California's most famous U.S. Representative, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is taking heavy fire from all sides going into the November mid-term election.
With an immminent takeover of the House by Republicans (some estimates put as many as 99 Democratic seats in danger of a Republican victory, with a likely swing of 40 - 50 seats), Speaker Pelosi is stuck between hurting her party's chances even more by publicly conceding the likely Republican victory, or appearing naïvely confident by insisting that Democrats will maintain control of the House after November.
She has chosen the latter approach, arguing that even during the height of the anti-Bush sentiment in 2006, Democrats only gained 31 seats in the House, which would not be enough for the Republicans to take back the House this November. Pelosi even went so far as to say in a recent interview that she would much rather be in her position right now than in the Republicans' position.
But, while facing the probable loss of her party's majority in the House, Pelosi also faces a growing number of House Democrats (over 14 at last count) who want to replace her as House Speaker if the Democrats do manage to hold onto their majority after the mid-term election.
Meanwhile, vulnerable Democrats riding the wave of anti-incumbency are running ads against Pelosi all over the country, proudly expressing their opposition to her big government agenda, and touting whatever votes they have against the TARP bailout or health care bill to prove it.
From Pennsylvania, to Texas, to South Dakota, Democrats everywhere want to make sure their constituents know that they "are not afraid to stand up to Nancy Pelosi" and her big government agenda. But, while many House Democrats are trying to show how much more conservative they are than the "ultra-liberal" Pelosi, the Republican challenger in her district is trying to "out-liberal" her.
Meet John Dennis. He's the Ron Paul-endorsed, anti-war Republican nominee running against Pelosi for her U.S. House seat representing California's very liberal, 8th Congressional district, which includes most of San Francisco.
Dennis criticizes Pelosi for running a Congress that has allowed warrantless wiretapping, waterboarding, torture, military tribunals, the Patriot Act, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the open-ended wars in the Middle East all to go on unabated. He supports allowing Americans more freedom to make their own "lifestyle choices" about sexuality and drug consumption.
He even ran a campaign ad featuring a creepy, Big Brother-like eye panning across the screen as narrators say "Get out of my business... out of my finances... out of my phone calls... out of nation-building... out of my body... out of our bedroom... out of our food... out of our way."
Will his strategy work? Nancy Pelosi isn't worried. She has refused so far to debate John Dennis, arguing that she is more interested in spending her time bolstering vulnurable House Democrats to keep control of the House and safeguard the Democratic agenda than she is in beating her opponent by a greater margin on election day.