Pelosi's Suicide Pact; Rangel's Newly Found Ethics
James Taranto has a great capsule summary of, to paraphrase Budd Schulberg, What Makes Nancy Run:
The voters be damned: That seems to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi's attitude in the wake of big Democratic losses on Tuesday. "House Democratic leaders, undeterred by delays in the Senate or this week's Republican electoral triumphs, plan to call a vote Saturday on the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. health-care policy in four decades," Bloomberg reports:The House will move on the $1.05 trillion legislation that would cover 36 million uninsured people and create a government plan to compete with private insurers even after the election of Republican governors in New Jersey and Virginia. President Barack Obama will go to Capitol Hill tomorrow to meet with House Democrats, as they seek the 218 votes they need to pass the bill, a Democratic leadership aide said.
Politico reports that "leaders expect a close vote, with a one-or two-vote margin, and no Rs." They plan to pass this monstrosity without bipartisan support and with the bare minimum of support from their own party. "Pelosi has reportedly told fellow Democrats that she's prepared to lose seats in 2010 if that's what it takes to pass ObamaCare," The Wall Street Journal reports. Is she mad?
No, not really. Or we should say only ideologically, in that she loves the monstrous idea of socialized medicine. Given that, though, her actions make perfect sense in terms of practical politics. After all, this is likely to be the high-water mark for liberal Democrats. They're likely to lose House seats next year anyway, and there's no guarantee President Obama will be re-elected. At 69, Pelosi stands a good chance of facing a death panel before she leads a majority of this size again.
Besides, her seat is in no jeopardy. She comes from a safe ultraliberal district. The same is true of the Democratic committee chairmen, who had to be able to win re-election even in lean years like 1994. According to Wikipedia, no member of the left-wing Congressional Progressive Caucus has lost re-election in a general election (Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia lost a primary to another CPC member).
So Pelosi will probably still be speaker a year from now, even if her caucus is diminished. In the worst-case scenario, she'll be minority leader, with hopes of returning to the speakership on the strength of President Obama's re-election coattails. This is a small price to pay for the privilege of seizing control of Americans' health care.
Or as Mark Steyn has written:
When the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan dumped some of his closest cabinet colleagues to extricate himself from a political crisis, the Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe responded: “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his friends for his life.”
His, her -- in Pelosi's home district of San Francisco, they're pretty flexible about that stuff.
Meanwhile, on the floor of Congress today, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit has video of a haggard looking Charlie Rangel (D-NY) saying "he won’t answer Rep. John Boehner’s question because he doesn’t want to violate House Ethics laws."
PJTV Salutes You, Mr. Tax-Law-Writing-Tax-Evader!