Item: U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, was one of 19 Democrats who didn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi in Wednesday’s contest for House speaker. The vote itself was academic; John Boehner is speaker because Republicans outnumber Democrats in the new House 242-193. More significant is the strain within Democratic ranks, illustrated by the largest repudiation of a party’s candidate for speaker in nearly 90 years. As Chris Casteel reports in The Oklahoman, Boren’s vote was no surprise. He had told numerous town hall meetings last year he wouldn’t support Pelosi in the speaker’s vote, and he didn’t. “I kept my word,” he said, voting instead for North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler.
A couple of points. As mentioned, there must be a number of unhappy campers in the Democratic cloakroom because Pelosi is still leading their parade — even more than were willing to oppose her publicly. (On the flip side, it’s amazing that a guy like Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly, who eked out an 800-vote victory in November over an opponent he beat by 12 percentage points in 2008, still voted for Pelosi.)
As for Boren and others who defied her, wow! The old adage says you don’t take on the king (or queen, as it were) unless you’re sure you can knock ‘em off the throne. Pelosi’s still there. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle those awkward situations in the House elevators. Seriously, keep an eye on Boren and the others to see if Pelosi follows through with another old saying: Don’t get mad, get even.