But Pelosi had little trouble repelling the challenge from Shuler, one of the relatively-conservative Blue Dog Democrats who saw their numbers decimated in the midterms. The vote was 150 for Pelosi to 43 for Shuler.She led the party out of the wilderness but under her leadership, she led them right back in. Heaven forbid any of these clueless Dems stop to ponder the possibility that passing massive pieces of unpopular legislation was really the problem.
In a sign of Pelosi's strength, Democrats voted 129-68 to proceed to a vote today over objections from those who sought a delay in order to have more time to mount a viable challenge to Pelosi.
In making his case to the Democratic caucus today, Shuler said the Democratic Party needs to be a "big tent" party. He argued that it can't take back the majority without a change in direction, according to a Democratic aide who was in the room. Utah's Jim Matheson, a Blue Dog who argues "it's time to shake things up" in the wake of the midterm losses, nominated Shuler.
Pelosi has argued that she should remain in the leadership in part because she knows how to lead Democrats out of the political wilderness, having done so four years ago. She also argues that she is the most effective fundraiser for members of the caucus. She blames the party's losses on the country's lingering economic troubles and high unemployment rate, not her leadership.
Still, this is incredible news for Republicans. Leaving Pelosi, Reid and Obama in place as the face of a liberal Democrat Party is nearly as shortsighted as passing that health care law and far less damaging - to the country anyway. For Democrats, hoping the independents they lost in droves this last cycle will forget the midnight Christmas eve votes and that comical gavel, Pelosi's continued presence in leadership is the nightmare they deserve.