Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 13, 2010

HOUSE DEMS SETTLE LEADERSHIP DISPUTE.... The last thing House Democrats wanted to do was start the post-election season with a bitter, intra-party dispute over leadership posts. But one has nevertheless been simmering on the Hill over the last week, with four people vying for three posts.

The House minority traditionally has three leadership positions: Minority Leader, Minority Whip, and Conference Chair. Outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is slated to get the top slot, and Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) will apparently stay on in his current post. But outgoing Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and outgoing Majority Whip James Clyburn both want to be Minority Whip.

Pelosi signaled the other day her desire to strike some kind of deal. Last night, one came together.

Top House Democrats said late Friday night that they had settled on an arrangement that avoided a divisive fight for the No. 2 position in the party when it reverts to the minority in January.

In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would nominate Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina to be the No. 3 Democrat when the party holds an internal party election on Wednesday.

In other words, it was a game of musical chairs, in which someone was going to get left out, so Dems added a chair. Hoyer will be Whip and Clyburn will get a newly-created position.

It's not clear, at least not yet, exactly what this new leadership post will entail -- or what it'll be called -- but Pelosi's office said last night that the post will rank above caucus chair in the hierarchy, keeping Clyburn at #3. Larson gets to stay in the leadership, though his post is slightly less important now, and Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who was concerned about getting squeezed out, will remain as conference vice chair.

In the process, Dems have avoided "a divisive leadership battle" and will vote to approve this new slate on Wednesday.

If only negotiating with Republicans were this easy.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Comments

And what is the questions concerning having Speaker Pelosi as leader?

Posted by: Sharon Hale-Jenkins on November 13, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi has better negotiating skills than just about anyone in Congress but she settled a disagreement with people who wanted to find a solution. As the Republicans have shown in the last 4 years, you can't negotiate with a side that views winning as saying "no" to everything.
The Rs got what they wanted, now we see if "no" is any sort of program. The only thing they want, and they've said it, is for Obama to lose.

Posted by: Tom M on November 13, 2010 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm very glad that Nancy's staying on as Minority Leader. Hoyer, on the other hand, uhm, not so much... But, I trust Pelosi's judgement. Much more than almost anyone on the Democratic side. She's a fighter. And without her, Obama would have nothing to show for almost 2 years. She will go down in history as one of the all time great Speakers. And that's why the Republicans wanted someone else in the Minority Leader position.
GIVE 'EM HELL, NANCY!!!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 13, 2010 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

OK, c u n d gulag, I don't have the citations, but, I did read, last week, at HuffPo about several Progressives supporting Hoyer due to his financial help in their campaigns. Yes, he is too much of a Centrist, but, perhaps, he is needed to provide some leverage with more conservative members.

But, will Rush call this new position the "Rush Chair"? He really "Cares" ever sooo much about racial equality.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 13, 2010 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Tom M wasted no time in divining the root of intractable partisan posturing . That is just what it is , as it was said
...you can't negotiate with a side that views winning as saying "no" to everything .
So good on ya Boehner and company its your turn to try to make sense out of the Republican chaos . If only being a toady was as glorious as shining a lobbyists shoes , eh ?

Posted by: FRP on November 13, 2010 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

berttheclock,
Thanks for the info. Like I said, I trust Pelosi's judgement.

As for the "Rush Chair," the only chair he wants African-Americans sitting in is one of the electric variety.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 13, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Now that we have the deck chairs re-arranged on the S.S. Democracy, could someone please climb up to the crow's nest and see if there are any ice bergs ahead?

Posted by: DAY on November 13, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

It's not clear, at least not yet, exactly what this new leadership post will entail -- or what it'll be called -- but Pelosi's office said last night that the post will rank above caucus chair in the hierarchy, keeping Clyburn at #3.

So we're unnecessarily adding more layers of bureaucracy without even knowing what that bureaucrat will be doing in order to appease a group of 5-year....I mean United States Senators? Kinda gives me a new level of respect for the Republicans. At least they told Bachmann to get lost instead of creating made-up feel good position for her.

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on November 13, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

DAY @ 8:49

The impending 2 year freeze will crush the hull in place. The S.S. Democracy ends at the bottom of the ocean with all the R's in lifeboats. (my crystal ball is iced over, I can't make out much more than that)

Posted by: Kevin (not the famous one) on November 13, 2010 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

AndThenTheresThat:

The Repubs made up a position for an incoming *freshman* Tea Partier to appease the TPers (and, as a freshman, that person will have absolutely zero power anyway) rather than make up a position for Bachmann. Same thing. . .

Posted by: Michigoose on November 13, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

If Pelosi worked so hard to prevent a showdown between Hoyer and Clyburn that tells me that she wasn't certain of the outcome if either lost.
So, just what are the duties of the Minority Whip? How many of said duties could be hived off to provide for Clyburn? Would such a reduction in Hoyer's duties have the added bonus of reducing his power(base)? Without neutering the Whip, of course.
Inquiring minds would like to know...

Posted by: Doug on November 13, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
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