Matheson’s remarks came in response to a question posed by Politico of whether Pelosi should pursue the job of House Minority Leader.
“No. We just got whupped,” he responded.
Though Matheson has no other candidate in mind to replace Pelosi, he contends, “I’m just suggesting that when you have the largest turnover since 1948, then it’s time to shake things up.”
Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues in the 111th Congress following the elections, attempting to bolster morale, asserting “our work is not finished.” In the same letter, she praised the accomplishments of the 111th Congress.
Commenting on the letter, Matheson said it is some of Pelosi’s “accomplishments,” as well as a lack of focus on jobs and the economy, that hurt the Democratic Party on November 2:
When you’re in the worst economic downturn since the Depression, the Top Three issues should have been jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy and jobs and the economy. The agenda got off on other things like cap and trade in the House.
In addition to the Blue Dogs, the defeated Democrats cannot help but feel Pelosi is to blame for the “shellacking” the Democrats took on Election Day. Following the results of the midterm elections, defeated House Democrats submitted a letter to Pelosi imploring her to step aside:
Many of us want the chance to run again and reclaim the seats that we lost on Tuesday. With you as the leader of House Democrats, the hangover of 2010 stands no chance of subsiding. Many of us have run our last race but remain committed to our party; we want to help recruit successful candidates to run in our stead. Unfortunately, we fear that Republicans will further demonize you, and in so doing they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of having to run against their own party leadership in addition to their Republican opponent is simply too daunting.
This is a difficult letter to write, because we admire your commitment, your drive, and your conviction. You have been an historic figure in our great nation, and for that we are all proud, as should you be. Nonetheless, we each experienced how Republican demonization of you and your leadership contributed to our defeat.
It is impossible not to judge the results of November 2nd as anything but a profound loss. We want to recover. Recovery of our majority in the House necessitates new leadership at the top of our party. We believe that you can and will play an extraordinary role in our party, and it is extremely unfortunate that Republicans have taken away your ability to lead as effectively as you are able. Nonetheless, one mark of a strong leader is the ability to discern when it is time to pass the baton. As defeated members, whose party needs to rebuild, we are counting on you to show the strength of your leadership in this dark hour. We ask that you step aside as leader of our party in the House.
Clearly, the Democrats are interested in abolishing Nancy Pelosi as the face of their party.
Blue Dog leader Heath Schuler of North Carolina has indicated his interest in running against Nancy Pelosi if she runs for Minority Leader, though he believes she will not.
Pelosi has remained silent on the issue, and according to her aides, she has not made a decision.
Photo of nancy Pelosi: AP Images