Pretty Please: Pelosi May Stay On As House Democratic Leader

Posted: Nov 05, 2010 10:16 AM
Republican Congressional candidates had a potent asset in this year's midterm campaign:  Nancy Pelosi.  The extraordinarily unpopular soon-to-be-former Speaker was a frequent target in GOP attacks, as the NRCC effectively tied Democratic candidates to Pelosi by invoking her name and image in TV commercials.  Now that Republicans have corralled a strong House majority, many assumed they'd no longer have Nancy Pelosi to kick around.  Think again, Pelosi tells ABC News:

In the wake of Tuesday's shellacking, outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, has been widely expected to step down as the Democratic leader and leave Congress.

Not so fast.

High-level Democratic sources in the House tell ABC News Pelosi is seriously considering staying in Congress and running for the position of minority leader.

Pelosi is methodically calling every Democratic House member who won on Tuesday, as well as many who lost, sources tell ABC News. In the process, she is weighing her options and gauging her support.

Some of Pelosi's closest allies are encouraging her to stay and to lead the Democratic effort to win back their majority. Those encouraging her are arguing, in part, that she can unify the progressives in the caucus, and more importantly, that nobody in the House can raise money for the next campaign better than Pelosi.

Unsurprisingly, the few surviving Blue Dogs aren't too keen on this idea, but their influence will be dramatically diminished in the new, uber-liberal Democratic caucus:

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), a member of the conservative Democratic Blue Dog coalition, is urging Pelosi not to run and threatening to challenge her if she does. Another member of the Blue Dog coalition, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), told Politico that Pelosi should not stay on.

"We just got whupped," he said.

But the Blue Dog coalition was decimated on Tuesday; more than half of its members, 29, lost. Only 28 remain. For the most part, the Democrats who survived Tuesday are the more liberal members, including Pelosi's strongest supporters.

This development conflicts with a previous report that Pelosi was planning to retire from public life if Democrats lost badly on Tuesday.  Which brings us to today's conservative dilemma:  Would you rather see Madam (former) Speaker retire, and be rid of her for good -- or would you rather she hung around so she and Harry can together remain the insanely polarizing and unappealing faces of Congressional Democrats?

Door one sure is tempting, but I'll go with door number two.  I can already see the 2012 attack ads: 

"A vote for [Democratic candidate X] is a vote to restore Nancy Pelosi to power.  Vote against [Democratic candidate X], and keep the Speaker's gavel out of Nancy Pelosi's hands."

Please let this happen.