Missing Nancy

With John Boehner now holding the Speaker of the House position, the leadership just isn’t what it was with Nancy Pelosi in charge.  The gamesmanship continues on both sides, but the GOP majority is not effecting closure on the issues so near and dear to their hearts.  A crack has appeared in their facade, and it continues to widen.

Back in February, House Republicans failed to deliver a vote having to do with jet engines.  This vote, which the GOP lost, was seen as Boehner losing his caucus.  As every trial lawyer will tell you, never, ever, put a witness in the box and ask him a question to which you do not already know the answer.  This process occurred again this week in Congress.  Boehner lost a significant number of his own party representatives.  Although the Democrats pulled a procedural “prank” on the Republicans, Boehner once again had not done his pre-vote homework:


Does Boehner and his GOP colleagues think they are above the planning, hard work and nuts-and-bolts legwork it takes to walk a bill through Congress?  Do they believe that just the fact of holding the majority will get the job done?  Have they no sense of the struggles involved in actually passing legislation?  Do they think that, during the last two years, Pelosi and President Obama had a cake walk in enacting new legislation?

Pelosi, aside from her devotion to the liberal cause and loyalty to her President, was a genius of organization.  She knew exactly how each House member was going to vote before the vote was held.  She was the Queen of Congressional Mechanics.  If she did not have sufficient votes for passage, she would not allow that vote to even come to the floor.  That is called leadership.

The larger significance of Pelosi no longer being the leader of the House is the effect on President Obama.  She was one of his guiding lights on liberal, progressive and yes, DEMOCRATIC principles.  Being a centrist (if not a bit right of center), the President needed the ideological influence of a die-hard Democrat, which is exactly what he got with Pelosi.  This is not to belie the fact that both Obama and Pelosi compromised and ceded some valuable policies in order to pass the legislation at hand.  The health care reform act is the primary example that comes to mind: no public option.  But folks, nothing would have been passed without the carefully calculated nose-counting abilities and persuasive powers that Pelosi demonstrated.  She always knew the vote result before it was ever taken.

I do not know if Boehner’s lack of leadership is a result of laziness, a comfort with his Republican elitism or his general blowsy, boozy mien.  I do know that since his reign began, he has lost votes in the House, which were directly related to his lack of work before the votes.  Even if a particular party is in the majority, legislating entails much hard work to ensure its passage.

The GOP continues to avoid the  work necessary to pass their policies.  Instead, they use the process to legislate their social agenda and save face on the real policies at hand.  With the recent budget dealings to avoid a government shutdown, Boehner got President Obama to cede D.C. abortion rights for low-income women.  In the upcoming battle to raise the debt ceiling, I wonder if the GOP will once again turn to social legislation to soften what of course will be another compromise.  Perhaps religion in our schools will again be on the table as the Republicans will have to consent to an increase in the debt ceiling, as not passing that increase could lead to defaults in U.S. bonds.  Abortion and religion will placate the GOP for now, as they have no clue how to negotiate a bill, based on its own merits, through the legislative process.  So they settle on social policy “victories” to save face and cover up their laziness.

Trust me: Boehner is no Pelosi.


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One Response to “Missing Nancy”

  1. NatalieR Says:

    BRILLIANT analysis. It is the nuts and bolts of bill passage and what it REALLY takes to pass a bill that goes over my head. Pelosi is probably a genius or her staff is for keeping track of every vote BUT she must have the procedural know how to figure out how to implement what she wants and is an expert in parliamentary procedure like none other who has occupied the speaker seat.

    When Boehner was given the speaker leadership I would bet my posterior that he went on booze fest the day before. Boehner — the advocate of big tobacco and everything big business sat back on his money pot campaign collections from them and basically had to do NOTHING, did not have the ABILITY to do anything and could be seen at the local pubs crying at 3:00 p.m. depressed.

    I am hoping the entire Republican agenda whatever THAT is goes up in smoke as cracks are appearing in the containment wall which was once rock solid hard.

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