The Beat: House minority leader Heath Shuler?

The Beat: House minority leader Heath Shuler?-attachment0

In the media fallout after Tuesday’s elections, Western North Carolina’s victorious Democratic incumbent congressman Heath Shuler has been making national headlines by declaring his plans to take on Nancy Pelosi to be House minority leader.

“If there’s not a viable alternative [to Pelosi] — like I said all along — I can go recruit moderate members to run in swing districts,”  Shuler said in an interview that was reported by the Huffington Post and other outlets. “In that situation, I could do it better than she could, and that’s what it’s going to take. It’s going to take moderate candidates to win back those seats.”

The next day, the Los Angeles Times declared “Nancy Pelosi to Run for House Minority Leader,” seemingly giving Shuler little choice but to honor his word and take her on.

Several conservative Democrats – including fellow Blue Dog Caucus leader Jim Matheson, have already said they won’t support her bid – although Republicans relished the prospect of being able to use her as a foil again in the 2012 election cycle.

“Given that there are now 60-plus defeated Democrat House members urgently seeking jobs due to Nancy Pelosi’s failed leadership, we welcome her decision to run for House Minority Leader based on her proven ability to create jobs for Republican lawmakers,” said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Whether Shuler defeats her or not, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported that “Blue Dog Democrats’ Rout May Not Hurt Rep. Heath Shuler.”

Despite the fiscally conservative Blue Dog coalition’s loss of at least 28 of its 54 members, Chris Cooper, director of the Public Policy Institute at Western Carolina University, told the daily paper that it’s not all bad news for the remaining moderates.

“He’s probably in a better position than a lot of Democrats are because he is a conservative Democrat and made no bones about it,” Cooper said. “He could come out smelling pretty nice because he’s the kind of Democrat who could maintain some power, even in the minority party.” 

According to Politico’s “Blue Dog Wipeout: Half of Caucus Gone,” the remaining members of the caucus “see incoming Speaker John Boehner’s desire to attract Democratic votes for legislation — both for the political leverage afforded by bipartisanship and to let Republican “no” voters off the hook — as an opportunity to be part of the debate and to show distance from Democratic orthodoxy.”

Republican House party

Back in the North Carolina State House, the Associated Press reported that “NC GOP Gets a Historic Chance with Redistricting.”

According to the article, “The Republican sweep at the N.C. General Assembly means more than just control of the House and Senate for the next two years after being out of power almost continuously for more than a century.

“The GOP can expand its influence in 2011 because it will get to redraw district boundaries for the Legislature and the state’s congressional seats based on this year’s census data,” the article explained. “Their legislative leaders will get every opportunity to pen districts that would protect the majority through 2020.”

It’s unclear at this point how redistricting could effect Buncombe, which will be represented in the new session by incumbent Democrats Susan Fisher and Patsy Keever, as well as newly elected Republican Tim Moffitt

Let it snow

In a rare occurrence of a very different nature, the mountains of Western North Carolina saw an early November snowfall last week.

WLOS reported in “Cataloochee Area Gets Coating of Snow,” that the higher elevations of of Haywood County got about 4 inches of accumulation. Combined with the unseasonably cold weather that allowed them to make man-made snow, the Cataloochee Ski Area was able to open for the season on Nov. 6, one of the earliest opening days in its history. Sugar Mountain Ski Resort in Banner Elk, NC also opened that day, which was three weeks earlier than opening day last season and just one day shy of Sugar’s earliest recorded opening on Nov. 5, back in 1976.

Winter weather haters still reeling from last year’s record snow and cold should have no fear this year, however, according to “RaysWeather.Com Winter 2010-11 Fearless Forecast.” This year the web outlet predicted that Asheville will experience less snow and higher temperatures than normal.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

40 thoughts on “The Beat: House minority leader Heath Shuler?

  1. Hoyer will be running for minority whip against Clyburn. That leaves only Shuler and Pelosi in the number one party leadership contest at this point.
    ……………………..

  2. gary5058

    to recover from the loss suffered at the hands of nancy pelosi the party will need heath and many more like him.say what you mean and mean what you say.

  3. Barry Summers

    the remaining members of the caucus “see incoming Speaker John Boehner’s desire to attract Democratic votes for legislation — both for the political leverage afforded by bipartisanship and to let Republican “no” voters off the hook — as an opportunity to be part of the debate and to show distance from Democratic orthodoxy.”

    Meaning the “Blue Dogs” will be eager to stab progressives in the back to curry favor with their new orange alien leader.

    “One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.”

    — Kent Brockman, The Simpsons

  4. Darlene

    In contrast to the Blue Dog losses, something like 95% of the House Progressive Caucus was re-elected. Maybe this will finally be the lesson that teaches Democrats they have to stand for something or they’ll fall for anything?

