Pelosi Still the Face (UGH) of House Democrats ?

Posted on November 5, 2010


“You just don’t throw someone like that out,” ……

Tom Petty sang that “the waiting” was “the hardest part.”

House Democrats know that refrain all to well these days. Especially if they’re waiting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to decide about her future.

And all indications suggest Pelosi hasn’t made up her mind yet. But she could be positioning herself to remain as the top Democrat in the House.

After the Democrats’ colossal defeat Tuesday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is poised to become the 61st Speaker of the House in January.

But where does that leave Pelosi? She won re-election to her seat in San Francisco. So she could remain in Congress as just a rank-and-file lawmaker. But does Pelosi want to stick around as the House’s top Democrat? And does she have the support to do that?

Numerous Congressional sources signal to FOX that the fact that Pelosi hasn’t bowed out yet indicates she might not be done.

“She’s taking the temperature of the (Democratic) caucus,” said one senior House Democratic aide who asked not to be identified.

And there’s a difference between taking the temperature. And whipping the vote for your own leadership race.

Few who have trod the halls of Congress are as shrewd at counting votes as Nancy Pelosi. And while Pelosi may be seeking counsel on what to do next – or even figuring out in her own mind what’s next for her – the conversations help the speaker gauge whether she would have the votes to remain as the top Democrat in the new Congress.

Dozens of moderate House Democrats lost Tuesday. So the makeup of the House Democratic Caucus will be considerably more liberal than in the past. That phenomenon strengthens Pelosi’s power base. Plus, Pelosi is a prodigious fundraiser who has lots of chits out among her members.

“You just don’t throw someone like that out,” said a Democratic Congressional source.

But not everyone agrees.

“With that big of a defeat, I think you shake up your leadership,” said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), leader of the most-conservative bloc of Democrats in the House known as the Blue Dogs. “I think that’s what happens in the private sector when companies have performances that don’t work well. It happens in the sporting world when teams don’t do well. I think that applies to the caucus – the Democratic caucus as well.”

Some Congressional sources speculate that Pelosi would be admitting defeat if she were to leave now, amid what even President Obama described as a “shellacking.”

“If she goes, it’s as though she’s accepting all the blame for what went wrong,” said one Capitol Hill source. “She can’t exit that way
MORE…… by Chad Pergram