Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pelosi vs. Obama?

Not yet, and maybe not ever. But this Politico piece gives a sense of what it would look like:
Pelosi “is not going to allow Obama to triangulate her,” said a Democratic source close to the leadership. “It’s not going to happen to her.”
One reason it might not happen is because Obama might not even try that maneuver. That term "triangulate" certainly feels like an anachronism, doesn't it? But the relationship that develops between the Democratic president and the Democratic Congress will be one of the interesting stories of at least the next two years, and there are a few different ways it could go.

The piece points out the true fact that the Republican Congress followed the Bush administration in almost unprecedented lockstep. As a political strategy that was wildly successful in the short term and completely disastrous in the long term -- when Bush's popularity plummeted, it wasn't apparent to voters whether the GOP was anything but Bushism.

You can tell by the cabinet Obama has assembled that there is an all-Democratic-hands-on-deck feeling to this administration, at least at the start. Nothing wrong with that. But it's worth remembering that there are real reasons why Congressional Democrats ought not simply go along with a popular Democratic president. That's because the long-term health of the party requires that it not be too bound up with any one person, up to and including Barack Obama.

The other side of the argument is something like: Voters want stuff to get done. Democrats have a plan, there really isn't much separation between Obama and Congress, so roll up your sleeves, people, and get to it.

I don't think this Politico piece indicates any true faultline just yet. But it's probably one to watch...

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