Well, why not? Democrats resurrected Hillary Clinton after she incompetently booted an easy lay-up to the nomination in 2008 to a one-term Senate backbencher, and look how well that worked out for them. Oh, wait … After losing four straight House election cycles to two different Republican leaders, one might think that Congressional Democrats would want new leadership. Apparently, some of them believe that the fifth time will be the charm:
House Democrats close to Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are circulating a letter within the Democratic Women’s Caucus pledging support for the California Democrat to remain House Democratic leader amid growing frustration at the party’s disastrous showing in Tuesday’s election.
The letter, written by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), says that Pelosi helped Democrats achieve “historic progress in the lives of women, workers, students, veterans, seniors and LGBT Americans,” according to a copy of it obtained by the Washington Post. As of Friday afternoon 40 of the 54 women had signed the letter, according to aides.
“We believe that now, more than ever, our Caucus and our country need your strategic, battle-tested leadership to guide us through the years ahead,” the letter reads. “As we work to guard our accomplishments for hard-working families and preserve an inclusive and forward-looking America, we will be stronger with you as Democratic Leader. You have our support, and we ask you to continue as the Leader for our party and our nation.”
Normally, House Speakers who lose the majority find that they have a pressing need to spend more time with their families. Not Nancy Pelosi; after the Tea Party wave crashed the four-year House Democratic majority and gave the GOP control 242-193, her backers insisted they needed her skills to win it back in the friendlier presidential-race environment. She booted that too; Republicans won that night 234-201 despite Barack Obama winning re-election over Mitt Romney. In 2014, Pelosi lost 247-188, even worse than in 2010, and barely improved on Tuesday with a 239-193 beating — after suggesting that Democrats were in position to challenge for the majority.
“That whistling sound you hear,” Philip Bump writes this morning, “is the party Thelma-and-Louiseing.” Here’s the graph Bump uses (via Allahpundit):
At what point do Democrats get the message? And for that matter, at what point do Democrats start thinking long-term about their leadership and its sustainability? Pelosi is 76 years old, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is 77. Both of them joined Congress when Ronald Reagan was president.
Don’t think other Democrats haven’t noticed, either:
Rank-and-file House Democrats are angry with leaders at every level of the party and want to see blanket changes to Democrats’ message, approach and leadership structure, according to many aides. A growing number of young and recently elected House Democrats want term limits for committee leaders and are pushing to elect at least one reform-minded member to their official leadership ranks.
Maybe they’re just tired of losing. Before this, the excuse given by Democrats for bitterly clinging to Pelosi was her control over the Democratic donor base. Well, what good has it done them? What good did that do for Hillary Clinton? That’s a self-perpetuating excuse for inaction anyway — donors work with Pelosi because she’s the leader. If Democrats dump Pelosi and Hoyer, the donors will work with those who replace them eventually.
If Democrats are serious about fixing whatever has led them into the wilderness, we’ll find out by watching them fire the people who did the leading. If Pelosi’s still around after the dust settles, that’ll tell us all we need to know about 2018 and probably 2020, too.