Politico -- "Top Dems at war with each other"
President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be all smiles as the president arrives at the Capitol for his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, but the happy faces can’t hide relationships that are fraying and fraught.
The anger is most palpable in the House, where Pelosi and her allies believe Obama’s reluctance to stake his political capital on health care reform in mid-2009 contributed to the near collapse of negotiations now.
But sources say there are also signs of strain between Reid and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and relations between Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate are hovering between thinly veiled disdain and outright hostility.
In a display of contempt unfathomable in the feel-good days after Obama’s Inauguration, freshman Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) stood up at a meeting with Pelosi last week to declare: “Reid is done; he’s going to lose” in November, according to three people who were in the room.
Titus denied Tuesday evening that she had singled out Reid, but she acknowledged that she said Democrats would be “f—-ed” if they failed to heed the lessons of Massachusetts, where Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat last week.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), a Pelosi ally, took his shots at the Senate on Fox radio Tuesday, describing the Senate as the “House of Lords” and accusing senators of failing to “understand that those of us that go out there every two years stay in touch with the American people.”
["Stay in touch?" Hello, Mr. Clyburn, the majority of Americans aren't happy with the health insurance reform ideas, with cap and trade, with the stimulus, and with the Congress spending future generations into poverty. You morons would know this had any of you listened to those confronting you last August in your townhall meetings. But, then again, you had to be serious about those meetings instead of busing in union thugs to squelch, shout down, and intimidate those turning out to question their representative's thinking.]
On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters the legislative process in the Senate is “broken” — prompting Reid to later quip: “I could give you a few comments on how I feel about the House.”
Pelosi and her allies blame the collapsing health reform negotiations, in part, on Obama’s reluctance to sacrifice political capital to seal a final deal in mid-2009. House Democrats also resent that Emanuel and other White House officials forced them to take tough votes on cap and trade and health reform while allowing Reid and Senate Democrats months of fruitless frittering on the details.
“She’s mad at them, but she knows it’s time to move on,” said one Pelosi friend, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t cleared to speak on her behalf.
In recent days, Pelosi and her team have struck a new, tougher tone with the White House, resisting pressure to quickly accept the Senate’s health bill, even with assurances that it would later be altered.
OK, the problem here is that the Democrats are trying to ram a seriously contentious piece of legislation down the throats of the American people, and they're facing a backlash that hasn't been seen since 1994. While I'm not fully up to speed on the House races this year, I know that the Senate is facing an uphill battle when it comes to the midterms.
Harry Reid is in dire straits; facing the prospect he might be "Daschled" this November. He is increasingly unpopular in Nevada, and faces at least two, if not three, possible Republican contenders that will beat him handily.
Roland Burris will lose in his primary (if he runs), and will almost certainly lose in the general election.
The Dodd, Dorgan, and Biden seats will likely flip to red in the fall. The only one that might be safe is the Biden seat now that his son is out of the running, and Ted Kaufman has remained rather hawkish on national security issues. The Dodd seat is done like dinner as Connecticut voters are clearly not pleased with the man and want a serious change in political position.
Blanche Lincoln is facing a serious battle to retain her seat in the wake of her decision to side with Democrats on health insurance reform. Ben Nelson was booed by his constituents for his sell-out vote on health insurance reform. Mary Landrieu is neither here nor there, but her constituents aren't happy with her accepting the bribe to sign on to the health insurance reform. Michael Bennet, appointed to replace Ken Salazar, is also facing problems with his reelection bid.
Kirsten Gillibrand might lose her seat, as well, depending on who challenges her. Recent polls show that if George Pataki challenges her, he would "trounce" her handily. (Of course, if this were Pete King, he'd mudstomp her easily, too.) Rasmussen reports that Evan Bayh could have problems in his reelection bid despite the fact that Mike Pence has announced he won't challenge him this year. And the one senator that most believed would be a safe bet is now facing problems of her own. Barbara Boxer is watching her reelection race tighten in the face of challenges from Carly Fiorina, Chuck Devore, and Tom Campbell. (Ms. Fiorina is within three points of her, Devore is within six points, and Campbell is within four points.)
Will all ten senators fall? Possibly, but not likely. (At this point the only one I think is "safe" is Boxer.) So we have a chance of taking nine from the Democrats this November from the Senate. And if this is the case for the Senate, is it any wonder why certain prognosticators -- Charlie Cook among them -- predict a loss in excess of 20-30 seats in the House this fall for Democrats.
Where did the Democrats go wrong? The same place Republicans did when they had their majorities. the difference is the Republicans took longer to cook their own goose, and the Democrats will do it inside of four years (2006-2010) with their radical overreach on a legislative agenda that the people in this nation do not support. A recent CNN poll shows only three in ten Americans want the health insurance reform passed, as it is right now. On the stimulus (read: Pork-A-Palooza) only a quarter of Americans believe it's doing the job that Congress and the president promised to help the middle class.
All of this doesn't bode well for Democrats in the fall. Their demand to pass the most radical agenda since FDR's New Deal is being met by sincere and boisterous resistance by the American electorate. Quite frankly, they should have known this would happen, and they should've also seen that Americans weren't going to take the "sit down and shut up" response from Democrats in stride. I'll be blunt: Americans are downright pi$$ed at the hubris they're seeing from the party they chose to run things. Democrats have had absolute control of the executive and legislative branches since last January. The public signed up for the "hope and change" that Barry promised them. Americans have seen that this isn't what they signed up for, now, and buyer's remorse could translate to some serious trouncing this fall.
The Democrats brought this one themselves, as much as the Republicans brought their losses in 2006 and 2008 on themselves. The difference between the two is we realize our mistakes. The Democrats, on the other hand, don't see their mistakes, and would prefer the "little people" just shut up; quit questioning their authority.
Democrats, welcome to America. We have a right to question and disagree, and by God, you'll hear it this fall. You reap what you sow.