Politics & Policy

Smart: Democrat Altmire Repudiates Pelosi Speakership, Says Agenda ‘Not Good’ for District

“I hope that she is not a candidate for speaker. I don’t think the issues that she’s pursued are good for the district I represent.” – Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) told Roll Call when asked whether he would again support Nancy Pelosi if Democrats hold on to the House.

Jason Altmire has figured it out. After months of Tea Partiers condemning the Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda, and as a “Fire Pelosi” RNC bus tour makes its way around the country, this western Pennsylvania Democrat has decided to get in on the game.

Altmire is one of the 2006 blue dog Democrats who was elected in a somewhat surprise upset over a Republican in western Pennsylvania’s 4th district. Keith Rothfus, Altmire’s challenger, has struggled to establish himself as a force in the race, and according to the latest poll, trails the Democrat by 12 points.

Just to the north, in the 3rd district, challenger Mike Kelly has all but defeated first-term blue dog Kathy Dahlkemper using the same line of attack that Altmire is now working to blunt. 

Kelly has spent months framing the choice in his district as one between himself, a businessman auto salesman who knows who to create jobs, and Dahlkemper, a squishy moderate who has ended up voting for everything from Obamacare to the stimulus and has become a part of the Pelosi agenda.

“I hope it’s the start of a national trend,” political consultant Charlie Gerow told Battle ‘10, in reference to Altmire’s repudiation of Speaker Pelosi. “It clearly underscores that the headline for Democrat candidates is ‘Running Scared’”.

“It would be fascinating to see what Altmire would do if Democrats had a one vote majority and he had to cast a vote for a new speaker,” said Gerow, but “otherwise it’s kind of cheap talk.” 

But in an electoral climate when voters had obviously grown distrustful of Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, why haven’t other Democrats repudiated her in similarly blunt terms?

“Many [Democrats] were caught between the dog and the tree,” Gerow told Battle ‘10. “They knew what they should do but didn’t have the guts. Altmire ran from Pelosi early on and been running ever since.”

Altmire voted against Obamacare after it was clear the Democrats had secured enough votes for passage without him. Altmire also voted to confirm Pelosi as speaker in 2007 and most recently in January 2009.

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