No doubt the president's breakfast was ruined this morning when he picked up the Washington Post and saw the front-page above-the-fold headline: "House Democrats hit boiling point over perceived lack of White House support." In it, Democratic representatives named and unnamed sound off on both Obama and his press secretary Robert Gibbs.
The boiling point came Tuesday night during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats in the Capitol. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) excoriated White House press secretary Robert Gibbs's public comments over the weekend that the House majority was in doubt and that it would take "strong campaigns by Democrats" to avert dramatic losses. "What the hell do they think we've been doing the last 12 months? We're the ones who have been taking the tough votes," Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (N.J.) said in an interview Wednesday.
But wait, there's more!
"What they wanted to do is separate themselves from us," Pascrell said Wednesday. He accused the White House of wanting to preemptively pin the blame on lawmakers running poor campaigns should Democrats lose the majority and not on Obama's own sagging approval ratings. At the Tuesday night meeting with Pelosi, lawmakers groused that the White House was taking them for granted. Pascrell was especially vocal and punctuated his complaints by reading Gibbs's comments word for word in front of the caucus. After he spoke, Pelosi interjected. "I disagree on one point—I think you were too kind to Mr. Gibbs," she said, according to Democrats familiar with her comments.
Some pundits have speculated Gibbs's mention that the House might fall was intended to jolt the base—if they don't head to the polls this November the party of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, et al, would takeover one or possibly two chambers of Congress. But based on Paul Kane's reporting in the Post, other Democrats seem to interpret Gibbs's utterance as a sign the White House is focusing now on saving the Senate, which they suspect Obama favors over the House. The House is doomed and there's nothing the president can do about it. But thanks for casting those controversial votes. (Kane also points to the few occasions the president has stumped for House members versus the more numerous times he's gone to bat for friends in the Senate.)
Most amusing is the concluding analogy, in which one Democrat compares his House colleagues to Mikey from the Life cereal commercials: "There's a sense that's the White House's attitude toward us," the lawmaker told the Post. "And now, Mikey ate it and he's choking on it, and there's no appreciation."
Even worse, come November, Mikey's going to stuff his mouth with Pop Rocks, drink a can of soda, and his face will explode.