Bruce Drake at Politics Daily reports that Shuler (D-NC11) will challenge the soon-to-be-former House Speaker, but knows he does not have enough votes to defeat her:
North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler said Sunday he would challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the leadership of the Democratic minority in the next Congress although he acknowledged that he does not have the votes to win.
“We’ve just come off the largest … loss for the Democratic Party in almost a century,” Shuler said on CNN’s State of the Union. “And to be able to put Speaker Pelosi as minority leader is truly … unacceptable for our party.”
“If she doesn’t step aside then … I’m going to press forward,” he said. “I can add and subtract pretty well. I don’t have the numbers to be able to win, but I think it’s a proven point for moderates and the Democrat Party that we have to be a big tent. We have to be all-inclusive. We have to invite everyone into the party.”
Shuler, a second term congressman, is the whip for the conservative Blue Dog Democratic caucus who lost 24 of their 58 members in the midterm elections. On issues where he cast votes, Shuler sided with the party 83.9 percent of the time, according to the Washington Post, although he opposed the leadership on major items like the health care reform package.
Shuler said, “We’ve got to be able to recruit. We have to go into those moderate areas, those swing districts, and be able to get great recruits or get back those members of Congress that we lost, be able to have them on the ticket in 2012 to be able to win back the House. And I just don’t see that path happening if we have her at the top of the leadership.”
This is largely symbolic, of course, considering the battle for him to be House Minority Leader will be an uphill one, as he acknowledges. What Shuler’s not acknowledging, however, is the bigger problem for his party right now: President Obama. Even if Pelosi were to get voted out of a leadership position in the House, there’s the little issue of an unpopular President who will also be on that 2012 ticket Shuler’s talking about. Unless this economy does a miraculous turnaround in the next couple of years, unless Obama agrees to significant parts of ObamaCare being repealed or heavily modified, I see the next election being a continuation of what happened to Democrats a couple of weeks ago.
Pundits will point out that it’s fairly common for a President’s party to lose seats in a mid-term, but President Obama’s losses this year were historic in nature, as the American people essentially did a 180 from two years ago. And, as I noted earlier, if he doesn’t change course, the losing trend for both him and his party will likely continue, hopefully with a Republican president being elected in 2012. A reversal in course doesn’t seem to be in the cards for this President, though, as yesterday’s news about a return to core principles confirms, which will probably make the job of the eventual 2012 GOP nominee for president – whoever that ends up being – a whole lot easier.
Phineas jumps in: On a related note for those who enjoy watching Democrats in turmoil (and who doesn’t?), there’s a delicious article at Hot Air about the leftist Congressional Black Caucus revolting against Nancy Pelosi. With the Blue Dogs decimated in the election, the ideological center of gravity of the Democratic Party has moved much more toward the social-democratic Left, and what we’re seeing from the CBC is the Left flexing its muscle.