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First I want to thank the millions of voters, activists, candidates, bloggers, contributors and others who made it possible for my favorite Democrat, Rep. Heath Shuler, to run for Minority Leader and not Speaker!

I had suggested a few days ago that it was reported that Shuler would run for Speaker but now he’ll have to run for Minority Leader.  Well, well, well…check out this Huffington Post article.  It seems I was right!  Shuler wants to recruit “moderate” Dems to reclaim the lost seats around the country:

“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 on Thursday. “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 Democrats lost the House because of health care.  They voted against the people’s will, which on rare occasions is the right thing to do.  But you explain why.  And you come prepared to lose.  The Dems had from March to November to runs ads etc explaining why Obamacare was so great they had to defy the will of the people.  Not even Harry and Louise showed up on TV.  Shuler won primarily because he voted no on health care (and a lot of other bad things).  But this article at FireDogLake is exactly what Minority Leader Shuler will have to put up with:  Denial and insults.

Here’s the denial:

It’s going to take a better economy to win back those seats. Ideology had nothing to do with last night. If anything, you see that the type of voters Democrats win with didn’t turn out across most of the country, and as a result the electorate was older, richer and more conservative.

And here’s the insults:

He was originally recruited as a Republican to run for his seat. He’s virulently anti-immigrant at a time when the best hope for Democrats in the future is to maintain their giant advantage over Latino voters. The only bill he’s ever tried to move in Congress had Tom Tancredo as a co-sponsor. Your Minority Leader should probably not be someone vulnerable to a party switch.

I still agree with FireDogLake about one thing:  Shuler should switch parties.  He should do it, resign the seat, run for it again, and win it as a Republican.  It’s what former Senator Phil Gramm did in Texas as a Congressman when he switched parties.  Come on, Rep. Shuler!  Make the switch!  I’ll support you.  (My readers in Delaware – I see you in Dover waving your hands in the air – will say yes, and Sandy supported Senator-elect Mike Castle, too.  Well, if he’d run as a write-in, he’d won too.  I believe it.  Castle is easier to spell than Murkowski!)

I believe any attempt to make the Democratic Party conservative or even center right is bound to be a magnificent failure.  But lost causes are great.  Challenge whoever the liberal is for Minority Leader.  After the loss, then switch parties.  We would love Shuler in the GOP.  The thing that scares me is I’d hate to see who I think is a honest, upright right-leading Dem leader compromise for a title.  Rep. Kucinich gave up being pro-life when he ran for President in 2008.  I don’t think Shuler would do anything like that; let’s hope I am right.  It’d be fun to see Shuler try to make Jefferson’s party a conservative one.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Greg

    I wonder how long it will be before Schuler switches to the Republican party.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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