So I was reading the editorial page of the San Francisco Chronicle as it laid the case for why it is good for Nancy Pelosi to pursue the leadership of her party in the minority. The money quote was this:
Pelosi is widely recognized as one of the most effective speakers of the House in modern history. There is no one on Capitol Hill who can match her prowess as a fundraiser or as a party leader. Even those who disagree with her policies can’t deny the skill she’s exhibited over the last four years at marching the often-fractious Democratic caucus through one tough vote after another. She has unmatched credibility with the caucus, especially the liberal members.
This was the unapologetic justification for why:
This will be a disappointment to the remaining House Democrats [Obama’s expected movement to the center]- it’s a more liberal caucus now that so many moderates lost their seats. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the House who will be able to persuade the Democratic members to support the president’s new agenda the way that Pelosi will.
Now, this sounds like compounding the problem to me, but hey, it’s not my problem. In fact, this is quite possibly one of the greatest things the Dems could have done for the GOP. Pelosi’s favorability is 29%. Her unfavorability is 56%. Four years ago, opinions of her stood at 44% in favor and just 22% against. How time does tell.
Couple this with the likely persistence of Harry Reid as the Dem Senate Majority leader, whose public opinion polls stand similar to Pelosi’s at 29% in favor and 54% against. Toss in the President who, on a good day, may break even at best but is typically upside down in the polls as well and we have the perfect trifecta of personalities that define the liberal agenda. This is very important because the GOP just ran a VERY successful House election campaign based largely on tying every Dem to Obama-Reid-Pelosi. And what do we see happening now? Obama-Reid-Pelosi lives on!!!
More than $65 million was spent on 161,203 ads that targeted Pelosi from January 1 through last week’s election, according to a new analysis of TV ads for CNN by Campaign Media Analysis Group.
A draft letter being drafted by House Dems says that the defeated members “fear that Republicans will further demonize you [Pelosi], and in so doing, they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of having to run against their own party leadership, in addition to their Republican opponent is simply too daunting.”
We could point out many the poll that pointed to the popular dissatisfaction with the direction of the country as ordained by the trifecta, but I prefer the most important poll of all- the electorate. Michael Barone does a fine job in articulating just what the electorate said:
Republicans look to have a bigger advantage in this redistricting cycle than they’ve ever had before. It appears that in the states that will have more than five districts (you can make only limited partisan difference in smaller states), Republicans will control redistricting in 13 states with a total of 165 House districts and Democrats will have control in only four states with a total of 40 districts. You can add Minnesota (seven or eight districts) to the first list if the final count gives Republicans the governorship and New York (27 or 28 districts) to the second list if the final count gives Democrats the state Senate.
When the tea party movement first made itself heard, Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as “Astroturf,” a phony organization financed by a few millionaires. She may have been projecting — those union demonstrators you see at Democratic events or heckling Republicans are often paid by the hour.
In any case, the depth and the breadth of Republican victories in state legislative races, even more than their gain of 60-plus seats in the U.S. House and six seats in the Senate, shows that the tea party movement was a genuine popular upheaval of vast dimensions. Particularly in traditional blue-collar areas, voters rejected longtime Democrats or abandoned lifelong partisan allegiances and elected Republicans.
Obama once famously, if not arrogantly, said “I won.”
Well, not anymore.