House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision not to take the hint from voters and go away is about the worst news the president could have gotten, and the White House knows it.
Pelosi announced yesterday that she will fight on and remain as minority leader. Most of Washington had expected her to retire. But they forgot that this was Nancy. She didn’t get to be the first female House Speaker by being . . . retiring.
First of all, for Republicans, the term “Pelosi” is synomymous with “target practice.” She is the most polarizing person in Washington, the Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney of her time. Republicans on Capitol Hill and their supporters throughout the land HATE her. The rest of the country in the AOSF – the Area Outside of San Francisco – doesn’t like her much better.
I assure you, Republican graphic artists are already sketching posters showing Obama and Pelosi embraced with the tag line: “End the Obama-Pelosi Regime.”
Secondly, Obama probably needs to score a few victories in Congress over the next two years to show he is capable of passing moderate legislation. Pelosi’s presence will make moderate legislation more difficult to write – she’ll rejecty stuff she doesn’t like – and to pass, since Republicans already primed to try to screw Obama won’t want to be working with Pelosi.
The White House Friday put a brave face on it. Here’s what Gibbs said on the way to India.
The White House does not comment or get involved in leadership elections. But as the president has said before, he appreciates the work of the speaker and the entire House Democratic leadership team, who’ve been great partners in moving the country forward. He looks forward to working with them in years to come.
What else could they say? She got Obama his whole agenda. There’s only a certain amount of perfidy permitted, even in Washington.
But I’m sure Obama and his aides her to go. Much better for them would have been her heir apparent, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. He’s a relatively moderate deal maker who presents in plain vanilla and would have made a really bad villain for Republicans.
But it was not to be.