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Jennifer Donahue Headshot

Beware Speaker Pelosi: Boehner Knows How to Play Offense

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There are times in politics where carrying a big stick works, but they are few and far between. The House Republican leadership found out how short lived a majority is when the stick is swung too hard in 1994. The once touted "Contract for America" had ten agenda points that were well organized. The politics of ramming it through failed, leading to losses that resulted in leadership coups, and loss of Republican seats. It was Rep. John Boehner at the helm then and now.

If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pays attention, all she needs to hear has already been laid out before her. The Republican leadership resents her. Okay, no big deal, right? Wrong. They know a popular President on a honeymoon when they see one. So who is their target? That's right. Speaker Pelosi.

There are plenty of ways to poke holes in any spending package, no matter who offers it. That is true when it is offered by Republicans and Democrats alike. But with Republicans in the Minority, House leadership has to remember that their stakes are low, they have nothing to lose, and nothing to defend right now. So where are they going? On offense.

House and Senate leadership roles are changing. Democrats have to learn to be on defense - and fast. Republicans are already on offense. They have been digesting the script since November.

President Obama won red states, so he is not the target of the offense. But an unpopular Congress is a good target. Congressional Democrats should walk softly. And drop the stick. And listen.