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Pelosi fundraising email: You're damn right we're keeping the House!

You have to love this, from Nancy Pelosi's latest fundraising email for House Dems, emailed over by a Democrat:

Here is what will happen in November. Democrats will keep control of the House. Period.

While some Washington pundits are claiming that Republicans have the momentum, I remain more confident in our chances for victory as long as we have our secret weapon -- you.

The bolding is not mine; it's in the original. And note the emphatic word "period." Ya think this is a swipe at Robert Gibbs' claim that Republicans might take back the House?

At first, I'd thought that Dem consternation about Gibbs's comments was overblown. I'd thought they could be somewhat helpful, by dramatizing the stakes of this fall's elections for dispirited rank and file Dems.

But it's pretty clear now that Dems have good reason to be furious about Gibbs's misstep. It has forced a days-long media process story about whether they're going to lose the House and about tensions between them and the White House. This is happening just when Dems are trying to turn the spotlight away from themselves and onto Republicans in order to persuade voters that this fall's elections represent a choice between competing governing philosophies.

Pelosi has now been forced to reiterate, in a fundraising email, no less, that Dems will keep the House, to ensure that the discussion of Gibbs's comments doesn't put a damper on the base's enthusiasm.

To be sure, the tensions between House Dems and the White House run much deeper than an argument over one passing comment by Gibbs. The anger is really due to the fact that House Dems are going to be the ones who bear the brunt of voter rage, when it's Senate Dems and the White House who effectively dithered on jobs and unemployment. I guess it's good that Gibbs' comment forced recognition of this state of affairs into the open, but that's the only good thing about it.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 15, 2010; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , Senate Dems  
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Next: With passing of FinReg, Dems are winning the larger argument (very, very slowly)


I'm not sure this huge stink is really Gibbs's fault. If the members wouldn't keep shooting their mouths off to the media about how mad they are at him, it wouldn't be a four day story. After all, Gibbs doesn't control whether the Dems lose the house--voters do, so what does it matter what Gibbs said? If the House reps had shrugged it off and moved on, we wouldn't still be having this debate.

Posted by: IndyLinda | July 15, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Okay Greg, I've got to say I enjoy this site and I often enjoy your comments, but when you say something that is clearly wrong, I've got to speak up. Lately you've been throwing out the line that the Senate and the WH have "dithered" on the economy while the House democrats have stood up and fought for it.

Let's be clear on this. It really doesn't take much of a "fight" to pass anything in the House. There's a 60-70+ vote differential between dems and republicans there. They have a much higher margin for error.

The Senate requires 60 votes to get ANYTHING done. That requires 100% of Democrats plus any number of republicans. Hence, while you could say they're "dithering", it's quite clear that the amount of effort needed to pass ANYTHING in the US Senate is almost herculean. Now I really don't like fighting for the Senate on anything like this, but to suggest that Senate Dems are "dithering" is just an outright fabrication that needs to stop.

Posted by: calchala | July 15, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

calchala -- I reject that. Unlike the House, the Senate has not passed unemployment benefits. The House has passed jobs creation measures; but the Senate has decided against another stimulus. You can blame Republicans for obstruction if you want; but from the point of view of House Dems, there simply isn't enough urgency from the Senate leadership or the White House on these fronts.

Would a more active effort by the Senate and White House change the dynamic and lead to action in the Senate? Maybe not, but if they were pushing harder in public, it might have the effect of persuading voters that Dems were TRYING harder, which could limit losses in the House.

The larger point here is that the House is going to take it on the chin for the failings in the Senate -- whoever you blame those failings on.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Nancy knows how slow the pace of the Senate is, and held politically risky votes time after time. I think she did this because she thought it would sell come election time, as in, look how heroic we're being. Unfortunately the country is not on board with some of these ideas and are they getting beat up over them. A glacial senate is nothing new, expecting the opposite falls on the Speaker. I think she's projecting

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 15, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I hear you in this article, but I dont believe it. I think you talked to one or two Democrats (if then) and made up the rest of the story. How convenient that the other sources did not want to be revealed. Poppycock! If they were as angry as you say I doubt very seriously if you could have shut them up,

Posted by: ruthella10 | July 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

ruthella -- the press has been full of on the record quotes from angry House Dems.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I may be a sucker, but Pelosi's email made me laugh, so I gave the DCCC a small contribution. I would have donated anyway though - I think the House should be rewarded for pushing so much of Obama's agenda through this term. I understand that they have a much wider margin to work with & procedural rules that greatly favor the majority party, but many members have taken several tough votes nonetheless.

