Pelosi talks tea parties, partisan politics

April 15, 2009 7:41:05 PM PDT
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says it is only natural that Republicans would line up against the president on taxes and budget issues. But she thinks Wednesday's tea party protestors are missing the point.

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Pelosi says she is the speaker for the whole House of Representatives, but she has not been able to get a single Republican vote on the president's stimulus package or his budget.

Pelosi started out by saying bipartisanship is not dead; she never expected republican support on budget issues.

"Budget votes are generally down party lines, in fact many of the Republicans didn't even vote for the Republican budget, but certainly we expect as we go forward education and health care and addressing the climate crisis global climate crisis that we will have bipartisanship," Pelosi said.

But just a minute later, she made a very partisan statement about House Republicans.

"They don't believe in what Barack Obama stands for, they don't believe in taking the country in a new direction, they don't believe in having the prosperity where many more people in our country participate in the economic success of our country; they really don't believe in government role in terms of climate change and some of the other issues that we are making priorities as we go forward," she said. "They are committed to the failed economic policies of the Bush administration, that's what they believe."

It does not sound like there is much bipartisan feeling on either side. At a Commonwealth Club event Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi told the audience if Republicans have good ideas, she will listen, but will not wait around for them.

"But if they don't want to go forward, then you can't wait, you have to go forward with the majority of the vote," she said.

Peolsi characterized Wednesday's tea party protests as contrived events backed by those who like tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

"They are the people who are funding what is supposed to look like a grass roots operation but is really an Astroturf initiative on the part of those who liked the status quo under George Bush, the failed economic policies that got us where we got today," Pelosi said.

It is a house divided, says ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain, with Republicans playing a waiting game.

"They really do believe that they don't need to make any strategic adjustment they just need to wait for Obama to fail; so it's not just about Rush Limbaugh, this is the prevailing view of people in Congress, people in the party," Cain said.

Cain says, when Democrats were waiting for President Bush to fail; Rahm Emanuel and Pelosi went looking for moderate blue dog Democrats to run in districts where they would have a chance against Republican incumbents. Cain says Republicans have no such centrist strategy.

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