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Pelosi's Opposition: C Street Dem Who's Anti-Choice

The next election that matters: the battle for who will lead House Democrats. The outcome will show just how far to the right Democrats are willing to move.

Remember the words, "Stupak Amendment?"  Keep those in mind as you read further.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced that she would place herself in the running to become House minority leader when Congress reconvenes. 

California's Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, was in large part responsible for ensuring the success of virtually every piece of legislation passed during the Obama Administration, including health care reform.  Some bills that succeeded in the House failed in the Senate due to lack of effective action to pass them.  Pelosi did not allow this to happen in the House whlie she held the gavel in her hand.

While clearly elements of some of these laws leave something to be desired--such as the ban on coverage for abortion care in private insurance policies--Pelosi's ability to navigate and garner majority votes from an often fractious Democratic majority has won accolades even from opponents. 

Pelosi also endured--seemingly without batting an eyelash--a flood of mean-spirited and sexist campaigns against her by both Republican and Tea Party actors seeking to vilify her through the use of imagery and strategies devised by people with the maturity level of sixth graders, and in what could only be described as a bid to distract from their own lack of ideas, lack of experience, lack of true leadership ability, or all of the above.

Pelosi, however, is being challenged by none other than Congressman Heath Shuler, D-N.C., a good-ol'-boy conservative southern Blue Dog Democrat. According to the Washington Post:

A fiscally-conservative Blue Dog, Shuler opposed the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street in 2008, President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill and the March 2010 health-care reform, caslling it too expensive. He was so diametrically opposed to the Democratic agenda at times that Politico said he was on top of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) “disfavor list.” Thrush, Glenn, “Pelosi’s list: Who’s on her bad side?”, March 2, 2009 (2)

Shuler is also anti-choice, with an 85 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.  And he's proud of it.  I'm not sure whether this is "worse," but according to Jeff Sharlet, he also is a member of the "C Street crowd." He of course voted for the Stupak Amendment in the health reform bill, but after it was in there, opposed passage of the final bill

Shuler was joined today by what a Roll Call headline ominously stated was "more Democrats" calling for her to step down totalling all of...."more Democrats" translating to two more men.

One is Congressman Albio Sires, D-N.J., and the other is Dan Boren, D-Okla.

Calling Pelosi a "lightening rod," Sires also said:

I think she’s been a very strong leader, I support her, but the result of this election shows we need some new direction and I think the best way is for her to move on." 

Boren, also a Blue Dog conservative, released a statement Friday saying he would not support Pelosi to lead the Caucus.

“I cannot in good conscience support Nancy Pelosi as Leader,” Boren said. “I intend to support a more conservative Democrat alternative.”

According to a Washington Post profile:

Given Oklahoma’s centrist ideological leanings, Boren walks a fine line politically — one that often strays far from the Democratic Party. He’s often frustrated the House Democratic leadership with votes against major Democratic initiatives, and even refused to explicitly endorse Barack Obama after he won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination. "Dan Boren won’t endorse Obama,” Associated Press, June 10, 2008. (3)"Dan Boren won’t endorse Obama,” Associated Press, June 10, 2008. He has been targeted by national labor groups for his position against the Employee Free Choice Act, which labor argues would make it harder to unionize. But on the other side of the political spectrum, Boren has support from gun-rights groups as he sits on the board of the National Rifle Association.