Also, the words "Speaker Boehner" make my skin crawl. Can you just imagine having to watch him sit up there behind Obama at the 2011 State of the Union. Yikes.

Posted by: OKeefePup | July 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

As usual, Benen breaks down the reality of things...

"In the larger context, Wall Street reform also gets added to the list of breakthrough accomplishments of the last 18 months, a list that now includes health care reform, an economy-saving Recovery Act, a long-sought overhaul of the nation's student-loan system, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, and the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, among other things."

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The House passed a few of their bills with just a vote or two to spare...hardly the hurdle that the Senate faces and the reality of compromise this WH is facing.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That quote was from:

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Okay Greg,
I am convinced the Gibbs comment was a screw-up. I still think if it had been part of a coordinated message strategy and approached differently, it could have actually been effective. Dems have a lot of educating to do with our base about the impending disaster and happy-talk about holding the House strikes me as about on par with the WH's happy-talk on the economy.

Part of the 'choice' framing that Dems have wisely chosen must necessarily recognize the possibility that the GOP will seize control of at least some part of government. That's the whole point! So, yeah, perhaps Gibbs' comment was ill-timed or should have been coordinated better with House Dems so that the perception of a WH/Congressional Dems split didn't become the story.

But the concept has to be part of the conversation. If Dems will "keep control of the House. Period," then there's not really a choice, is there? Why should I even vote?

Posted by: jbossch | July 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This is a tiresome repetition of a meme based on a misunderstanding of the mood in America.

This is a diversion, and not a very clever one.

the house members who fear for their jobs are on the record with their votes. They voted for things the American people find unacceptable. Hence the drama.

Enough with the scapegoating. If the house members don't want to face the wrath of the voters in November they should have listened to us in March

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"BP: No oil leaking into Gulf from busted well

BP: No oil leaking into Gulf from busted well

BP says oil stops gushing from busted well after valves shut on new cap"


Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, skippy, the House should have listened to the lying, racist teabaggers back in March. You remember, the ones calling the President a Muslim, racist, fascist, socialist, communist that was proposing death panels to kill granny.

Remember skippy -- AR MA GEDDON!!!!

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 15, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Pass Financial Reform - Check
Plug the Damn Hole - Check

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

skippy and other GOP folks here:

what is your party going to do if they win the House in Nov.? Name 3 things they'll do that would put the country back on track.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse


In that same post, Benen also notes:

"As Rachel Maddow recently observed, "The last time any president did this much in office, booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, if you believe in government that addresses problems, cheers to that."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Name 3 things they'll do that would put the country back on track."

I can name one they think will be an accomplishment...relentless investigations until they impeach Obama.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on the historic passage of FinReg:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I love Pelosi and I know she has to say this but I think she is wrong. The Dems are failing epically on a political level and they are going to get smashed by the No-Nothings in November. Here's yet another indication: 73% of Americans OPPOSE the Gulf deepwater drilling moratorium:

The geniuses and professionals in this White House couldn't sell lemonade in the Sahara. And THAT is why the House is furious. Political ineptitude, just like Pelosi called it.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Pass Financial Reform - Check
Plug the Damn Hole - Check

SEC Settlement with Goldman Sachs on securities fraud - CHECK!

What a freaking DAY!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@ss28:Enough with the scapegoating. If the house members don't want to face the wrath of the voters in November they should have listened to us in March.

They will face the wrath of the voters because they weren't able to get many of their priorities accomplished because they died in or weren't taken up by the senate. The house takes tough votes that energize the opposition, but have no legislation to show their supporters because republicans in the senate won't allow votes on those bills. hence the enthusiasm gap. And the bills that get through the upper chamber are often so diluted in order to get conservadems or the Maine twins or Scott, mr playgirl, Brown to sign on that dem supporters end up disappointed, even though some landmark (if compromised) legislation did get through despite unified obstruction by the repubs. This is why the stimulus is less effective than it could have been...compromising on the size and balance of direct spending vs tax cuts to break the filibuster.

Posted by: srw3 | July 15, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The problem here is obviously how to manage the expectations game and instill a sense of urgency in party activists *without* inspiring fatalism and finger-pointing. That's a tough one for Democrats because some of the most activist-prone segments of our political left (and maybe everyone else's, for that matter) love nothing so much as fatalism and finger-pointing.

Posted by: CalD | July 15, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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