Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pelosi Should Step Aside

As someone who generally leans towards the Republican side of the fence, I'm not that displeased that Speaker Pelosi is seeking to remain the leader of the Democrats in the House.  Whether you think she was effective or abominable, she is a polarizing figure that the Republicans used to great effect.  I think that Democrats like Representative Heath Shuler are correct in that it will make it more difficult for Democrats to recruit "blue dog" Democrats.

Truth be told, I don't think that it was all the Speaker's fault that the Democrats lost sixty plus seats.  Nor do I think that voters were entirely enchanted with the Republicans.  While some voters may have been motivated to switch because of specific issues like health care reform, I'm guessing that the economy was the issue that carried the day.  Since things were still tough, I guess the change in 2008 carried over to 2010.  Unfortunately for the Democrats, they were the ones changed.

The problem I see with having Speaker Pelosi as minority leader revolves around what she brings to the table.  The people who are pleased with her as the face of the Democrats in Congress are probably going to vote for the Democrats no matter who leads them.  A more moderate face might accomplish a few things.  First, it might attract more conservative Democrats to the party, which would be a great help in the very seats they lost during this cycle.  Secondly, it would be a bit of a mea culpa.  "Voters, we heard you loud and clear.  We got the message and we are going to make changes."

The ironic thing is that the Democrat caucus will now be more liberal than it was previously, helping the Speaker to retain leadership.  A lot of the seats they lost were moderate and conservative members.  House Members in more safe liberal districts survived and remain to support Speaker Pelosi.

The matter could be decided in the next week or so, or it could be pushed back until December.

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