Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor (D) urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to follow the example of Newt Gingrich and "walk away" from her leadership role.
"As much as I dislike [former House Speaker] Gingrich, and I do, when that guy realized that he was a drag on his party, he walked away," Taylor said.
"[Former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay, when he realized he was a drag on his party, he walked away. [Former House Majority Leader Dick] Armey, he realized he was a drag on his party, he walked away. Somehow the Democratic leadership doesn't get that memo. And they need to get that memo."
The 11-term Democrat said there is a "cultural difference" between the Democratic and Republican House leadership. It's common in the GOP to leave a position of power for the overall good of the party, said Taylor. "That's what leadership is about."
Pelosi's continued leadership role won't help Democrats reclaim the majority in 2012, Taylor said. "I think she definitely hurts."
Taylor, who suffered a surprise defeat Nov. 2, said he's not planning on running again in 2012. His defeat means he won't be able to vote in the Democrats' House leadership election set for Wednesday.
Taylor said he wished he would have won reelection so he could vote for Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) to become minority leader. Shuler is waging a long-shot challenge to Pelosi, but has admitted he doesn't have the votes to win.