Via The Hill Blog. In the ongoing internal struggle to determine who should lead the Democrats through their mandatory journey through the wilderness of electoral defeat, battles are being fought on several different fronts. In the weeks after the election, shell-shocked Blue Dogs voiced near unanimous distaste over the election of soon-to-be former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader.
Pelosi’s announcement that she’d be seeking the leadership position pushed the number two and number three men in the House, Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, into a potential battle for minority whip. Hoyer of course is rich white dude; Clyburn is a black man from a poverty stricken southern state (it’s not really, but that’s their meme so let’s run with it).
To resolve and avoid such a nasty fight, Pelosi agreed to create a new position in the Democrat Caucus and name Clyburn to it, allowing him to keep a leadership position. But the Congressional Black Caucus is apparently still not satisfied, and is suggesting their caucus may not support Pelosi.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the black caucus, told The Hill on Monday evening (site down) that she was "reserving judgment" about Pelosi's leadership candidacy.
The CBC is particularly looking to study the deal Pelosi had cut over the weekend to keep Clyburn in the third-ranking position of the House Democratic leadership by creating a new position to which the outgoing whip would have to be elected. CBC members had hoped Clyburn would remain in the position of whip, the second-ranking job in the minority. Under the deal created by Pelosi, outgoing Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would become the new whip.
Overnight, this story, confirming the first, broke at CNN.com:
The Congressional Black Caucus has decided to withhold its approval for the House Democratic leadership team, denying Speaker Nancy Pelosi full support of the 42-member organization as she campaigns to remain leader.
After a nearly two hour long meeting on Monday night, chairwoman Barbara Lee of California said the group only will endorse caucus member James Clyburn of South Carolina for a leadership position. The causus first wants to know what his role will be in the Democratic leadership before backing the full slate.
"We fully support our current Whip, Mr. Clyburn, for the number three position and we are currently reserving judgment on the entire package until we see what the actual portfolio entails, in terms of responsibilities," Lee said.
If there are still enough Blue Dogs willing to walk out on Pelosi, and if the CBC presents a united no-support front, Madam Speaker’s days in the leadership of the Democrat Caucus may be limited.
When the Caucus does its private vote (possibly as early as this week), it will be interesting to see who emerges as House Minority Leader.