When listing the other night the names of former NFL players who became politicians, we forgot to mention former Redskins and Saints quarterback Heath Shuler. The Heisman runner-up in 1993 was the fourth overall pick in the 1994 draft. He became a bust, and after a five-year career he called it quits, leaving the game with a 54.3 passer rating, 15 touchdown passes, and 33 interceptions.
But he has done well for himself as a moderate Democrat from North Carolina, winning re-election to Congress earlier this week and suggesting even before Tuesday’s election that he’d possibly challenge Nancy Pelosi for the lofty gig of Speaker of the House.
“I don’t know how any clearer I can be,” Shuler said in a pre-election debate regarding his interest in the job. “I can do as
good a job as anybody in the U.S. Congress because I can actually bring
people together. I can bring people together to the table to talk about
the issues and not about the political structure and that’s what
destroying the whole process in Washington — the politics.”
After the Democrats lost their hold on the House of Representatives, Shuler has spoken out against Pelosi, arguing that she should step aside as the Democratic leader.
She’s not, and as a result Shuler plans to challenge Pelosi. As Tobin Harshaw of the New York Times explains the situation, Shuler faces a more difficult challenge because many of his so-called “Blue Dog” colleagues (the label applied to conservative Democrats) lost their bids for re-election, making the remaining Democratic caucus less conservative — and thus more aligned with Pelosi’s views, and more inclined to vote for her.
We have no idea (and frankly even less of an interest) in how it all turns out. We only hope that whoever eventually bounces Shuler out of Congress doesn’t celebrate by slamming his or her head into a wall.