Meet the new Angry – Democrats on the Hill. And they are angry with each other, no less.
The anger is most palpable in the House, where Pelosi and her allies believe Obama’s reluctance to stake his political capital on health care reform in mid-2009 contributed to the near collapse of negotiations now.
But sources say there are also signs of strain between Reid and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and relations between Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate are hovering between thinly veiled disdain and outright hostility.
In a display of contempt unfathomable in the feel-good days after Obama’s Inauguration, freshman Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) stood up at a meeting with Pelosi last week to declare: “Reid is done; he’s going to lose” in November, according to three people who were in the room.
Titus denied Tuesday evening that she had singled out Reid, but she acknowledged that she said Democrats would be “f—-ed” if they failed to heed the lessons of Massachusetts, where Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat last week.
Rahm piled on:
Emanuel, several Senate and House aides said, hasn’t been shy about assigning blame, either. He’s been especially critical of moderate senators, including Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), for wasting months negotiating with Republican senators, such as his friend Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
While shouldering some of the blame for the Massachusetts debacle, Emanuel has reportedly criticized Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey — and, on occasion, even Reid himself.
Reid and his staff were infuriated when they got word Emanuel was apparently telling associates the majority leader did too little to force Baucus to accelerate his work, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Pass the popcorn.