Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pelosi's leadership problem

Vast wealth. Check.
Powerful political family. Check.
Unable to articulate coherent message. Check.

No, not George W. Bush — and not Patrick Kennedy, either.

We're talking about Nancy Pelosi, princess of a powerful Baltimore dynasty, wife of a California real-estate magnate. Her stupidity is starting to become disturbingly obvious, even to the liberals at Slate:
Across the country, vulnerable Republican candidates are saying thank you to Pelosi. The GOP congressional majorities may now be secure. ...

Independents and moderates in those swing districts that will help Democrats pick up the 15 seats they need for a majority ... want results on the issues that affect their lives. They may not like Republicans in Congress, but they're suspicious and disapproving of Democrats, too.
At U.S. News & World Report, even stalwart liberal Gloria Borger lacks confidence in Pelosi:
To whom exactly should the country turn? To House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi? Her new national agenda calls for the launching of a series of subpoenas to investigate the administration. ... Privately, some top congressional Democrats tell me that they cringed when Pelosi started talking about investigations: "Is that what we need to be talking about?" says one. "The answer is no." ....
Success is all about strategy--and that's why leaders spend so much time squabbling about it. Perish the thought that they might be squabbling over policy; they're fighting over something far more important -- how to divvy up the pie.
Democratic House campaign chair Rahm Emanuel wants Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to stop spending so much now so he can have some spare cash on hand for tough races close to the election.
Veteran observers have always considered it a longshot for the Dems to recapture the House in '06. The gerrymandering of districts alone would make it tough to find enough vulnerable GOP districts to "flip" to cover the distance, and Democrats have their own problem cases, like Rep. Al "Beach Boy" Mollhan.

It gets worse and worse with Pelosi. How will Democrats explain to voters how they let that California dimwit talk them into voting against lobbying reform?
A Democratic aide hinted that there could be consequences for members who backed the lobbying bill. Pelosi has previously threatened to pull coveted committee assignments of members who are disloyal to leaders. During a vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement last summer, Pelosi told the members that siding with Republicans could jeopardize their committee assignments.

“There should be no reason for anyone to register a yes vote on the lobbying reform bill,” the aide said. “If the Republicans win with Democratic votes, that is a slap in the face to the caucus.”

Right: Democrats are campaigning against a "culture of corruption" and ... they're also voting against lobbying reform. Sound familiar?

"We were for lobbying reform, before we were against it."

This is another one of those "nuance" moves like the Homeland Security bill in 2002, where the Democratic leadership talked Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) into voting like their union buddies wanted them to vote. "Don't worry about how to explain this to the folks back home, Max. Trust us. It's about
nuance." Not much use for "nuance" in a general election campaign, when your better-funded Republican opponent's hammering you with attack ads. Somebody needs to get old Max on the phone and ask him what he thinks about the Democratic leadership's political advice.

The GOP has its own problems for 2006, but the woeful ineptitude of Pelosi, Dean and Harry Reid may cancel that out. Given the advantages of incumbency, if the Democrats keep stumbling along like this, the Republicans could actually end up
gaining seats in November.

-- McCAIN

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