  5. R.Bernier

    The end game right now is that the progressives in Asheville has no pull with Mr.Shuler now.

    Shuler has came out like a Republican – while downtown Asheville may look like Nancy’s home
    town.

    Progressives have no choice but go alone with republican like congressman.

    Will Mr.Shuler run – maybe, if he has time to get away from his hunting trip for wild hogs.

    RB

    Guns….Ummmm I can hear the progressives now…

  6. Lamont Cranston

    “R.Bernier”:

    Progressives have no pull??

    No, I think its Blue Dog Heath that has “no pull”. Wasn’t the bloodbath mainly with the Blue Dog Democrats with fleas?? Yes it was, so now let’s not get to excited about Heath leading the Democrats as that’s about a real as … Well you get the idea. As for going along with the Republicans….I refer to my prior comment and the results it gave the Blue Dogs who now have their resume out there looking for work. If Miller weren’t worse than Shuler, then Heath would have lost as well.

    And by the way, this “Progressive” enjoys, and understands the responsibilities along with his privilege with regards to owning guns (CCW, as well – GOT SIG?)… So let’s not assume that we don’t exist, and making generalities, and stereotypes about gun ownership, and who is what.

  7. Barry Summers

    Gosh, who could’ve predicted this? Tea Party favorite Rand Paul now says he’s OK with earmarks. What? You say you thought he was against them when he was running for the Senate? You must have misheard him. This, from the incredibly liberal Wall Street Journal:

    In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad “symbol” of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it’s doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. “I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he says.

    So you’re not a crazy libertarian? “Not that crazy,” he cracks.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704353504575596591626268782.html

    Are you crazy enough to stick to the principles that got you elected and therefore jeopardize your re-election?

    “Not that crazy,” he cracks.

    How’s that hopey-changy thing workin’ for ya, Teabaggers?

  8. Demtothecore

    Darlene,

    You bring up the fact that “95% of progressives won on Tuesday”. Did you ever stop to consider that those seats have a huge registration and voting advantage for the democrats…in fact many only had token opposition. Whereas the seats we lost were made up of republican leaning districts, districts obama did not win, or areas where independents make up such a large part of the electorate that neither party has a foothold there.

    Its easy to throw stones when you have a safe democratic district…And since we are in the minority now because many democrats didn’t get off their butt and vote around the country…we only have ourselves to blame.

  9. notbuyingyourfacade

    ‘demtothecore’ is clearly a highly inaccurate moniker.

  10. Ken Hanke

    demtothecore’ is clearly a highly inaccurate moniker.

    Are you implying the fellow would stoop to chicanery?

  11. Piffy!

    [b]Are you implying the fellow would stoop to chicanery? [/b]

    Not that he ‘would’, but that he did.

  12. Ken Hanke

    Not that he ‘would’, but that he did.

    Well, that’s alright then. I notice a significant — and unchecked and apparently unmonitored — influx of sock puppets, shills and ringers post-election. I suppose somebody considers this desirable or “community dialogue.” I do not share either opinion.

  13. Barry Summers

    Well, that’s alright then. I notice a significant—and unchecked and apparently unmonitored—influx of sock puppets, shills and ringers post-election. I suppose somebody considers this desirable or “community dialogue.” I do not share either opinion.

    I agree with everything you say, Ken. And that Barry Summers guy is pretty sharp too.

  14. Margaret Williams

    Ken & PIffy: There aren’t enough hours in the day to track down folks who have time to endlessly mindlessly create sockpuppets etc, particularly those who avoid registering as an MX member (in the interest of community dialogue, illusive though it may be, we don’t require people to register in order to comment; so to make everyone register would be throwing out the babies with the bathwater).

    Of course, unmoderated folks get in quite a few digs that push the policy too, which isn’t particularly fair.

    Stay on topic, please.

  15. Margaret Williams

    Arry-bay Ummer-say? Feeling a little pig-Latinish today?

    OK, that’s off topic too.

    No one’s mentioned the snow and early opening for local ski resorts.

  16. Ken Hanke

    Ken & PIffy: There aren’t enough hours in the day to track down folks who have time to endlessly mindlessly create sockpuppets

    Would you like a list?

  17. Piffy!

    [b]There aren’t enough hours in the day to track down folks who have time to endlessly mindlessly create sockpuppets etc,[/b]

    But the fact that they have been ‘cleared’ by a ‘moderator’ is the part that makes me questions said ‘commitment to community dialogue’.

