Barack Obama has begun to confer closely with Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner on the budget and debt-ceiling impasses, hoping to resolve them by the end of the summer session of Congress. One notable figure apparently missing from these discussions is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and any representatives from her caucus. According to The Hill, they’ve begun to notice that no one is paying them much attention, especially not Obama:
House Democrats feel like jilted lovers.
They’re looking down Pennsylvania Avenue for some sign of affection from President Obama in the White House. But all they feel they’re getting in return is the back of his hand.
“How is it that the House Democrats played such an important role [in the majority], and all of a sudden [the White House says], ‘Forget it, we’ll work with the Senate and the Republican leadership?’ ” asked Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), vice chairman of the Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee.
Er … seriously? Perhaps Cuellar needs a little help with mathematics. Republicans have a fairly significant although not historically large majority in the House, and therefore can pass almost anything through normal rules without any input from Democrats. Cuellar and his caucus are irrelevant to any budget deal.
Cuellar should be very familiar with this phenomenon. When it came time to discuss a stimulus package in early 2009, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi locked Republicans out of the law-drafting process. Obama at that time told Republicans, “I won.” It turned out to be a big political miscalculation, since Democrats ended up passing Porkulus with almost no Republican support (only three votes in the Senate), and its failure ended up being blamed squarely on Democrats. Now, Cuellar and other Democrats want people to pretend they matter, but even Obama can’t muster up that much imagination.
Doug Mataconis says, “Welcome to the minority, guys,” and that’s the truth. But it’s also equally accurate to say that what goes around, comes around.