Pelosi and the Blue Dogs.

Only in a Dana Milbank column does a margin of 150-43 turn into a vote of no-confidence:

History will record that Nancy Pelosi won her bid to remain House Democratic leader by a comfortable margin. But nobody who heard Democratic lawmakers going in and out of the Cannon Caucus Room on Wednesday could call it a victory.

"The truth is that Nancy Pelosi's season has passed," said Rep. Allen Boyd (Fla.), one of more than 60 Democrats who lost their seats on Election Day. "And she is the face of defeat." [...]

And Rep. Bill Pascrell (N.J.), who called himself "one of Nancy Pelosi's closest friends here in the Congress," said that by holding Wednesday's vote to keep Pelosi as leader, Democrats "missed an opportunity today to send a signal to America that we understand what happened this past election."

Actually, the opposite is true. Opposing Pelosi's leadership bid -- in favor of a Blue Dog -- is a very sure sign that you have no idea what happened this past election. Democrats lost their majority because members like Allen Boyd -- who voted against the stimulus package -- were more concerned with preening than they were with bringing the economy back to speed. Unlike her Blue Dog colleagues, Pelosi understood that Democrats couldn't win (or stem their losses) without decent policies and meaningful economic growth, and that alone makes her more qualified for leadership than her Blue Dog competitors.

Simply put, Pelosi is one of the most important Democratic leaders of the last decade. Her reinstatement is a clear vote of confidence in her leadership, and a sign that Democrats have their heads in the right place. Even if Democrats don't regain the majority in two years, fighting and losing is much preferable to the Blue Dog strategy of unconditional surrender.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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