“Does it mean they were so dirty we can never put a woman in a position of leadership? No, I don’t think that’s the right response,” Shea-Porter said. “I think the response is you stand up there and say, ‘Look, attack her on issues, that’s fine. Attack any one of us on issues, that’s democracy. But when you’re putting her in New Hampshire Senate lit when she doesn’t have any issues there, there’s another force at play.’”
Republicans are showing little sign of backing off a tactic that contributed to historic gains in the 2010 cycle. The Republican National Committee, which did a “Fire Pelosi” bus tour this summer, hung a large red banner with that message on the RNC headquarters across from the Capitol South Metro station all summer. When Pelosi announced her bid for the Minority Leader spot, they swapped it out for a “Hire Pelosi” sign.
The National Republican Congressional Committee declined to comment on Pelosi’s election Wednesday, but NRCC spokesman Ken Spain referred back to a press release saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”
The release quipped his party is “happy to oblige” Democrats if they are “willing to sacrifice more of their members in 2012 for the glory of Nancy Pelosi.”
Don’t put ousted Florida 2nd district Rep. Allen Boyd in that category. Boyd said keeping Pelosi as the face of the party would discourage defeated Members to run again and scare off strong new candidates.
“At some point you have to put your personal agenda and ambitions aside for the good of the country,” Boyd said of Pelosi. “The truth is Nancy Pelosi’s season has passed.”
Defeated 10-term Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.) faced near-constant criticism for his ties to Pelosi even though they were on opposite sides of the political spectrum. His Republican challenger, Rep.-elect Steve Palazzo, used C-SPAN footage of Taylor’s 2009 vote for Pelosi as Speaker on his campaign Web site.
Taylor, who rarely voted with Democrats on major issues, said he probably would not consider running again, in large part because of the potential drag of Pelosi and Obama.
“It was bad enough, and she wasn’t even on the ballot,” he said. “She was obviously a factor. I just don’t think I want to be on the ballot with Barack Obama in Mississippi in 2012.”
National Democrats may not be rooting for Taylor to try again. Regaining seats such as Bright’s and Taylor’s in the deepest red districts in the South won’t be easy, which is one reason the White House and others are reaching out to New England Members who lost and looking toward close races to try to persuade defeated Democrats to mount comeback bids.
This cycle, a number of defeated Republican House Members did just that, launching renewed bids for seats they lost in 2006 in a Democratic wave as they had to run from their party’s own unpopular leader, President George W. Bush. The Republicans returning to Congress include Reps.-elect Tim Walberg (Mich.), Charlie Bass (N.H.) and Steve Chabot (Ohio).
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