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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Hill: Report: Mike Lillis: Time For House Democrats to Elect New Leaders?

The Hill: Report: Mike Lillis: Time For House Democrats to Elect New Leaders?

Nancy Pelosi has been the leader of the House Democrats for the last twelve years. Eight of them after this Congress as Minority Leader and of course four of them as the first female Speaker of the House from 2007-11. She was also the first Minority Leader in Congress, House or Senate and the first party leader in Congress House or Senate as well. She's been a very effective leader as far as fundraising and keeping her caucus united against things Democrats don't want. And a very effective vote getter for things that needed to be passed even when compromises with more moderate Democrats and Republicans were made.

She's had a very good run and time even with eight years as the Minority Leader. But at some point new leadership needs to come in to take the House Democratic Caucus to the next level. For them to get back to where they should be with well north of 200 seats in the House. After this election they may be under a 190 seats in the House and needing a wave in 2016 to win just win back the House with a small majority. She led them back from what was looking like a permanent minority party in the House pre-2006 when they won back the House of Representatives and guided them through the Tea Party revolution of 2010-11 and managed to win back some of those seats in 2012.

But now going into the next Congress House Democrats will be in worst shape then they were even in 2011 when Republicans took over the House and worst shape than they were in 2003 when Leader Pelosi became the Minority Leader under President Bush. The sky has fallen and the House Democratic Caucus has bottomed out and is going to look a lot different in the last two years of the Obama Administration. House Democrats already have good young leaders that could move the caucus through this period and hopefully back to the majority in the near future.

Leader Pelosi and her deputy Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn and Minority Whip all have distinguished careers in the House and as Democratic leaders. But they are all in their mid 70s inheriting a younger more energetic, but much smaller House Democratic Caucus. I think they should all step down and let someone like Chris Van Hollen, Xavier Becerra, Jarred Pollis and others step up and lead the House Democrats though this next period and hopefully back to the majority in the next two to four years and give the House Democratic Caucus a much different look and feel.