Thoughts on the Majority Leader Election
First let me say that I realize that what I'm about to write might get me kicked out of the Democratic Party for failing to show consternation and dismay at everything the Democratic Party does. Nonetheless, it seems to me that in the just completed selection of Speaker of the House and Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi has just shown that a) she has some 86 more supporters than does Steny Hoyer and b) she will fight for her position, even if she knows she will loose. Therefore, I conclude that whatever the talking heads of our oh so wise commentariat might conclude, she has just demonstrated to the actual members of the Democratic caucus that in the future it will be much better to work with her than to just oppose her. She can and will work with the caucus, but she will also fight. For the new members who want to have a future in the House of Representatives, fighting is probably not a good thing, so they can see that cooperation would be wise.
Let me put this another way. It is pretty clear from the actual actions of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Jack Murtha and the rest of the Democratic caucus that the outcome of this election was not critical for the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi will be able to work well with either of the candidates and no great animosity exists here. Given that, she has just shown that she will fight over issues that are of no great importance and where the votes are strongly against her. Therefore, only a fool can doubt that she will fight over issues that are of great importance and where the vote is much closer. Therefore, if you are a new member (or an old member) from a reddish district such that a fractured and divided caucus will mean your stay in the House will likely be short lived, your best bet will be to compromise with the Madam Speaker and not oppose her. She. Will. Fight. Finally, and again for junior members of the caucus, and considering her popularity in San Francisco, the likelihood is if you decide to fight her a lot, is that in 2009 she will still be a member of the United States House of Representatives and you will be seeking employment elsewhere. That is the upshot of this weeks election.