The Fix’s Worst Week in Washington

The Washington Post Sunday - - NEWS - By Chris Cillizza

When Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as speaker of the House in 2007, she made his­tory as the first woman to hold that role. When she handed the gavel over to Ohio Repub­li­can John Boehner on Wed­nes­day, she made his­tory again. In the sym­bolic elec­tion for a new speaker, 19 Democrats voted against her — the most de­fec­tions any party leader had suf­fered since 1913, ac­cord­ing to the Con­gres­sional Re­search Ser­vice.

The re­bel­lion of her Demo­cratic col­leagues — 18 voted for some­one else, one voted “present,” and an­other didn’t vote — was a sign of the en­dur­ing dis­con­tent di­rected at Pelosi from some in her cau­cus, where most Democrats (and a near-unan­i­mous chunk of the party’s po­lit­i­cal strate­gists) had ex­pected her to go qui­etly into the night af­ter their 63-seat loss in the midterm elec­tions.

Pelosi, her al­lies note, did noth­ing to whip up speaker votes, and they ar­gue that, had she tried, she would have seen far fewer de­fec­tions.

Per­haps. But the fact re­mains that Pelosi was forced to sit through a 435-mem­ber roll-call vote — who thought that was a good idea? — in which she was re­peat­edly re­buked by her col­leagues, an un­en­vi­able or­deal for a politician who did more to get Democrats their ma­jor­ity in 2006 than any other mem­ber of Congress.

To top it off, Pelosi watched as Pres­i­dent Obama named Bill Da­ley, a noted mod­er­ate who had been skep­ti­cal of Democrats’ di­rec­tion on health care, as his new chief of staff — a move that vir­tu­ally en­sures that any hopes of con­tin­u­ing to push pro­gres­sive poli­cies be­tween now and 2012 are off the ta­ble.

Nancy Pelosi, for watch­ing the ma­jor­ity you built fall be­fore your very eyes, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Con­grats, or some­thing.

TIM SLOAN/GETTY IM­AGES

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