Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Pelosi Defections

I'll say right up top: I known nothing about this beyond what's been reported, and I have a possibly unhealthy bias in favor of believing that Nancy Pelosi knows what she's doing (a bias developed, I should say, only from watching her succeed on the House floor time after time).

That said: my interpretation of yesterday's highly unusual defections on the vote for Speaker is that they indicate only a decision by Democrats -- and probably more or less sanctioned by the new Minority Leader -- to spin themselves as local heroes, not captives of Washington.  They don't, I'm thinking, indicate any dissatisfaction with Pelosi.  If there's one thing that Pelosi has always been good at, it's allowing her caucus to duck tough votes when it didn't matter, but always coming up with the votes when she needs them.  I believe, and I'd like to think, that she cares more about the (secret) vote that mattered back in November to ensure she would be Minority Leader, than the public vote yesterday that was just for show.

I'm still convinced that she's very solidly supported by House Democrats.  Of course, the other way of looking at it is that this is just one in what will be a long series of votes in which it really doesn't matter what the House Democrats do -- and that the job of Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives is pretty useless, even with divided government. 

3 comments:

  1. This is just like the November 2009 health care vote in the House. The Democratic leadership had some "passes" and used them. The media is intent on playing up the Democratic discontent with Pelosi narrative over anything that might contradict it. I suppose the shrewd political leader narrative is not one that plays as well as the inept political leader meme.

    Now I need to go look at the literature on negative vs. positive news story recall to find something to back me up on that point.

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  2. I'm in Kurt Schrader's district and I'm inclined to think your local hero idea explains his vote. We've elected Democratic Congress folk for quite a while but it's always close enough to attract a well funded Republican challenger.

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  3. The other day I got my first automated polling call, for Pawlenty, I presume, because it asked if I'd vote for him or Obama in 2012. I think my answer disappointed the machine. Anyway, one of the questions was whether I supported "Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill." I was surprised that they didn't refer to it as Obamacare, but I guess they know how to appeal to prejudice better than I do. (Unless T-Paw is going for the liberal vote and he's drawing a distinction between Pelosi's bill with a public option and the bill that ultimately made it through the Senate.)

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