From The Hill (my emphasis and paragraphing):
Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that she will stay on as House Democratic leader in the next Congress. The California Democrat had remained mum about that decision all year, fueling speculation that she might relinquish power and raising questions about the party’s direction after a decade under her reign.
But in a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol Wednesday morning, the 13-term liberal told her troops that she’ll seek to remain minority leader in the 113th Congress, according to a source in the room.
According to a House leadership aide, “Leader Pelosi told a packed Caucus meeting, including the incoming members of the 113th Congress today that, if Steve Israel is willing to take on the DCCC again, than she will happily place her hat in for leader.”
Steve Israel is quite possibly the reason she’s not Speaker. Howie Klein has more on DCCC chief Steve Israel here, and I’ll have more as well.
So yes, on the one hand, we’re spared Blue Dog (ish) Steny Hoyer moving into the leader’s chair. But jeez — Israel? I’ve heard all the arguments from people defending that decision, and it still doesn’t make sense. Not only that, but her choice of Israel genuinely tars her “liberal” cred — not to mention her brand, in that “makes teeth whiter” surface-manipulation sense. Just my humble opinion, of course.
And then there’s that “Oh heck, let’s not raise taxes on anyone below the millionaire-earners’ club” thing she did last year. I’m feeling seriously nervous, and The Hill isn’t calming me down. First they say this:
[Pelosi's] role could be particularly pronounced in the next Congress, as policymakers are expected to seek a grand bargain on deficit reduction that will necessarily focus on tax and entitlement reform[.]
And then I read that BoldProgressives.org (PCCC) is already thanking her (nudging her?) in a decidedly non-Hoyer direction:
“Thank you, thank you, thank you Nancy Pelosi,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee [PCCC], said Wednesday in an email. “The mandate of the election was to tax the rich and protect programs like Medicare and Social Security from benefit cuts. Steny Hoyer would likely not have respected that mandate, but given her track record, we have high hopes for Nancy Pelosi.”
I’d nudge her too, if I were nervous. Which I decidedly am.
Frankly, I don’t have “high hopes.” I’ve seen “progressives” in the House cave and cave, after making bold statement after bold statement.
Nancy Pelosi, it’s your job to prove me wrong — with deeds. More on this in a bit; with the present makeup of the House, it’s easy for powerless House Dems to say the progressive thing, knowing that Obama’s Grand Betrayal (my new framing) will pass anyway. Let’s see how this plays out.
So I’m still a fan of a progressive Open Rebellion Caucus, a group of progressives with big brass ones to pull these unreliable leaders to the left — for a g-d change (say I). One could start now, with this election, if one had the brass I mentioned:
Pelosi still needs to be elected by the members of her caucus to keep her spot, but there are no apparent challengers, and Pelosi’s popularity in the party all but ensures that she’d win the contest if one were to emerge.
A challenge from the left wouldn’t be popular; but hey, what else has worked (say I)? My measurable is wins, not style points. Call me madcap — or deadline driven (that’s a climate link, for you fans of scary).
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