Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jay Cost explains why “Dump Pelosi” is a Red Herring

Jay Cost over at The Weekly Standard explains why “Dump Pelosi” is a Red Herring:
But let’s be clear about one thing: Nancy Pelosi is not the problem with the Democratic caucus in the United States House of Representatives. Rather, her speakership is a symptom of the problem, which is that the power structure in the party caucus is tilted far to the left of the swing voters who empowered congressional Democrats back in 2006.

The root of the problem is the organization of the Democratic vote across the 435 congressional districts, as seen in this bar chart:

If you are wondering why a political party elected to fix the economy instead committed itself to a massively unpopular health care reform that has been a liberal dream since 1946, this graph is a big part of the answer. Sixty-nine House districts gave Obama 70 percent of the vote or more (compared to 21 districts that went so heavily for George W. Bush in 2004). The Democrats in these districts occupy the safest districts in the entire country. No Republican wave can possibly breach their defenses. Accordingly, their political incentives revolve entirely around liberal pressure groups and Democratic clients like the labor unions – and not at all around the swing voters who determine control of the government. They are free to chase the ghosts of FDR, Truman, and LBJ, so long as organized labor supports it.

Reinforcing this structure is the fact that the House caucus operates on a seniority system, at least by and large. Because these members from far left districts are undefeatable, they tend to be the most senior, and thus chair the important committees...
The Lizard Lady, Nancy Pelosi, will retain her power within the Democrat House caucus regardless of the vote on November 2nd.

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