Woodward: Civil war brewing in the Democratic Party over entitlement reform
posted at 10:41 am on December 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
We’ve been hearing a lot about a civil war within the GOP over the fiscal-cliff negotiations, but is that the only one brewing in Washington? Bob Woodward followed Nancy Pelosi on CBS This Morning, and he claimed that her remarks showed the split on the other side of the aisle. Woodward tells CBS that the White House wants entitlement reform, perhaps especially by raising the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security, and that Barack Obama may have a tougher sell on that point than John Boehner has on taxes (via Daniel Halper):
“There’s a civil war in the Democratic party,” said Woodward. “You had Nancy Pelosi on, saying, oh, we’re not going to change the eligibility age for Medicare. And down at the White House they very much want to do that.”
Civil wars or not, Woodward says that both sides are going to have to “blink” in this process. Everyone has their doctrines, but in the end, a deal will have to find some middle ground. The country wants solutions, not endless ideological warfare, Woodward insists, and have grown so tired of this standoff that they’ll welcome practically any resolution that finds at least some points for both sides.
Speaking of ideological war, though, Pelosi hasn’t gotten Woodward’s message yet:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to say if she has any red lines in so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations. However, in the next breath, she emphasized that she and fellow Democrats “object” to raising the eligibility age for Medicare.
“Don’t go there because it doesn’t produce money,” the top Democrat in the House said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
“Raising the retirement age does not get you that much money… so you’re doing a bad thing when it comes to seniors and you’re not achieving your goal” of reducing the deficit and growing the economy, Pelosi added.
But as CBS points out, Pelosi is largely irrelevant in the deal-making:
The talks, however, are primarily between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., leaving Democrats in the House hoping the president stands by their demands. “There’s a recognition he may need our votes,” Pelosi said. He would need Democrat’s votes if House Speaker John Boehner is unable to collect enough support among his Republican colleagues.
It’s also worth noting that her second-in-command, Steny Hoyer, declared that entitlement reform was on the table. Pelosi may end up being even more irrelevant at the end of this process.