Shuler to vie for Dem Leadership Post?

Via Roll Call: Shuler Threatens to Challenge Pelosi for Minority Leader

Rep. Heath Shuler predicted Thursday that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would act in the “best interest” of the Democratic Caucus and bow out of leadership, but said he would challenge the California Democrat for Minority Leader if she tried to stay on and no “viable alternative” candidate emerged.

The thing is, isn’t Shuler in the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party?  And given the defeat of that wing on Tuesday should mean a higher likelihood of a more liberal leadership by definition, yes?

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. John P says:

    I’m not so sure Dr. Taylor. Vilifying liberal left-coast Pelosi was a big selling point in the areas the conservative democrats lost out (including my own district that saw a very conservative Childers lose to his challenger Nunalee and his “fire Pelosi” campaign).

    By removing her from her position you can in effect take the legs out from under that argument. That doesn’t mean they won’t concoct another easily repeatable talking point, but I can hardly imagine that it would be more effective.

  2. I take the point, but my point is that the Democratic Party caucus left behind after this week’s election will be, by definition, more liberal than the one currently in office. As such, it seems unlikely that they would elect a moderate as leader. It’s less about talking points than it is about what the caucus itself is likely to want to do–and I suspect what it is going to want to do is acta s a liberal opposition to the majority GOP House.

  3. wr says:

    Shuler is not in the moderate wing of the party, he is in the conservative wing. And if the Democrats decide that the way to beat the Republicans is to become Republicans, they will never win another election.

  4. John P says:

    I think I’ll cover my bases here and say that one of two things is going to happen – something or nothing. By that I mean the Democrats will either change strategy and move toward the center, closer to the Republicans, or they will stand pat and hope that the Republican strategy of the last two years (a waiting game in which the Democrats were simply more awful politically than the Republicans and took the blame as they controlled two of the three branches) works for them as well.

    The only problem I see there is that with Democrats controlling the Senate and the Executive office the Republicans can still trot out the “Fire Obama/Reid” line to great success. Unless they change the discussion by moving their strategy and leadership they have to hope the economy rebounds quickly and indicates that measures they’ve taken played a big part in the turnaround.

    I would say that is somewhat unlikely to happen given the holding pattern we seem to be in at the current moment. Plus, you can be assured that the next session of Congress will not be about pushing policy across as much as it will be about stalling and even repealing current policy.

    The last point I will make, to answer WR, is that Democrats aren’t the most organized bunch. For the Representatives who still hold their office after the January transition I would be hard pressed to believe that they would present a unified front as they have not done so in recent memory to the same level of their Republican counterparts. If you look at voting on key issues you will see a trend that shows many more dissenters in blue than in red…and to me at least that makes the “do something” option more likely.