• Unleashing Congress: Not wanting to repeat Hillary Clinton’s mistaken attempt to micromanage Congress, the administration took the equally dangerous path of no management at all. Left to wild impulses, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman and Ted Kennedy took the most radical of Mr. Obama’s proposals (a public option entitlement) as a starting point, and ran left with new mandates, income tax surcharges, and business penalties. The House bill stirred a Blue Dog rebellion and mired the bill in committee. Mrs. Pelosi failed to include enticements for susceptible Republicans, leaving her hard-pressed to poach GOP votes.
The White House’s decision to let Mrs. Pelosi charge ahead with her climate bill has also been a disaster. To get that unpopular energy tax through, Mrs. Pelosi had to strip conservative Democrats of their committee rights and then arm-twist them into votes. Their egos and poll ratings bruised, this crew is balking at taking a second one for the team. “If you’re a member who voted for cap and trade and had a bad experience back home, you’re probably not looking forward to a bad vote on a health-care bill that’s not going to go anywhere in the Senate,” says Pennsylvania Blue Dog Jason Altmire.