The first vote cast by the 110th Congress on January 4, 2007 was for election of Speaker of the House. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won all 233 Democratic votes (including her own). All 202 Republicans voted for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio. Two years later Pelosi secured 255 (including her own), and there was only one Democrat, one Rep. Gutierrez who did not vote. Minority Leader Boehner received every Republican vote, save for his own and three other Republicans who didn't vote.
By contrast, yesterday's vote for Speaker witnessed a total of 20 Democrats -- 10 percent of the party caucus -- defecting from the Pelosi line. Eleven voted for Blue Dog Democrat Heath Shuler (N.C.) while the other eight generally liberal Democratic defectors voted for other Democrats. And that doesn't include liberal Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, who made sure to absent himself from the chamber so as to not have to register a vote.
It was certainly an inauspicious way for Pelosi to enter the new Congress as minority leader, yet when the Post reported the story, it elected to bury the news in a 6-paragraph digest item on page A8.
What's more, that brief print account by Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane simply noted that DeFazio (D-Ore.), like Boehner, "did not vote."
Yet Sonmez noted in a Post "44" blog entry yesterday:
One Democrat, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.), was not present for the vote. DeFazio was among those leading the open rebellion against Pelosi during the lame duck session.
Pelosi still has roughly 90 percent of her caucus behind, more support than she had in the caucus vote back in November in which 43 Democrats voted against her for party leader.
All the same, it's hard to imagine the media downplaying the dissent if the GOP were still in the minority and Boehner lost 20 votes from his caucus on the Speaker's election.