The Obama team isn't the only National political leadership team undergoing a transition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reorganizing the House Leadership team to include almost exclusively progressive members.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
As Reported at The Hill (www.thehill.com):
(Rahm) Emanuel is being replaced by current Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman John Larson (Conn.), who, while well-liked and generally respected within the caucus, is regarded as far more liberal than Emanuel. And Larson’s replacement as vice chairman is expected to be Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), a former Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairman who leans even further to the left than Larson.
Becerra, who is now assistant to the Speaker, was the only member of the Democratic leadership to vote against the $700 billion financial rescue bill twice, claiming it “fell short of embodying the elements of an economic recovery package that we need for taxpayers, workers, small businesses and homeowners.”
With Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) poised to remain in his post for a second cycle and possibly assume some of Becerra’s present duties as assistant to the Speaker, centrists are privately worrying that they will be less represented at next year’s leadership table than they were in the 110th Congress.
This shift is an interesting action by a Speaker who had come under serious criticism from the Progressive wing of the party. Progressives were upset by Pelosi's refusal to attempt to impeach Bush and Cheney, her refusal to use the power of the purse to try to stop the Iraq war and by other actions that made it seem that Speaker Pelosi was trying to act in an excessively bipartisan manner.
While not widely reported in the national press, Progressives were sufficiently upset by Pelosi' first term as Speaker that Cindy Sheehan ran against Pelosi in the 2008 General Election and managed to get over 17% of the vote, a strong showing of support by a third party candidate against a sitting House Speaker. Sheehan's measure of support is even more striking when one considers that she was not afforded the possibility of debating Pelosi and was largely ignored by her opponent.
While the team member changes will be embraced by Progressives and other Liberals, it is sure to draw fire from those on the ideological right. Conservative talking heads are eager to try to paint the incoming Democratic Controlled Congress and Executive as 'too Liberal'. Rush Limbaugh is already trying to say that the recession is Obama's fault because of business and finance's fear of Obama's ideas. While other conservative pundits and talking heads aren't so obviously jumping the gun, they are preparing this line of attack for use as early as will be reasonably credible.
Such attacks won't be of much use if the Democrats are successful at reversing the country's economic problems, but if the problems linger or become more severe as we approach election day in 2010 and 2012, you can be sure the "out of touch' and 'too Liberal' attacks will regularly roll off the tongues of every Republican pundit and candidate for office.