I want to believe.

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) said that not only would he not back Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker again, but also that he’d heard she would not seek another term in that position.

“From what we’re hearing, she’s probably not going to run for Speaker again,” McIntyre told WWAY-TV in North Carolina. “And if she does, I’m confident she’s going to have opposition, and I look forward to supporting that opposition.”…

McIntyre joins the growing flood of Democrats who are saying they will oppose Pelosi as Speaker if Democrats retain the majority. An additional crowd of Democrats — most recently Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon (D) — have refused to say how they would vote.

As quickly as the accusation is leveled, the formal denial is issued:

“If we pull this off [maintaining control of the House], there is no doubt she’ll run for Speaker again and win,” one aide said.

The aides pointed to the many factors Pelosi would have going for her within her Democratic Caucus. The speaker enjoys strong support among progressives, female members, the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as the sizable California delegation, the largest in the House. Therefore, it’s hard to picture a scenario in which she could be beaten in a race of Democrats, especially in an election year where many conservative Democrats are the most likely to lose and therefore not vote for the leadership of the 112th Congress.

As far as I know, only a handful of Blue Dogs have said they absolutely, positively won’t vote for her for Speaker next term if they retain the majority. McIntyre is one, Jim Marshall of “Pelosi is a hippie” fame is another, and then of course there’s Bobby Bright, who’s been known to crack “jokes” about her untimely death. Beyond that core nucleus, there are another eight to 10 centrist Democrats who say they’re not sure yet how they’d vote — which, of course, is Blue-Dog-speak for “I’ll do whatever Pelosi tells me.” In other words, unless the Democrats (a) hold the House and (b) end up with an extremely narrow majority, in the neighborhood of 218/217 and (c) somehow the hardcore anti-Pelosi Blue Dogs manage to survive the great culling next month. which would make their votes for Speaker decisive, then yeah, we’ve probably got another two years of Madam Speaker steering the congressional ship of state.

Why they’d want to keep her for another term is beyond me, though. Steny Hoyer, who’d presumably succeed her, is much better liked by Republicans and therefore more likely to be able to steer through compromise legislation that the Dems can point to when running in 2012. Pelosi, for all her faults, was superb at delivering votes for her party’s big-ticket items, but needless to say, there ain’t going to be anymore big-ticket items for the next two years. Why not dump her and her lead-anchor approval rating in favor of the more genial Hoyer? Oh right — because House progressives would rather show loyalty to the liberal who’s about to deliver 50+ seats to the GOP than to a more centrist Democrat like Hoyer who might put them back on track. Exit question: At this point, is it even worth talking about scenarios in which Pelosi remains as Speaker? The GOP has a 73 percent chance of retaking the House. C’mon.