Yesterday, I noted that in post-Scott Brown victory chaos, members of the House and Senate were each saying that the ball was in the court of the other chamber. Given this, you’d think President Obama would want to take charge of the situation before his top domestic priority unravels. But instead, in his news conference this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs passed the buck to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
“They’ve got to figure out a path forward legislatively,” Gibbs said. “Each of them knows their chambers better than anybody else.”
At the same time, Gibbs insisted that a comprehensive health care bill would pass, even though he wouldn’t elaborate on what President Obama meant when he said that Congress should unite around the “core elements.”
“The president believes it is the exact right thing to do by giving this some time,” he also said, “by letting the dust settle and looking for the best path forward.”
Meanwhile, today President Obama spoke to announce new regulations on the big banks and called for a “forceful response” to today’s Supreme Court decision — both of which suggest he’s eager to pivot to issues that would allow him to tap into populist anger that he’s convinced fueled Brown’s election.
The prospect that Brown could win the Senate election and change the political calculus in Washington was evident at least a week and a half before it actually happened. That’s why it’s incredible that the White House had absolutely no plan in place to manage the aftermath, allowing chaos to reign among Democrats, and all sorts of mixed messages to be spread. This is, I think, a good example of what happens when you elect somebody without executive experience.