Season’s greetings from the man who once responded to Republican concerns about the stimulus with the words “I won.” If he’s talking here about a payroll tax holiday or serious spending cuts, then it sounds like a plan. Only one small problem: Who’s going to tell Nancy?
Pelosi will lead Democrats “in pulling on the president’s shirttails to make sure that he doesn’t move from center-right to far-right,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., a co-chair of the liberal Progressive Caucus in the House. “We think if he’d done less compromising in the last two years, there’s a good chance we’d have had a jobs bill that would have created real jobs, and then we wouldn’t even be worrying about having lost elections.”
Behind Democrats’ decision to keep Pelosi as their leader after historic losses lies intense concern among liberals who dominate the party’s ranks on Capitol Hill: They fear Obama will go too far in accommodating the GOP in the new era of divided government, and they see Pelosi as a counterweight…
People close to Pelosi say she trusts the president — perhaps moreso than some of her allies in Congress do — to defend core Democratic principles in his dealings with the GOP.
Some Democrats argue that Pelosi’s liberal streak might help the president in that context — a bad cop to Obama’s good cop.
I envy Democrats the sort of smart, sober congressional leadership that worries about Barack Obama moving “far right.” The AP’s right, though, about the good cop/bad cop dynamic we’ll see next year once Pelosi and The One settle into their new roles. She won’t be a counterweight to presidential compromise so much as she’ll be an enabler of it. Obama needs to regain some independent appeal ahead of 2012, and having America’s most unpopular liberal pol whining about his every gesture towards centrism is a useful way to do it. Meanwhile, Pelosi needs to prove her worth as minority leader to Democrats after this month’s shellacking, and the most obvious path is to position herself as the noble defender of Democratic values against a centrist-minded president who’s tempted to betray them. Won’t stop Obama from compromising but it will energize the base. Win/win!
That’s as much political insight as I can muster on Thanksgiving — except to note that if you’re having ham today instead of turkey, stove-top stuffing instead of homemade, canned cranberry sauce instead of real sauce, and/or apple pie instead of pumpkin, you’re a dirty, dirty RINO. Exit question: Do my ears deceive me or did the man who rose to national prominence as an early opponent of the Iraq war actually utter the following line in the clip below? “As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got to support their mission and honor their service.”