As Politico very gently puts it, Nancy Pelosi is "encouraging vulnerable Democrats to express their independence if it helps them politically, according to Democratic aides on and off Capitol Hill." I heard a Democrat Party operative on Hannity & Colmes this evening trying to spin that in words like "Ours is a 'big tent' party, and Speaker Pelosi was just expressing that it's appropriate for all our different points of view to be expressed."
Sorry, but I have to call BS on the operative's spin. Still, there are a couple of possible interpretations of the Pelosi advice. The one that's closer to the operative's spin is
Pelosi recognizes that a lot of her minions are vulnerable on this issue. Because of this vulnerability, they will be allowed to express their disagreement on this issue without being punished by the Speaker.The less charitable interpretation is
Pelosi recognizes that a lot of her minions are vulnerable on this issue. Because of this vulnerability, they are being encouraged to say anything necessary to get re-elected so they can protect Pelosi's obstructionist agenda.Personally, I don't think either option reflects at all well on Speaker Pelosi and her "Marie Antoinette" political strategy.
It appears Speaker Pelosi doesn't care what happens to the country and its people, so long as she (and maybe her party) can benefit. This is not just an assumption. Politico notes that "Even as they face heat from constituents during the August break, Democrats say they aren’t going to cave in to popular pressure." And "“There is no crisis on our side of the aisle,” a top House Democratic leadership aide said. “We have a plan, and we will stick to it.”" Translation: "We have our plan, and we don't care what you rubes think or say."
Meanwhile, President Bush reportedly believes there is no chance the Democrat Congress will take any action this year. That's apparently why the White House won't call Congress back into special session to deal with the energy issue. Personally, I think that's the wrong strategy. There was no chance the Republican Congress would take any action when Harry Truman called them back into special session in 1948. But Truman called them back anyway, they demonstrated their unwillingness to put the country's interests ahead of their own, and Truman spent the rest of the campaign headlining the "Do-Nothing Republican Congress" and won re-election as a result. The Pelosi Congress makes the one in 1948 look activist. Based on their record so far, if called back, the Pelosi Congress would help sign its own death warrant.