  18. Barry Summers

    Ken & PIffy: There aren’t enough hours in the day to track down folks who have time to endlessly mindlessly create sockpuppets

    Apparently Ken has a few extra hours laying around…

  19. Margaret Williams

    Always open to more lists. We have one already of suspected sockpuppets, previously banned peeps, IP addresses and more. But being suspected of sockpuppeting etc isn’t necessarily enough to get moderated or banned.

    In any case: What about the Republicans’ historic majority in the NC General Assembly?

  20. Barry Summers

    In any case: What about the Republicans’ historic majority in the NC General Assembly?

    Yawn.

    How can we make this thread about Tom Peck?

  21. Margaret Williams

    Yawn? Obviously you’re not a political junky. This thread will not be about Tom Peck, BTW. Old news, that line.

  22. Ken Hanke

    Always open to more lists. We have one already of suspected sockpuppets, previously banned peeps, IP addresses and more

    Try mentioning John Waters to Bunky D. and see what happens.

  23. Barry Summers

    Try mentioning John Waters to Bunky D. and see what happens

    “Pecker”?

  24. Margaret Williams

    Bunky D is the famous director? I’ve underestimated him. Her. Whatever.

  25. Margaret Williams

    And now Barry-ish, your moniker looks like a serial killer’s name. Just sayin’

  26. Ken Hanke

    Try mentioning John Waters to Bunky D. and see what happens

    “Pecker”?

    Next time he posts some off-the-wall, generally off-topic comment, as him what he thinks of John Waters. Just give it a shot.

  27. Margaret Williams

    Should I be scared? (Y’all are pulling me off topic, aren’t you? I may have to moderate myself. Or say goodbye now.)

  28. bobaloo

    the seats we lost were made up of republican leaning districts, districts obama did not win, or areas where independents make up such a large part of the electorate that neither party has a foothold there.

    Its easy to throw stones when you have a safe democratic district…And since we are in the minority now because many democrats didn’t get off their butt and vote around the country…we only have ourselves to blame.

    This is logical and correct, IMO. Blue Dogs lost seats in Republican leaning areas. That’s why they were “Blue Dogs” to begin with.

    And it doesn’t make sense that the reason Dems lost is because Dems didn’t vote?
    One of my more liberal friends bemoaned the massive Tea Party/Republican surge. I asked him if he voted. “Yeah, I wrote in the Green Party.”
    *facepalm

  29. Ken Hanke

    Blue Dogs lost seats in Republican leaning areas. That’s why they were “Blue Dogs” to begin with.

    And Blue Dogs don’t exactly electrify Democrats to get out and vote. God knows, I’ve never actually voted for Heath Shuler. I’ve voted against the people he was running against.

  30. Barry Summers

    And Blue Dogs don’t exactly electrify Democrats to get out and vote.

    The truly depressing thing is that Shuler and the Pups are treating this drubbing like a mandate to move even farther to the right. In fact, the magnitude of this loss can be laid at the feet of the so-called moderates who prevented any real change, and sold out to the chimera of “compromise” (surrender, sellout, co-conspiracy…) with the hard right of the Republicans. No wonder so many Democrats stayed home, yet the Shulers of the House claim if we only move a little more to the Right, people will come back in droves.

    Reeeiiiicchh…

  31. bobaloo

    The truly depressing thing is that Shuler and the Pups are treating this drubbing like a mandate to move even farther to the right.

    In what way? By Shuler opposing Pelosi? Clearly Pelosi has been a complete failure as one of the Democratic party leaders. Aside from that I haven’t heard of any policy changes by the (few remaining) Blue Dogs.

    the magnitude of this loss can be laid at the feet of the so-called moderates who prevented any real change, and sold out to the chimera of “compromise” (surrender, sellout, co-conspiracy…) with the hard right of the Republicans.

    No, I’m pretty sure it’s because:

    so many Democrats stayed home

    I truly understand the bitter disappointment liberals feel when it comes to not having their every wish fulfilled in the 18 months since the Left has controlled both Congress and the White House, but it’s the voters and folks like you Barry (who believe that everyone who isn’t a certified liberal is a “sellout” or “co-conspirator”) who are to blame for the loss.

  32. Barry Summers

    the magnitude of this loss can be laid at the feet of the so-called moderates who prevented any real change, and sold out to the chimera of “compromise” (surrender, sellout, co-conspiracy…) with the hard right of the Republicans.

    No, I’m pretty sure it’s because:

    so many Democrats stayed home

    Maybe you missed my point, bobaloo, even as you helped make it.

    A (Democrats surrendering to Republican obstructionism, thereby disappointing Democratic voters) naturally led to

    B (Democrats staying home).

