The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 5, 2010
Is Pelosi's decision good for Obama's 2012 prospects?

The left is certainly happy.

But if outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi is chosen by House Democrats to lead them while in the minority starting in two years, will it be good for President Barack Obama's reelection chances in 2012?

You could argue that the younger, progressive voters who helped elect Obama in 2008 will be more likely to return in two years with a liberal firebrand like Pelosi still in the picture and leading the charge to retake control of the House.

That's the take from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

"Speaker Pelosi's decision to run for leader is the first bold move we've seen from Democrats since the election, America is better off as a result, and we hope there's more bold Democratic leadership to come," the group's co-founder, Stephanie Taylor, said in a statement.

"Democrats lost on Tuesday because of Blue Dogs and others who urged Democrats to not fight for popular progressive change -- and the way to re-inspire former Obama voters is to have progressives like Nancy Pelosi boldly fighting the fight."

But Pelosi is also deeply unpopular with much of the American public -- a Gallup Poll in October pegged her favorable rating at 29 percent, an all-time low since she became speaker. While Republicans hate her, nearly 60 percent of independents also viewed her unfavorably.

Republicans in California and elsewhere had a field day running against her - or at least the caricature of her as a San Francisco leftie -- and claiming that their opponents were Pelosi allies.

Those ads would surely return in 2012, and could scare away independents from Obama's side.

Then again, if Pelosi could get things done, even in the minority, maybe she could win them over. That seems her goal, anyway. 

"Our work is far from finished. As a result of Tuesday's election, the role of Democrats in the 112th Congress will change, but our commitment to serving the American people will not. We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back. It is my hope that we can work in a bipartisan way to create jobs and strengthen the middle class," Pelosi wrote to Democrats in announcing her decision today.

"Many of our colleagues have called with their recommendations on how to continue our fight for the middle class, and have encouraged me to run for House Democratic Leader. Based on those discussions, and driven by the urgency of protecting health care reform, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare, I have decided to run."

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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