Heath Shuler, a North Carolina Blue Dog Democrat and former Redskins quarterback, is working overtime to ensure re-election to the U.S. House in 2012. In a move that even he admits won’t go anywhere, Shuler has thrown his hat in the ring to challenge Nancy Pelosi for the post of minority leader in the new Congress.
Like so many other Democrats, Shuler’s No. 1 campaign strategy during the election was simple: “I’m not Nancy Pelosi.” A few days before the election, Shuler telegraphed that he was willing to run for speaker if a “viable alternative” to Pelosi didn’t emerge. It was a brilliant strategy, politically, considering the tough challenge he faced from Republican foe Jeff Miller, not to mention the anti-Pelosi sensibilities of his constituents.
Given the fact that he has no chance, though, it’s mere grandstanding — but makes a nice set-up for his re-election bid in 2012, when Shuler will be one of a decimated core of incumbent moderate-leaning Democrats facing voters.