    And the “Left” hasn’t been controlling Congress or the White House for the past two years, it’s been the latest intramural squad from the Corporatist Party. They betrayed the Left, just as the other squad has and will again betray you on the Right.

  33. bobaloo

    Maybe you missed my point, bobaloo, even as you helped make it.

    Perhaps, but when you say

    the other squad has and will again betray you on the Right.

    you are proving my point. I’m not on the right, at least according to my belief of what’s right and left. I’m a Dem, I didn’t stay home, I voted Dem. My liberal friends stayed home, apparently too disgusted that Kucinich and Grayson haven’t been solely dictating policy for the past 18 months.
    This is how the left and right mirror each other. Tea Partiers bitch about RINO’s, Progressives bitch about moderate Dems.

    (Note: I am NOT equating the positions or tactics of the Tea Party with those of the Progressives, but I am equating the purity tests both groups afflict upon those they should be allied with)

  34. Piffy!

    [b](Note: I am NOT equating the positions or tactics of the Tea Party with those of the Progressives, but I am equating the purity tests both groups afflict upon those they should be allied with) [/b]

    While I see your point about the need to ‘compromise’ in the context of the political arena, I question the logic behind the idea that the social conservatives have anything in common, in reality, with the fiscal conservatives. The two ideas, though often packaged together, don’t really have much in common, besides a purported dislike of ‘liberals’.

  35. Barry Summers

    My liberal friends stayed home, apparently too disgusted that Kucinich and Grayson haven’t been solely dictating policy for the past 18 months.

    This is the type of caricature that makes me doubt your self-positioning on the ‘left-right’ scale (which is of limited relevance when talking about a political system that is dominated by a two-headed single party.)

    I consider myself to be a ‘liberal’, I have met and interviewed Dennis Kucinich, and I have his picture from that interview hanging on my wall as I speak. But I am not “disgusted that he hasn’t been solely dictating policy”. He and others like Grayson say things that need to be said, and they are certainly entertaining. But I don’t think they could thrive or succeed in a position of leadership any better than Newt Gingrich when they took the stink bombs out of his hand and put the Speakers gavel there.

    The point isn’t really about left vs. right, or Pelosi vs. Boner, or Obama vs. whatever cheap liar the republicans throw up against him in two years. The point is that “both” political parties essentially work for the same people, and all this is just for show.

  36. bobaloo

    I question the logic behind the idea that the social conservatives have anything in common, in reality, with the fiscal conservatives.

    I mostly agree, however I would change “in reality” to “in theory”. I think it’s exceedingly uncommon, aside from some libertarian circles I suppose, to find a fiscal conservative who is not a social conservative. But I get your point.

    Barry:
    This is the type of caricature that makes me doubt your self-positioning on the ‘left-right’ scale
    Ah, let’s not bicker about “caricatures” when you’re perfectly guilty of the same:
    …the “Blue Dogs” will be eager to stab progressives in the back to curry favor with their new orange alien leader.
    And you also reinforce my point about purity tests. Because I express a dislike of hyper-partisans such as Grayson (who is a quite revered among progressives, no?) and point out that progs stayed at home because the overall agenda wasn’t liberal enough, you question my lefty-ness.
    But I digress.

    The point isn’t really about left vs. right, or Pelosi vs. Boner, or Obama vs. whatever cheap liar the republicans throw up against him in two years.
    Well yes and no. In a very large sense it’s about 2012. If Obama doesn’t fulfill a certain agenda in the next two years, how many progs will stay at home or vote for Greens thus giving complete control back to those who f***ed up the country in the first place?

    The point is that “both” political parties essentially work for the same people, and all this is just for show.
    Indeed. And if you think that will be fixed by 2012, I’ve got some oil fields in Iraq for sale.

  37. Piffy!

    [b]If Obama doesn’t fulfill a certain agenda in the next two years, how many progs will stay at home or vote for Greens thus giving complete control back to those who f***ed up the country in the first place?[/b]

    I don’t think one can assume the 2012 turnout will be comparable to the 2010 midterm elections. Turnout was predictably low for the libs.

    Obama will talk fancy again and get the people out to vote. And, at this point, I really couldn’t imagine another ‘lib’ trying to challenge his position. That surely would make it Carter 2. Altho there is always [i]hillary[/i] who might try and hand it to the GOP.

  38. Lamont Cranston

    Shuler just turned his back on the unemployed in the 11th.

    Start looking over your back Heath, as there are quite a few better-qualified citizens who will run against you to bring the representation back to serve the needs of the people in the 11th, and not to perpetuate and maintain your delusions of grandeur. Just turn Republican and be done with it, as you are not fooling anyone. Maybe you want to extend the tax breaks to the wealthy as well?

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