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Yon Nancy Hath a Lean and Hungry Look: The Coming Democratic Power Struggle

December 20, 2008

One of the real ironies of the Obama campaign is that left-leaning Democrats, who so relentlessly pursue an anti-Christian agenda, have insisted on comparing the President-elect to Jesus Christ. The worry is that once Obama takes office, his own Party is going to have to impeach him on the grounds that electing Our Savior to the Presidency violates the principle of separation of church and state.

That's not as unlikely a scenario as it might at first appear. As Barack Obama beats a hasty retreat to the political middle, those on the Democratic Left are understandably feeling he has abandoned them, the very people who, through their willingness to commit voter fraud and flout campaign finance law, see themselves as having played such an important part in getting him elected.
While most of those on the left have been reduced to sniping from the sidelines, Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in American politics, has emerged as the person most likely to lead the opposition against Obama's newfound centrism. Nor is it even likely that Democrats will suddenly have to reverse course and begin upholding the Constitution to achieve their ends. Pelosi has proven herself as adept as ACORN and Al Franken at circumventing law and policy to further her own ends.

As John C. Fortier points out in his Politico article, "Dingell's Ouster Reveals Democrats' New Order," the power of the Democratic Party in the House has historically rested with Committee Chairmen, in no small part because House Democrats were broadly comprised of two coalitions — progressives and Southern conservatives — who often had conflicting points of view on critical issues. Today, Fortier argues, power in the House is much more homogeneously liberal than it has ever been. This has reduced the effectiveness of committee chairmen and centralized power in Pelosi's hands, making her the most powerful House Speaker in over a century. And this might not bode well for President Obama.

All this brings us to the question of the Democratic agenda, and the even bigger question of who's going to be in charge of carrying it out. The one thing that's been ignored in all of the back-and-forth about Barack Obama's very centrist cabinet picks is the fact that, not only might the Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority in Congress, they might also, with the help of a few Republicans, have a veto-proof majority. And that sets up a potentially interesting confrontation between Pelosi, who's second in line for the Presidency in the event that Obama is not allowed to serve out his term, and Barack Obama himself.

As John Bresnahan has pointed out in a Politico.com article, "Pelosi lays down the law with Rahm," Pelosi has already told Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, that she's not about to countenance the executive branch's triangulating her. Pelosi has made it clear that she'll brook no back-door agreements between Obama's office and individual Democratic legislators and that she wants to be informed of every conversation Emanuel and his staff have with her and Harry Reid's charges in Congress.

Pelosi has also signaled her interest in staying in the spotlight by meeting with both the Big Three automakers (on November 11th) and state governors (on December 1), arguably attempting to upstage Obama with these two important groups. While Obama's cabinet appointments suggest he is moving toward the center, Pelosi's actions indicate that she's still hellbent on overseeing a legislative agenda designed to make happen every nightmare Obama's presidential campaign seemed to suggest, whether or not the new President concurs.
But, as Pelosi's photo ops with Syrian President Bashar Assad and pro-FARC, anti-Colombian activist Piedad Cordoba indicate, her aspirations might not stop with simply trail-bossing the legislative agenda. Pelosi might have designs on the presidency itself, and depending on how obsequiously the President kowtows to her political wishes, it's not out of the question that she might want to short-circuit Obama's term in office.

Joe Biden predicted that Obama would be "tested" during his first six months in office. He just neglected to mention Nancy Pelosi as the tester. The degree to which Obama meets the internal challenge Pelosi has already signalled she's ready to launch will in no small degree determine the success of his presidency, because in every significant legislative and policy action they've taken, the Pelosi-led House Democrats are significantly left of the positions Obama's appointments indicate he's taking. This is one fight it's likely Obama will win, unless, that is, Pelosi and Company opt for impeachment, with the ultimate objective of installing the Speaker of the House in that other House, the White one.

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