Who Runs the House Democrats in 2011?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 21 2010 2:43 PM

Who Runs the House Democrats in 2011?

In a conversation with a House Republican today, the question of Republican power struggles after the elections came up. The Republican dismissed talk of John Boehner losing the right to become Speaker of the House if a wave brings in a bunch of new members with Tea Party platforms. The more interesting question: What happens with the Democrats?

Liberals have had it pretty good on the House side since 2002, when they elevated Nancy Pelosi to the leadership. They won two elections with a liberal member from San Francisco leading their party, and laughed off Republican attempts to make her some kind of polarizing, Gingrichian figure. But if they win the House, how does she survive? She can, I think, depending on where the losses come and how deep they are. If the party mostly loses the open Blue Dog seats and swing seats it grabbed in the past two cycles, you've got a more liberal Democratic caucus. Will they defenestrate Pelosi? Why would they, when they did everything they could and the Senate Democrats screwed up their agenda? Outside of Congress, I think you see a spat between progressive backers of Pelosi and a rising chorus of pundits and DLC-ers proclaiming the start of the Steny Hoyer era. But how excited can Democrats get about Steny Hoyer?


The other, maybe more interesting scenario: What if the Democrats hold the House by one or two votes. Keep in mind, some of the Democrats who survive will be Blue Dogs from quirky seats, like Gene Taylor in Mississippi and Dan Boren in Oklahoma. By election day there will be multiple survivors or new candidates who were goaded into trashing Pelosi on the campaign trail. A Democratic victory would be miraculous, but could Pelosi win another term?

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.