First, the good news, at least for House Democrats. Instead of running for the lifeboats to escape the debacle unfolding in Charlotte in the next few weeks, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has announced an official “abandon ship“:
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi says that Democratic members should stay home and campaign in their districts rather than go to the party’s national convention in North Carolina.
“I’m not encouraging anyone to go to the convention, having nothing to do with anything except I think they should stay home, campaign in their districts, use their financial and political resources to help them win their election,” Pelosi said in an exclusive interview for POLITICO Live’s On Congress, a new weekly show to be streamed live on POLITICO’s website and broadcast on NewsChannel 8 on Wednesdays. …
“We nominated a president last time. We have an incumbent President of the United States. We’re very proud of him. There certainly will be enough people there to express that pride, but I’m not encouraging members to go to the convention no matter what the situation was, because they can be home. It’s campaign time. It’s the first week in September,” she said.
Maybe the DNC should have scheduled it for mid-August instead, then? That’s one of the more minor problems with the Democratic convention — after a lack of funding, the outrage of Big Labor for holding it in a right-to-work state, and the use of Bank of America Stadium by a party that spent the last four years demonizing the banking industry, it falls well down the list. It’s still worth discussing, though; why did Democrats schedule their convention on a week when the pressure to be home campaigning would be strongest? Apparently it came from a game of chicken played with the GOP to get the last word in conventions, but maybe both parties should rethink the late-season staging of these affairs.
And now the better news, for everyone:
In addition, Pelosi also wouldn’t commit to serving in the leadership of the 113th Congress.
“I wouldn’t assume anything,” she told POLITICO editor in chief John Harris and reporter Lois Romano. “I would just assume that Democrats would win and we would stop the obstruction of the President’s agenda. I think it’s fair to say that most people don’t have the faintest idea about leadership races in the Congress.”
The bigger question is why Pelosi remained in leadership in the 112th Congress. Speakers who get turned out by the opposition generally resign so new leadership can give their caucus and party a fresh start. Instead, Pelosi has clung to power while her caucus more or less admits that they don’t have any other options than the leadership that led them into a historical drubbing, the worst midterm performance in over 70 years. If the Democratic Party is to revamp its message from the one that got soundly trounced in 2010, they have to change the leadership first. It might take another drubbing for that lesson to sink into the Democratic caucus in the House.
Meanwhile, don’t accuse Bill Whittle of not trying to help. In his Firewall this week, Bill tries to stoke some enthusiasm for the Democratic convention and the formal renomination of President Hope and Change. Can he do it?
Er … no, not really.