Tea Leaves and Tea Parties

Some of my liberal friends have been privately berating me for writing about Henry Waxman and Nancy Pelosi needing dunce caps.

I watched Henry Waxman woodenly berate the CEO of the California health insurer that– gasp–, raised rates in response to rising medical costs. I came to the conclusion that he is absolutely stupid, an opinion I vouchsafed to my law partner, a seriously active GOP member. “Oh no,” he said, “Waxman is decidedly not stupid; he knows that playing to his audience is how he gets elected.” Color me naïve.

I don’t like Nancy Pelosi. Color me politically incorrect to liberals. She is a power hungry person with a hugely naïve donut hole in her own perceptions. Nancy Pelosi is largely the reason that Nancy Pelosi will not be the Speaker of the House in 12 months. Why? (Having a hugely busy day job, I do not have the time to study intricacies of politics like writers for The Atlantic, the New York Times, Vanity Fair and the Wall Street Journal. My opinions therefore are more gut-based.)

But, the way I see it, Nancy larded up the health care bills with bunches of extremely liberal provisions, way more than an aware person would have expected either: (a) the US Senate or (b) the public, to accept. This forced the Senate into a hugely confrontational debate which ended unexpectedly when Massachusetts, the most liberal electorate east of San Francisco, elected a virulent anti-Pelosi new Senator (actually the electorate was more virulent than Senator Brown, an interestingly alert mid-road populist whose political instincts eclipse Pelosi’s) I conclude that a Senatorial 60-vote filibuster-proof supermajority is much more a political liability than a political asset. If you have the absolute duty to carry the baby and you stumble…..comes absolute failure.

Not a fan of horror movies, I don’t have the right image at hand, but Nancy led her over-confident House majority into a giant trap which only arrogant self-confidence would allow. Oh, I have it…. the spider trap scene in Lord of the Rings. She allowed her bill to be so extreme that the Senate could not handle it, which led to delay, which finally forced the President to burn a huge amount of political capital to drive through an enormously unpopular bill. Timing is important; this is a spectacular example of screwed up timing.

The dunce cap is for creating the now-inevitable huge GOP surge in the polls this November, a one-term presidency, and an opening for Sarah Palin to become a dominant force in American politics. Nancy misread the tea leaves. Now we have tea parties.

Rone Tempest was a longtime national and foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. In 2004 he was part of a team of reporters to win the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the massive wildfires in Southern...

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  1. A politician or political movement is created by constituency of voters. You may think one person is an idiot, I certainly my have my list, Palin to name one, but giving Pelosi the dunce cap for the supposed GOP surge or Sarah Palin’s supposed one term in the future is idiotic. Sarah Palin is only on the radar of anyone because a power hungry and desperate McCain picked her to win women voters, because there are voters who think she speaks sense, and because the republican party is divided on what it means to be conservative. Politics is not about perfection, politics is about dialogue and creating compromise across party lines so policy can be made. The rank spewing of the party of No and the political climate of the last administration or “either your with us or your against us” has allowed many Americans to forget that we are supposed to live in a political climate of dialogue.

  2. Wow, you blame Pelosi for the dems failure at real healthcare reform. I blame the party of “no”… Oh wait, you blame her for the party of “no”. You blame her for the teabaggers? And you blame her for ” a one-term presidency, and an opening for Sarah Palin to become a dominant force in American politics”….how prescient of your gut.