits or tactics with the rabid right? Obama was a fool to think that GOP'ers like Grassley and his crowd would EVER negotiate IN GOOD FAITH on health care reform or anything else. Dems really need to toughen up in a real way, very, very quickly. As of yesterday the 2012 presidential campaign has begun for the GOP and it could be a disastrous 2 years.

For a laugh:

http://www.zimbio.com/The+Brooding+Cynyx/articles/682/SPEAKER+PELOSI+GET+FACE+TRANSPLANT

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

If the Bush recession had never occurred, and Bush hadn't let Wall Street destroy the American economy, and unemployment was still at 6%, Dems would have picked up seats in the senate, kept most governor's mansions and lost minimal house seats.

The legislative agenda passed by Pelosi's house is only not overwhelmingly popular because old white people are terrified, and when old white people are terrified they vote Republican.

Posted by: AjaxtheGreater | November 5, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

My apologies>>>Did not intend to post same post multiple times.>>>Site error.

Very Sorry.

Posted by: broodingcynyc | November 5, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Blogosphere

The other element which is present now and not in 94 is the blogosphere - people on both sides are involved in politics and discussion their opinion - and involved like never before.

This is the NEW RANK AND FILE.


Anyway - this is a completely different dynamic. No one reads Time Magazine anymore - instead of politics once a week in Time - people are going to blogs for 5 postings a day. Cable News is hammering stuff out every night.


Also, Glen Beck has put a set of ideas out there that many may find extremist - however the liberals would be well advised to listen to Glen Beck's objections - and at least understand the thinking that is going on on the right about Obama.


The Beck people do not trust Obama- they believe his deceptions from the platform of 2008 are only the beginning - they believe the left is seeking to gain power to make major economic and social changes in this country - which few people want.

Posted by: PolarBearMadness | November 5, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@ajax: "Dems lost on Tuesday due to their base not showing up (30+ million of us)."

In reality-land, turnout was greater in 2010 than 2006 and while the composition was not identical it was pretty darn close.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

sbj3-

A little thing called the economy + historical gains by minority party in midterms should be factored in there somewhere.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 5, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@chuck: If you factor in the "structural" advantages that the GOP had, it still does not explain the epic thrashing. It accounts for perhaps 30 to 40 seats in the House, not 60. If you look at the GOP gains in state legislatures it becomes quite clear that this election was an anti-Democrat election.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@chuck:

http://douglas-hibbs.com/house2010election22september2010.pdf

"So let’s lay that marker down: If the Democrats hold their House losses to 35-40 seats at this point, they’ll deserve credit for weathering the economic storm, and I’ll concede — to Chait, Drum, anyone — that this election shouldn’t be interpreted as a referendum on liberal governance. But if they lose 55-60 seats, I expect liberals to concede that somewhere along the road from the inauguration to this November’s vote, the Obama Democrats might have made a few mistakes."

http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/modeling-the-midterms/

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

sbj-

Thanks for proving my point, in a way. The GOP had the "structural" advantage of the shifts in midterms + a bad economy. The seat lost make sense given those factors.

I will always wonder where the GOP was on HCR when they had Congress and POTUS...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 5, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@chuck: "The GOP had the "structural" advantage of the shifts in midterms + a bad economy. The seat lost make sense given those factors."

Now you're just being obstinate.

A seat loss of - at max - 45 seats could be blamed on structural advantages, as the paper points out. However, the Dems actually lost quite a bit more. Thus it was a rejection of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@chuck: "The GOP had the "structural" advantage of the shifts in midterms + a bad economy. The seat lost make sense given those factors."

Now you're just being obstinate.

A seat loss of - at max - 45 seats could be blamed on structural advantages, as the paper points out. However, the Dems actually lost quite a bit more. Thus it was a rejection of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@chuck: "The GOP had the "structural" advantage of the shifts in midterms + a bad economy. The seat lost make sense given those factors."

Now you're just being obstinate.

A seat loss of - at max - 45 seats could be blamed on structural advantages, as the paper points out. However, the Dems actually lost quite a bit more. Thus it was a rejection of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 5, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget that the economy is bad - and likely to continue to be bad - because Comrade Obama thinks that when you have 10% unemployment, the answer is to make it having employees more expensive. And to raise taxes on investments.

Even if he were capable of "pulling a Clinton", it is too late. Bill Clinton worked a long time to make the Democrats not seem like shrieking lefties who wanted to steal your money and tell you how to live. Comrade Obama has undone that work in much less time (with the help of his BFFs in Congress, of course). So even if he weren't ideologically wedded to his statist policies, there is no hope that Obama changing his statist stripes can save the Dems. He should have kept acting like a moderate until his second term.

Posted by: RecriminyCricket | November 5, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget that the economy is bad - and likely to continue to be bad - because Comrade Obama thinks that when you have 10% unemployment, the answer is to make it having employees more expensive. And to raise taxes on investments.

Even if he were capable of "pulling a Clinton", it is too late. Bill Clinton worked a long time to make the Democrats not seem like shrieking lefties who wanted to steal your money and tell you how to live. Comrade Obama has undone that work in much less time (with the help of his BFFs in Congress, of course). So even if he weren't ideologically wedded to his statist policies, there is no hope that Obama changing his statist stripes can save the Dems. He should have kept acting like a moderate until his second term.

Posted by: RecriminyCricket | November 5, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget that the economy is bad - and likely to continue to be bad - because Comrade Obama thinks that when you have 10% unemployment, the answer is to make it having employees more expensive. And to raise taxes on investments.

Even if he were capable of "pulling a Clinton", it is too late. Bill Clinton worked a long time to make the Democrats not seem like shrieking lefties who wanted to steal your money and tell you how to live. Comrade Obama has undone that work in much less time (with the help of his BFFs in Congress, of course). So even if he weren't ideologically wedded to his statist policies, there is no hope that Obama changing his statist stripes can save the Dems. He should have kept acting like a moderate until his second term.

Posted by: RecriminyCricket | November 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Pruneface and Harry the Elder presaged Tuesday's slaughter back in February when they said NOTHING was going to be done for the unemployed (esp. 99ers) until after the mid-Terms.

You made your bed, Wrinkles, now sh*t in it and have ol' Harry fetch you some clean, starched bedclothing.

The unemployed had zero choices on Tuesday. If every state had NV's option of "None of the above" in the booth, you would have seen "nobody" score upwards of 15-20 MILLION unvotes. Families and friends of the unemployed (esp. 99ers) are deeply affected by the lack of jobs and Democratic indifference. God only knows that there are no Repubs without a job or in dire financial straits.

So, "we" stayed in our large boxes or unwanted clothing bins and didn't vote. But the two majority 'leaders' couldn't even muster the gumption to SAY the word unemployment while in session all of 6 months this campaign year.

The only blessing, albeit a minor one, is the Blue Doggies got their lunch stolen and have to go home. They all took the GOP anti-unemployment stance and got the hook.

Posted by: kickoradell | November 6, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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