Twilight of Pelosi?
Nancy Pelosi's list of allies grows ever thinner with the decision of New Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews to resign from Congress for a job with a law firm. This could mean more than an open seat in a solidly Democrat district. As Michael Barone recently noted, The Democratic class of 1974 passes from the scene:
Pelosi says she is staying on, even as her ally Waxman and her consigliere Miller leave the House. The 201-member caucus she leads has more black and Hispanic members and fewer young doves and reformers than the 291-member caucus Waxman and Miller entered nearly 40 year ago.
Barone also notes that after the 1974 wave election, veteran San Franciso Congressman Phil Burton worked with the anti-war newcomers to reform the structure of congressional committees. This pushed Congressional Democrats solidly to the left as seniority became less important than support inside the caucus.
While Nancy Pelosi wasn't elected until 1987, she is very much a member of the Class of 1974 in her political attitudes. Pelosi holds the seat Burton once held. According to her biographers, both Congessman Burton and then his widow Sala, who was elected after her husband's death, repeatedly urged Pelosi to run for Congress. Pelosi won the special election to fill Sala Burton's seat after her death. In office Pelosi has continued the leftward pressure on Democrats in Congress begun by Burton and his allies in 1975. This culminated in ramming through Obamacare, unread, and with no Republican support.
With her long time Congressional allies now finding other pursuits more compelling and with early indications of a rough election cycle ahead, will the Democrat caucus in January 2015 still support Nancy Pelosi's leadership?