Friday, February 12, 2010

Awww, Pelosi's Worried About Her Job

Politico has an interesting 3 page report on a brewing family feud between Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.  It seems that while she had been praising him in public she had been pushing him up until the Massachusetts election.  Since then, she has become a bit more openly critical as she is becoming increasingly concerned that failures to pass Obama's agenda through the Senate has inadvertently left her majority in peril:
Earlier this month, Pelosi criticized the president’s State of the Union call to exempt defense spending from a budget freeze. And in a White House meeting with leaders of both parties this week, she questioned the effectiveness of his plan to give small businesses tax breaks to hire workers.

“What you’re seeing now in public has been building in private,” said a top House Democratic official. “House members did their work — they did everything the president asked of them. And it gets stuck in the Senate. Or the Senate screws it up.”
Pelosi was able to whip her caucus to pass both Cap and Trade and the House Health Care bill by forcing her so-called moderate Blue Dogs to cast their votes for the unpopular bills.  In effect she forced them to walk the plank only to see things fall apart in the Senate.  There seems to be more at play here than anger at the Senate, however.  Pelosi is sensing the White House may find it to their advantage to have a Republican House to preserve Obama's chances for reelection in 2012:

Obama obviously wants to keep control of the House and the Senate, but it would be foolish for him to take his eye off 2012 — or his public image. This is a big reason the president is putting so much focus on reaching out to Republicans and making a public show of his bipartisan efforts.

One Democratic official went further, saying some Democratic House members actually believe that the White House “wouldn’t mind having a foil, and that foil is a Republican [House] majority — that would serve their political purposes going into 2012.”

These House Democrats say privately that veterans of Bill Clinton’s administration working in Obama’s White House may think having a Republican majority in Congress will help Obama win reelection, as it did Clinton in 1996. House Democrats know that Obama will do whatever it takes to win reelection, whether or not it helps members keep their seats this year.
 I can't say I feel too sorry for Pelosi.  While she is busy regretting having been effective in moving Obama's agenda she seems to want to do more of this, not less.  She would prefer to focus on passing health care and investing in infrastructure instead of focusing on tax cuts for small business according to Politico.  Essentially she and Obama are ideologically of the same mind and while he may play at bipartisanship to preserve his image she apparently is not willing to play that game.  None of them seem willing to accept their policies are the problem.

Clinton was successful in his reelection because a Republican Congress forced him to move to the center.  He adopted Republican ideas and made them his own.  Obama shows no such ability to make the trip to the center.  Peggy Noonan makes this point today in The Wall Street Journal when she recalls Obama's response to Blanche Lincoln's plaintive plea they start to work with Republicans:
While answering, Mr. Obama raised his voice slightly and quickened his cadence. "If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression . . . the result is going to be the same. I don't know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us in this fix in the first place." He continued: "If our response ends up being, you know . . . we don't want to stir things up here," then "I don't know why people would say, 'Boy, we really want to make sure those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us.'"

When I saw the videotape later, I wondered how the senator, now down by as much as 23 points in her bid for re-election, felt. Actually I wanted to ask, "Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"
 Obama has no trouble with Bush's spending as he has adopted this policy with a vengeance.  As Noonan summed up very well, he hasn't taken a new path at all :
 He spent, just like Mr. Bush, only even more. It was as if he were saying, "You think Bush broke the bank? I'll show you what a broken bank looks like." This isn't a departure, it's a doubling down.
 Pelosi is as politically tone deaf, maybe more so, than Obama.  This is just reality, her job is on the chopping block much earlier than Obama's.  Would losing their majorities in the House and/or Senate cause the scales to fall from Obama's eyes?   Maybe.  I tend to doubt he is banking on it to save him, however.   In this case I think Noonan may be closer to the mark here, Obama seems on course to be a one term President because he might prefer that to actually having to work towards a legislative agenda that is antithetical to his world view that sees a big government as the solution to all that is wrong or somehow unfair.  He just doesn't get it, the majority of the country doesn't agree with him.

H/T: Memeorandum
UPDATE:  Ed Morrissey thinks the family feud isn't going away soon:
In other words, pass the popcorn.  This won’t go away soon.


  1. No sympathy whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip. Zero.

  2. She won't be getting me to shed a tear. She and her Blue Dogs made their bed.

  3. THANK YOU for posting this! I really like your blog!!

    Common Cents

    ps. Link Exchange??


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