The GOP just can’t lead- or govern.
And they demonize Nancy Pelosi because she can do both so well.
From David Corn at MotherJones.com:
When the voting began on the controversial—and ugly—debt ceiling bill in the House of Representatives on Monday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democratic leader, did not know how many votes House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had for the measure that had been crafted by President Barack Obama and the Republicans. Boehner had not reached out to her to make certain that the crucial legislation designed to prevent a potentially disastrous US default would be approved. When Boehner “went to the table”—brought the bill to a vote—he “had no idea” how many votes he had, Pelosi says.
Want to learn more about the debt ceiling fight? Read the editors on the real problem with John Boehner, review our detailed, updated explainer on how we got to this point, and learn why Kevin Drum thinks the deal sucks. Still hungry? David Corn has a great story on the Obama administration’s political strategy.
The speaker, as it turned out, did not have enough Republican votes to pass the bill—only 174—and he had made no arrangement to guarantee its success. When there were minutes left for the vote, and it became apparent that Boehner would fall far short of the 216 votes necessary for passage, Pelosi’s Democrats began voting in favor of the measure. “We were not going to let it go down,” she told a small group of journalists on Wednesday morning.
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In past years, a House speaker and the leader of the opposition would probably confer before such a crucial vote and figure out how to move the legislation through the chamber. (Boehner and Pelosi both were supporting this bill, albeit Pelosi quite reluctantly.) And many outside observers assumed that Boehner and Pelosi had indeed convened prior to this vote, that a conversation such as this had occurred: Nancy, I can get up to 170 or so votes, but not all those tea party guys. John, I can tell you that at least 50 Democrats are going to hold their noses and vote for this stinker. Yet when the final dramatic vote arrived, Pelosi was surprised that Boehner was so short of the magic 216. “When they didn’t come to us for votes,” Pelosi recalls, “we thought they had the votes on their own.”
But Boehner didn’t. So the Democrats, having waited to see how many Republicans would back the measure, started filling in the gap. Pelosi didn’t have to send any signal. Her Democrats, she says, are a “sophisticated” group, and they could see that without Democratic support the bill would fail.
In a routine situation, if the House speaker were to bring a bill to the floor and only obtain 174 votes of his or her own party, he or she would pull the legislation and then talk to the other side, which would expect concessions or sweeteners in return for the votes necessary to assemble a majority. In this case, Pelosi maintains, there was no time for further bargaining. The measure had to be approved and kicked over to the Senate, for the possibility of default loomed. “I don’t know nobody [in the Democratic caucus] who wanted to vote for it,” Pelosi notes. But Democrats were committed to forestalling default. In the end, half of her caucus supported the measure, far more than necessary to put it over the top.