Nancy Pelosi’s grip on the Democratic caucus is slipping, with subtle and not-so-subtle challenges to her authority coming with increasing regularity. She couldn’t, for example, muster enough votes to get the Senate’s $15 billion jobs bill through without amendments, because of objections from the Blue Dogs on the right and Congressional Black Caucus on the left. Politically vulnerable first- and second-termers have been equally bold in defying her, writes Jonathan Allen of Politico.
With 2010 looming, an “every man for himself” attitude has set in, according to one senior Democratic aide. Democrats also forced Pelosi to reverse her support for Charles Rangel, then defied her again by vetoing her replacement choice, Pete Stark. “Nancy Pelosi is a little bit like a Forest Service warden during a particularly dry summer,” says one political scientist. Little blazes are springing up everywhere, and some “could grow into pretty serious forest fires.”