Nobody vs. Somebody

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 8 2010 2:20 PM

Nobody vs. Somebody

Chad Pergram scoops a letter that some "defeated Democrats" are planning to give Nancy Pelosi; the existence of the letter, of course, is the entirety of the story.

This is a difficult letter to write, because we admire your commitment, your drive, and your conviction. You have been an historic figure in our great nation, and for that we are all proud, as should you be. Nonetheless, we each experienced how Republican demonization of you and your leadership contributed to our defeat.

It is impossible not to judge the results of November 2nd as anything but a profound loss. We want to recover. Recovery of our majority in the House necessitates new leadership at the top of our party. We believe that you can and will play an extraordinary role in our party, and it is extremely unfortunate that Republicans have taken away your ability to lead as effectively as you are able. Nonetheless, one mark of a strong leader is the ability to discern when it is time to pass the baton. As defeated members, whose party needs to rebuild, we are counting on you to show the strength of your leadership in this dark hour. We ask that you step aside as leader of our party in the House.

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Obviously the intent of the letter is to complicate Pelosi's decision by warning of Democratic defeats to come. It's not to suggest a Pelosi replacement. But doesn't the lack of a credible non-Pelosi fatally weaken the Stop Pelosi plan? At least the 1972 Democrats had Humphrey! And speaking Democratic internecine conflict, the AFL-CIO has thrown its weight behind Pelosi -- if there an interest group besides "Heath Shuler's 2012 re-election hopes" that opposes Pelosi, it's awfully quiet.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.