House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did her best song and dance Sunday on “Face the Nation,” but host Bob Schieffer was not buying what she was selling.
Schieffer wanted to know what the Democrats planned to do about runaway spending and persistently high unemployment, but received some pretty vague answers from the highest ranking Democrat in the House.
On Mitt Romney’s charges that the economy is now Obama’s and that he has failed America:
Pelosi: Well first of all I don’t stipulate to that set of facts that Gov. Romney just said, Mitt Romney just said because the fact is that this deficit came to us largely from President Bush. But it’s no use going there. We have to go forward. It’s a question of what is the president and those that are aspiring to be president going to do about the future to create jobs, good paying jobs. What are they going to do about the education of our children, the security of our seniors, the strengthening of the middle class, reducing the deficit reducing the deficit.
Schieffer: But the president has been there 2 1/2 years. I mean why hadn’t he done that yet?
Pelosi: Well he’s done a great deal with it. I think if he hadn’t taken the actions he did that the situation would be worse. He pulled us from the brink of a financial crisis, from an economic crisis and we had to dig out of a deep debt. And we also had to make it clear that we’re not getting into this situation again.
Yes it is true that Obama came into office facing a deficit, but Pelosi conveniently neglects to mention that starting in FY 2008 the Democrats controlled the process even if they didn’t control the White House. So Obama largely inherited a budget that started with a Democratic Congress.
And rather than cut spending, the Obama budgets have increased spending to record levels and piled on more debt than we can ever hope to repay.
Schieffer, unsatisfied with Pelosi’s excuses, then brought up a statement that she made in January 2008 about President Bush’s economic policy:
Schieffer: You were talking in kind of a different way when unemployment went to 5% under George Bush. What you said then was that Americans were struggling with skyrocketing energy prices, gas was only $3 a gallon then. And you said “This morning’s jobs report confirms what most Americans already knew-President Bush’s economic policies have failed our country’s middle class.” I mean aren’t Republicans entitled to say. You know if gas was $3 and unemployment was 5% and, and the president has failed the American people. Don’t they have a right to say that this president has failed the American people?
Pelosi: Well if you want to go into the past we can talk about the past all you want. The public wants to know about the future. What are you going to do to create jobs, good paying jobs in this country.
Let’s not talk about how wrong she was in the past and how bad the present is compared to Bush’s time in office, but instead let’s focus on the future where there is hope that if the Democrats can just get some of their legislation passed…
Oh, wait a minute. What legislation?
Schieffer: But the fact is that the Congress has been in session since January and it’s done basically nothing.
Pelosi: Well you can talk to Mr. Boehner about that.
Schieffer: So it’s all their fault? It’s not your fault?
Pelosi: No, but they set the agenda.
The more Pelosi spoke the more frustrated Schieffer seemed to get, as he couldn’t understand why the Republican control of Congress prevented the Democrats from proposing legislation that might help solve the unemployment problem.
Pelosi’s answer to that vexing question?:
“We’re not in the majority in the House. And so you’re saying to me why haven’t we brought something to the floor to create jobs? I think that’s a better question asked to the Republicans because they control the agenda.”
There isn’t really a need to ask the Republicans why the Democrats haven’t brought any job-creating proposals to the floor. The reason is clear — they prefer to demagogue against the GOP plan than to offer a plan of their own.
Schieffer deserves credit for not rolling over and playing dead and for not allowing Pelosi to spread her half-truths to the nation about why the Democrats are missing in action this year in the budget process. In the Senate it’s been more than two years since the Democrats, who control that part of Congress, have passed a budget.
Pelosi’s appearance yesterday certainly didn’t help her cause, as Schieffer exposed the Democrats as being devoid of any ideas on how to fix the country’s most basic economic problems.