A Cautionary Note for Republicans
A self-reinforcing ailment appears to be involved with Nancy Pelosi’s retention of her leadership role in the U.S. House:
“She is the face that defeated us in this last election,” declared Florida Rep. Allen Boyd, who was among those who lost re-election fights. However, Pelosi, who presided over big Democratic gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, remains popular among the liberals who dominate her caucus more than ever. Dissident moderates could not find enough votes to force her aside.
In fact, the Democrats kept their entire leadership team intact despite election losses that President Barack Obama called “a shellacking.” They elected Steny Hoyer of Maryland to keep the No. 2 post and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina to hold the third-ranking position, which will be renamed “assistant leader.”
As Democrats in less-liberal districts lose their seats with the shift of independents back toward Republicans, the liberals’ voice in the national party will become more overwhelming. That doesn’t mean that certain scenarios wouldn’t lead them back to dominance of the House, but it does mean that the competition will remain the Republicans’ to lose. Americans, generally, don’t like what they’ve seen in the Democrat Left.
Republicans should learn an additional lesson. Among the reasons they lost Congress and the Presidency over the last decade was their drift from principles of limited, transparent government. Sticking to that unifying theme doesn’t mean — as libertarians, liberals, and “moderates” like to aver — that elected officers should suppress the issues of their conservative base. But it does mean that conservatives shouldn’t allow short-term victories on their issues to overwhelm the message or the practice. They can and should work to control immigration, stop the advance of same-sex marriage, and end the practice of abortion, for example, but they shouldn’t, like the Democrats, throw the rules of government out the window and ignore clear messages from voters in the process.