Not so fast! says TPM Reader CS:
Regarding reader EA’s assertion that Democrats need to throw Pelosi, Clyburn, and the other current leaders overboard in favor of conservative new “young guns” — that’s nuts. It’s a panicky, absurd, knee-jerk reaction.
Do the Democrats really want to signal that when adversity strikes, they’ll abandon their leaders and throw them overboard in a panic? It’s not like Pelosi was ineffective as Speaker. If it weren’t for her, Obama probably wouldn’t have health insurance reform as an accomplishment. Second, and more important, the assertion that the Dems need to replace the leadership with conservative Democrats is asinine, bordering on political suicide. How well has it worked out for Democrats to have conservative Dems from vulnerable districts serving as Senate leader? How did it work out for Tom Daschle? How about Harry Reid? Being the leader of the Democrats in Congress puts a political target on one’s back, and “conservative” Democrats in vulnerable districts are the first and easiest targets. Replace Pelosi with a conservadem like Heath Schuler, and the Republicans will focus all their attention on a (probably successful) attempt to unseat him. Further, in the process of trying to retain his seat, he will drag the Democratic caucus further to the right, which — despite stale Beltway common wisdom to the contrary — the country doesn’t want. David Broder’s heart would go pit-a-pat to have a conservadem capitulating to the Republicans in the House, but it would be political suicide. You want to de-motivate the Democrats’ base? That’s the sure-fire way to do it. Of course, if it happens, the usual Blue Dogs and neoliberal Beltway mavens will blame the base yet again for not turning out in droves to support the crappy policies of the weak-kneed conservadem leadership in Congress. And so it goes.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.