Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Friday she would run for minority leader when the new Congress begins in January and Republicans officially take majority control of the House of Representatives.
Republicans ran on a campaign of firing Pelosi and rejecting the liberal agenda she and President Barack Obama have pushed through Congress. Even after they made historic gains they have said it was the Obama-Pelosi agenda that Americans did not want and was the reason Republicans were put back in control.
Democrats, however, contend it was not Pelosi who the majority of Americans had issues with, but the economy. Because of that, several Democrats have said Pelosi should run if she wanted.
“I don’t think she was a drag on our party,” Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) said in a phone interview with The Hill. “She just said we should do the right thing for our country.”
Other Democrats also have said even if some independents and conservatives were against the way Democrats had run things over the past two years, liberals were more upset at the lack of messaging on policies and what Democrats stood for. They also have said liberals were upset Democrats did not fight enough for what they believed in, and if the party hoped to win back the base, they needed to fight harder for their beliefs and values.
“The lesson [of the elections] is not to back down from a fight,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “The lesson learned is we need to fight harder for real, fundamental change for the middle-class. And no one fights harder than Nancy Pelosi.”
It was partly because of that fight to protect the middle class that Pelosi said she wanted to run for the position.
“Our work is far from finished,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to the Democratic Caucus announcing her bid to be minority leader. “As a result of Tuesday’s election, the role of Democrats in the 112th Congress will change, but our commitment to serving the American people will not. We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back. It is my hope that we can work in a bipartisan way to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. …Driven by the urgency of protecting health care reform, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare, I have decided to run.”
While not all Democrats have said they would support her – mainly members of the Blue Dog coalition who typically are the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus – several have said her drive, fighting spirit and determination was just what the Democrats needed to send a sharp message on how their party was different than the Republicans. They also have said Pelosi was the lawmaker who was best able to go toe-to-toe with the Republicans and not back down on Democratic principles – not to mention, she led the party from being the minority into the majority in the 2006 elections.
“The fact is, Nancy Pelosi is the single most effective member of Congress, period,” Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), one of Pelosi’s closest allies in the House, said. “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.”
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