Friday, October 20, 2006

"Pelosi no shoo-in for job as speaker"

From the Washington Times:
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's prospects for becoming the nation's first female House speaker depend not only on a Democratic victory in November but also on her ability to prevent any Democrats from voting against her -- primarily centrists opposed to her liberal stances.

At least one Democratic House candidate has pledged not to support Mrs. Pelosi, and others in conservative districts have refused to commit their support -- potentially leaving Mrs. Pelosi shy of the 218 votes required for the chamber's top post.

Democrat Charlie Stuart, who hopes to unseat Republican Rep. Ric Keller in Florida, already has said he opposes Mrs. Pelosi and would prefer Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the more conservative No. 2 Democrat in the House whose strained relations with Mrs. Pelosi have been well-chronicled on Capitol Hill.

"He's a centrist," Stuart spokeswoman Sultana Ali said of the Florida Democrat. "His values really are more in line with Steny Hoyer than Nancy Pelosi."
Really? So Stuart also values bigotry against black Republicans? That's too bad.

Look, let's not kid ourselves here. "Moderate" Dem House candidates fear that their opponents will (rightfully) assert that a vote for Dem X is a vote for Speaker Pelosi, so they're trying to either (a) publicly refuse to support her, or (b) publicly refuse to "commit"...which means they'd end up committing. When it comes to organization of both chambers of Congress, party loyalty is strictly enforced.

In the unlikely event that the above scenario occurs, what would happen?
Such protest votes are a sign of dissension within a party. But in the upcoming Congress -- where Democrats could hold the majority by just one or two seats -- any members who vote for someone other than Mrs. Pelosi or simply decide not to vote could trigger parliamentary mayhem.

If Mrs. Pelosi were to fail to win, the speakership would go to the highest vote-getter, most likely Mr. Hastert. Democrats would later win it back by settling on a leader after an intraparty showdown that could pit Mrs. Pelosi against Mr. Hoyer.
How weird, albeit temporary, would it be for a Dem-controlled House to have Speaker Hastert? At any rate, it's all speculation and makes for entertaining conversation, just like my prior post about Senate predictions. Gives us political junkies time to kill before Nov. 7.