John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Pelosi As Foch

Posted on November 5, 2009

Pelosi as Foch

It was the French General Ferdinand Foch who said during the First World War: "Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack."

Foch’s tactics during the Great War, as it was called back then, unnecessarily killed thousands of French troops at the Battle of the Somme, leading to his eventual dismissal and an unhappy place in history.

I am reminded of Foch by the offensive launched by Congressional Democrats in the aftermath of Tuesday’s stunning election. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote on her massive health care bill in the House, and the Senate Energy and Environment Committee reported out a costly cap and trade bill.

The elections sent one clear message. The American people don’t want big expensive government and they don’t want higher taxes. As Foch might have put it, the right has pressed hard on those issues and the center is yielding to that message. So what does the Democratic leadership do? They attack. They move forward with legislation that is sure to kill the election hopes of many of their most vulnerable troops.

Pelosi has seemingly convinced herself that her side won the election. In fact, she pointed out that because Democrats won the New York 23 race and the California special, that everything is hunky-dory with the Democratic philosophy of bigger government and higher taxes. I think that is self-delusion, which is a very dangerous trait in a political leader.

Her moderate members will now have to spend the next year finding ways to either distances themselves from their Congressional leadership or convince Pelosi that she has to change course. They won’t be successful either way they go. The Speaker is not going to change her tactics, and no amount of throwaway votes are going to make up for the bigger debt, the bigger government and the higher taxes that are coming this year and next.

Saturday, the House will take up a 2000 page health care bill that will raise taxes, cut Medicare, and cost more than a trillion dollars. That is the political version of Foch telling his troops to attack in the face of the German machine guns in the bloody fields of the Somme River Valley. It may seem to be politically courageous to the liberal Democratic leadership, but it is political suicide to the 75 or so vulnerable moderates who will face the ire of the voters in a year.

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