Licking their wounds, House Democrats lash out at Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

The 2014 elections were not kind to House Democrats. Republicans now have their largest majority in over 60 years, and some in the Democrats’ dwindling minority are looking for someone to blame.

Barack Obama is the obvious first choice. He said a little more than a month before Election Day that, though he wasn’t on the ballot, ‘[his] policies [were] on the ballot. Every single one of them.” How’d that pan out? Earlier this year, Nancy Pelosi said Obamacare would be a “winner” for Democrats on Election Day, but polling shows Obamacare’s popularity is still on the decline as premiums continue to rise.

And now that the dust has mostly settled on the 2014, House Democrats are taking out their frustrations on Pelosi, who has held a firm grip on the Democratic caucus since 2003 when she was first elected to lead her party in the House.

POLITICO reports:

The discontent with Nancy Pelosi is breaking out in the open.

Democrats in the House have quietly grumbled about Pelosi since suffering devastating losses on Election Day, but there is a growing number of members willing to go public on their party leaders.

The list of grievances — from the election losses, to routine procedures erupting into nasty fights — has shaken the confidence many Democrats hold in their leader. So while Pelosi will be unchallenged for the top House Democratic post on Tuesday during a closed-door party meeting, the incoming minority leader is about to be in the worst position with her caucus since the end of their short-lived majority in 2010.

One fight that has broken out among House Democrats in the wake of their 2014 defeats would likely seem trivial as a procedural matter under any other circumstances. Illinois Democrat and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth is expecting a child and asked Pelosi if she could vote by proxy from Illinois on Democrat leadership elections.

Pelosi denied Duckworth the opportunity, noting a “slippery slope” where Members begin missing important votes with doctor’s notes. Pelosi also said she didn’t understand the “fuss” over this procedural vote. Members have never been allowed to vote by proxy.

Defeated, Duckworth issued a statement, which read:

I submitted a request to the caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy. The caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy. I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered.

This is just one of a number of public disagreements between rank-and-file Democrats and Pelosi, who expects to win her caucus’ support for Minority Leader. Pelosi also indicated that she sought the top spot for House Democrats once again because the Democrats lost seats in the 2014 election, reasoning at which a number of anonymouse Democrats scoffed.

UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi was re-elected to lead the House Democrats through 2016.

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