I am amazed at reading that Nancy Pelosi will try to remain as minority leader in the House Democrats group. In other words, the GOP needs little bit more than to name its candidate for 2012, half of the election job already done for him/her. In that article from the WaPo we actually read that the Pelosi camp is squarely putting the blame on Obama, making us wonder what the heck is going on within the democratic party, if they are now suicidal.
I do not want to speculate much on Pelosi and her gang reasons but right off the bat my instincts and significant knowledge of history tell me that it is a real, real bad move. Most historical examples I can think of when a seriously defeated leader tries to hang on to power end up badly for this one and the "coalition" he represents.
First, she is going against US tradition: House leaders have resigned their position for much less than the defeat the Democrats received yesterweek. She can only come as petty, vindictive and worse of it: un-stateman like (the last one not surprising for me at the way she dished out Colombia). That cannot possibly help.
Second, whether ones like it, it is irrelevant: the Liberals have been defeated last week and the only hope for the Democrats to retain control of at least the White House is to move to the center. With Pelosi in charge this is nearly impossible. In fact, it might force a dangerous split at presidential primary time with a moderate running against Obama and wrecking the campaign. That happened in reverse in 1979 when Kennedy run against Carter, with the only result being a marked Republican dominance for the best part of the three decades that followed. A comfortable GOP victory in 2012, including retaking of the Senate, will result in a two term GOP president and no hope to retake the Senate until at the very least 2016.
Third, and worse in my view, she will radicalize further Congress being the perfect punching ball for the Tea Party in its objective to take over the GOP by 2012. A radicalization IS NOT what the US needs in these difficult times!!!! See what happened in Venezuela in 2003-2004 to see an example on how radicalization in times of crisis only make things overall worse. On the other hand, she could push enough democrats in the arms of moderate republicans and they will create a center of sorts to resist the Tea Party. As such we would not be talking of 8 years of GOP White House, but maybe 16.
Since this is a blog about Venezuela I will give you the connection now. Pelosi was reelected with 80%+ from San Francisco district, arguably the most Liberal district in the country, surrounded in the map by a few other blue districts where democrats never fall below 60%. In other words she comes from a political ghetto and that is never a good idea for a majority leader to come from too safe a seat. A House leader, in my opinion, should come from a seat where s/he needs to campaign a little bit every election, to make sure they get at least 60%. You know, to keep the balance, a contact with reality. When you commute all the time between San Francisco and DC you forget too easily how it works in switch districts from the South, for example.....
That is exactly what went on with the Venezuelan opposition too centered in Eastern Caracas or the plateau of Globovision. Only when UNT from Maracaibo got its act together and non Caracas based PODEMOS decided to make a common political front did the Venezuelan opposition started mounting a more credible challenge to Chavez. Even PJ knows that as it is finally starting to become more than a Metro Caracas party: the honorable second place finish of Guanipa in Maracaibo primary a couple of weeks ago would not have been possibel if PJ had not started running more serious candidates in the provinces. That is the way to take power, to build a coalition that is based nation wide, with its strongholds and weak spots perhaps but PRESENT everywhere (where UNT seems to have faltered last September by the way, remaining to Maracaibo centered after all).
In Venezuela for example the opposition needs to find a way to weaken chavista hold in the Llanos to strengthen its chances. In the US if Pelosi remains minority leader the Democratic party will be based mostly in the North East and the Pacific West. The rest will go Republican. Even blueish areas of the Mid Atlantic will become pinker as the GOP will not mind filing a few moderate candidates there if necessary (Obama's seat went GOP, by the way... so the Midwest is already undergoing the pinkification process). Moderate GOP folks will tend to vote GOP when it matters, such as Court appointments, so they can be left to vote against the party in other issues if necessary.
Nancy, you need to go because you remaining there will end affecting Venezuela: your presence will make the US drift towards more navel gazing and we all will pay the price.