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Party leadership fights threaten to snub Bachmann, Hoyer


It’s a Friday afternoon, but there’s no shortage of palace intrigue filtering through the ranks of both Democrats and Republicans as members announce their candidacies for party leadership.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced her desire to be Minority Leader and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) says he wants to remain whip. According to TPM’s Josh Marshall, the practical effect is that there’s no room for Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):

The next person down the totem poll is John Larson as Caucus Chairman. According to Roll Call, Pelosi is encouraging (sub.req.) him to run for Caucus Chair again. So Pelosi moves down, Clyburn and Larson remain in place. So there’s no room for Hoyer. He’s standing when the music stops. And he’s got no chair.

The key tell here is that Pelosi seems to be encouraging the people down the totem poll to stay in place. So she’s blocking Hoyer’s ability to perhaps get Clyburn to agree to step down the ladder with him.

I think I remember this scene from The Godfather.

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Pelosi hasn’t officially weighed in on the budding Hoyer v. Clyburn battle for Whip, but Marshall is right to note that by not encouraging the rest of her leadership team to move a step down the rung, she’s effectively squeezing Hoyer out.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans are delicately — or, at times, not so delicately — trying to foil Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) bid to challenge Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) for a Republican House leadership position:

“Bachmann will have a tough time convincing anyone that Hensarling isn’t conservative enough,” a House Republican aide told The Daily Caller. “She’ll have an even tougher time convincing the conference that she wouldn’t take our whole team down in flames with her antics.”

Another House Republican staffer aligned with the most conservative elements of the party called Hensarling “literally unbeatable.”

Working in Republicans’ favor is the fact that Hensarling is widely considered to represent that same kind of “constitutional conservatism” (he opposed TARP, etc.) that Bachmann says she could bring to the table. Working against them is the fact that few people outside of his district have ever heard of Hensarling and his nomination could thus be seen as a slight to the budding Tea Party caucus which is just starting to feel its oats.

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