Saturday, June 03, 2006

Pelosi in 07: Speaker or Unemployed?

Bob Novak writes an interesting piece today, suggesting that there's talk among House Democrats of replacing Nancy Pelosi as leader if Democrats don't regain the majority. I would say that objectively, Pelosi has been a weak leader. Most recently and obviously, she led with her chin when she raised the specter of hearings and impeachment proceedings if Democrats take the House. She has also failed to project an image of Democrats as ready to govern.

Novak is vague on one point though: Pelosi has not been the House Democratic leader for all 12 years in the Minority. She took over after Dick Gephardt retired in 2002. As such, 2006 will represent only the second Congressional election under her leadership:

Goodbye to Nancy?
By Robert Novak
Jun 3, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Talk is increasing among House Democrats that if they fail to regain control after 12 years of a Republican majority, Rep. Nancy Pelosi should be replaced as the party's leader in the House.

If Democrats recapture the House, Pelosi surely will be the first female speaker in the nation's history. But Republican strategists are posing that possibility as a reason for voting Republican, and she will be widely blamed as a San Francisco liberal if there is a Democratic failure in November. Pelosi's colleagues complain about her public performances, especially on NBC's "Meet the Press" May 7.

The highly regarded Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, second-ranking in the House hierarchy as Democratic whip, ordinarily would be in line to succeed Pelosi. However, tension between Pelosi and Hoyer has been so great that many Democrats would prefer somebody not identified as her antagonist. Consequently, there is speculation about Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a second-termer who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as Pelosi's logical replacement.

Read the whole Novak column, as he also identifies former House Judiciary Committee staffer Paul McNulty as the main source of friction between DoJ and the House of Representatives in the Jefferson raid matter. This has been a point of interest to me since the raid took place: the lead DoJ staffers on this matter, and McNulty in particular, have extensive House experience. You would think that this would help quell any uproar. Instead, the reverse seems to be the case.

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