Pelosi's 2012 battle plan: Demagogue tea partiers, of course

“Next” for Pelosi and the Democrats means changing the conversation to jobs, and making sure voters know that the Tea Party hijacked the debate.

Pelosi agrees that the Republicans won in Congress by framing the debate over raising the nation’s borrowing limit around the idea that the debt is everything. “But they didn’t win it with the American people,” she says. “I haven’t seen a poll yet that says, ‘Don’t tax the rich, we don’t want jobs, we just want to deal with this debt first, second, last, and always.’”

Stung by the outcome in Congress, Democrats are portraying the Tea Party as reckless extremists bent on destroying government. “If it was about the deficit, we can deal with it,” Pelosi said Wednesday during a gathering with reporters in her office. “This is about destroying the public space.” Everything from clean air and water to national parks and food safety and regulation will be compromised if the Tea Party gets the draconian cuts it wants. Saying this is a “fragile ecosystem” that we have, Pelosi personalized what’s at stake, saying, “I’m a mom and a grandmother talking now. Don’t mess with that.”