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When the new House of Representatives of the 112th Congress convenes in January, one may wonder which legislators will emerge as the most important figures to lead the nation in a new direction. The presumptive speaker of the House, John Boehner, seems the natural choice, yet maybe a dynamic tea party favorite like Allen West will emerge as a dominant figure. But perhaps the most important member of the new House will be the same as the most important member of the old House: Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi seems to have swallowed whole the progressive fiction that the reason that Democrats lost control of the House in 2010 is that the party didn’t move left far enough or quickly enough. She is thus determined to hold onto her leadership position within the party, even though she’ll be trading in her speaker’s gavel for a minority leader’s rattle. Republicans should offer a prayer of thanks. Nothing will benefit the GOP more in the House than if Pelosi remains as the face of the opposition. She embodies the stark contrast between the small government policies that Republicans have been elected to implement and the big government, quasi-socialist policies of the last two years.
According to the progressive narrative, there is no point in being a middle-of-the-road Blue Dog Democrat. After all, didn’t twenty-four of fifty-eight members of the Blue Dog caucus lose their jobs in the past election? Michael Moore parroted the theory on Larry King Live shortly after the election:
I hope that, the lesson to learn is to see the more liberal you were if you were a member of Congress in last week’s election, the more likely it was that you got reelected. The conservative Democrats, the majority of them were booted out. The liberals won. [President Obama] should take this country in the progressive direction that he was elected to take it in.
It’s predictable that someone like Moore doesn’t understand the concept of swing districts and how his favorite party’s violent lurch to the left destroyed any chance of holding onto them. On the other hand, it’s a bit more surprising that a supposedly savvy old warrior like Pelosi could be equally deluded. And yet, there you have it. Rather than retreating quietly into the shadows, the San Francisco ultra-leftist has decided that she still wants to be the voice of her party in the House, despite reams of evidence that the nation is sick of her and tired of the ideology she represents. Pelosi remains wildly popular in a home district that’s as wildly as progressive as she, but that doesn’t translate into national support. Her approval ratings are disastrously weak, with over half of the county maintaining an unfavorable impression of the current Speaker according to Rasmussen.
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