After getting her ducks in a row following the most profound drubbing of House Democrats in sixty-four years, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced, via Twitter, that she intended to lead the party’s caucus for another two years.
If Pelosi wants to be an effective minority leader, however, she’s going to need to do more than Tweet.
After the results were tabulated last week, a debate opened about whether Pelosi, who took almost as many hits as did President Obama during this year’s brutal mid-term election campaign, might let someone else occupy the diminished position of House minority leader.
But Nancy@SpeakerPelosi announced Friday afternoon that: "Driven by the urgency of creating jobs & protecting #hcr, #wsr, Social Security & Medicare, I am running for Dem Leader."
For the uninitiated: "hcr" is healthcare reform, "wsr" is Wall Street reform and @Speaker Pelosi is, in light of recent developments, going to need a new Twitter handle.
Pelosi is also going to need to offer more than a ninety-two-character explanation for why she thinks her continued leadership is necessary after an election that reduced her caucus to its smallest numbers since 1947.
Pelosi’s mentor, California Congressman George Miller, says: "We have many talented people in our Caucus, each of whom has contributed to our success over the past few years, but I believe she is the best person for this important job at this time. The fact is, Nancy Pelosi is the single most effective member of Congress, period."
Miller, the savvy outgoing chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, has a point.
There is something to the argument that Pelosi is, as Miller says, "one of the toughest people in politics today." And a case can certainly be made, again as Miller says, that "she has been attacked and vilified by the right wing because of her effectiveness. But we did not lose seats in this last election because the Republicans attacked her in their negative TV ads. We lost seats primarily because of the 9.6 percent unemployment rate and continued record foreclosures caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Democratic Caucus has already done a great deal to improve the economy and is committed to bringing down unemployment and helping homeowners. Having Nancy Pelosi as our minority leader will help us succeed."
Miller’s framing does have some appeal, as does the argument made by MoveOn.org that "Speaker Nancy Pelosi is one of the strongest, most progressive leaders in Washington. Her determination brought health care reform back to life last winter, when the Senate and the White House were ready to scale back. She fought harder than anyone for bigger, better job creation bills. And right now, she is the strongest voice in leadership for ending Bush’s millionaire tax bailout. But after Tuesday’s elections, some corporate Democrats are taking the wrong lesson—saying that Democrats should be less progressive and more like the Republicans. And they’re pushing Speaker Pelosi to step down. This would be a terrible loss for progressives, and for the country."