What the stories should have said

WASHINGTON — In a stunning rebuke to President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and 111 House Democrats voted to kill a budget compromise that funded the government for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year.

Steny Hoyer (Md.), the House minority whip, supported the president’s budget, as did 80 other Democrats, far less than half of the Democratic Caucus.  

The measure, which pays for homeland security, national defense, food safety and education support, was supported by an overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans and easily passed the Senate. The president signed the measure Thursday night.

Pelosi’s opposition signals deep concern within the liberal community that Obama has lost his way, and could augur poorly for the president as he gears up for the 2012 election.  

The split within the House Democratic Caucus also shows a deeper rift between liberals and more moderate Democrats who tend to take a more pragmatic view of the legislative process.

Hoyer quoted Henry Clay, the former Speaker of the House in the 19th century and presidential candidate, who famously said, “If you can’t compromise, you can’t govern.” 

Hoyer has signaled that he intends to be the deal-cutter for House Democrats, largely confining Pelosi to a role as a cheerleader for the left.

Pelosi has also had a rocky relationship with the president, especially as he adjusts to the new realities he faces on the legislative landscape. She voted for the progressive budget, a plan that sharply raised taxes and increased spending. She has also had a history of voting against defense and intelligence spending.  

Obama won his election largely by motivating liberal and independent voters to come out. Many of those liberals stayed home in 2010, as independents switched sides to vote Republican.