Thursday, November 18, 2010

Whose ox is gored

I chuckled a little at this in a recent Politico piece about why the House Democrats retained Nancy Pelosi as their leader:

Many House Democrats view the last two years as a permanent gain for progressive values, particularly when it comes to a health care law that ensures nearly every American will be insured. They believe it would discredit these achievements to humiliate the House leader most responsible for these gains.

Many of these Democrats believe that the gains for progressives are worth spilling blood over and they are not holding election losses against Pelosi. [snip]

"Sometimes doing the right thing will cause you to pay dearly," Clyburn argued, according to a source in the room. "What's good for the American people sometimes is not good for a few of the high and mighty."

This is a view shared by many liberals in the caucus, particularly those who represent underserved minority communities, where Pelosi has strong support.

Clyburn’s position is correct as a statement of principle: there are some causes worth sacrificing careers for (although I don’t believe Obamacare was one of them). However, the sentiment would be a lot more moving if the people expressing it were among the House Democrats who lost their seats rather than the House Democrats who retained them. And it’s worth remembering that “the high and mighty” Clyburn is so quick to dismiss include a number of Democrats who had served only one or two terms in the House - as opposed to Clyburn’s nine and soon to be ten.

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