OBLIVION – AT 11:29 P.M. ET: The name you hear less and less of these days is Nancy Pelosi. Remember Nancy? Not many months ago she was the speaker of the House, with a really neat office. Lots of free plane trips. And she got to be called "Madam Speaker." That was then. This is now, as The Politico notes:
During the past election season, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could have starred in a remake of the Hollywood cult classic “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.” In an endless string of campaign ads, Republicans caricatured her — even put her image on billboards — as a political monster.
But now, the former House speaker more closely resembles “The Incredible Shrinking Woman.”
Her diminished stature has affected the way she is perceived in Washington’s power game and the way she handles her duties as head of the House Democratic minority. It all adds up to this: At times, the once-omnipresent Pelosi seems practically invisible in the Capitol.
When President Barack Obama, Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hammered out a deal last week to avert a shutdown and fund the government for the rest of the year, Pelosi was delivering a speech at Tufts University near Boston.
But her hands would have been idle if she had stayed in Washington: The White House didn’t want her involved in the talks.
In fact, Democratic and Republican sources tell POLITICO, none of the power brokers wanted her in the room. They feared that her presence and her defense of liberal values would have made it impossible for Obama to cut a deal with Boehner. The sources say Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also was excluded so the White House could justify keeping Pelosi out.
Boehner, more or less, had McConnell’s proxy in negotiating with Senate Democrats and the White House.
COMMENT: Obama doesn't need Nancy any longer, so under the bus she goes, joining a star-studded host of former friends and allies.
Nancy isn't helped, of course, by the fact that her ultra-liberal, San Francisco-based leadership of the House was a key factor in the Republican victory last November. She not only lost, she lost big time, throwing away a comfortable majority.
She retains her leadership of House Democrats, although they, too, are greatly diminished, both in number and in spirit. They've become so easy to ignore.
I would imagine that Nancy may well have a real fight on her hands to stay minority leader. She will probably win it, but why?
April 14, 2011