Feehery: Walking the plank

Feehery: Walking the plank
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House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — House pushes toward infrastructure vote US mayors, Black leaders push for passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill Lawmakers say innovation, trade rules key to small business gains MORE (D-Calif.) would make a great Captain Hook.

Hook was famous for making his victims walk the plank. 

As the House returns from a brief vacation this week, the House Speaker is making some of her more moderate colleagues do the same.


Democrats have a way of making their most vulnerable members take tough votes and then lose elections.

Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky sacrificed her political career by voting for the first Clinton budget back in 1993. That budget included huge tax increases, including a new energy tax that proved extremely unpopular with voters. The upside for MMM is that her son married Chelsea Clinton. 

Hunter Biden is available for anybody who walks the plank for the Biden budget. 

In 2008, Pelosi made her moderates walk the plank on a variety of terrible votes, including a climate change vote that had no chance to pass the Senate and an extremely unpopular health care law that proved the undoing of a whole swath of moderate Blue Dog Democrats. 

A net 63 Democrats lost in the 2010 elections, from all regions of the country, but the hardest hit were those from the South and the Midwest. Most of those have never returned back to the Democrats. 


I call those swing-seats the majority makers and they need to be treated with great respect and kindness, otherwise they swing to the other side and make the other party the majority.

Perhaps Pelosi already knows her gig as a privateer is finished and she is already preparing to set sail for her private island, wherever that might be. But for the rest of her merry band of progressive pirates, the minority will be a cold, hard reality.

Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerCaregiving coalition airs 7-figure ad blitz backing .5T bill Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Koch-backed group launches 7-figure ad blitz opposing .5T bill MORE (D-N.J.), the leader of the Problem Solvers Caucus, knows he has a huge problem on his hands. He likes to pretend that he is kind of a Republican, but he also knows that his top priority —  getting a tax cut for his wealthy constituents — will most likely be in the reconciliation package. While the overall bill, with its huge price tag, will be unpopular in his district, the tax cut will be popular. He was one of the nine members who signed a letter to the Speaker, saying that he wanted a separate vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package, but I assume he will be the first to fold to Pelosi.

Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), who didn’t sign the letter and who represents the same general area as MMM, is running as a centrist for the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE. He has to win a primary before he wins the general election. Progressives won’t forgive him if he leads the charge against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery Ocasio-Cortez explains 'present' vote on Iron Dome Dingell fundraises off Greene altercation on Capitol steps MORE (D-N.Y.) in the House. I can’t imagine that he will be one of the three who stops Pelosi in her tracks.

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia did sign the letter, had no business winning her seat in the first place. She undoubtedly will be promised a job in the last two years of the Biden administration if she votes the right way.

The Texans who signed the letter saying that they won’t vote for the budget have some issues with Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money — House pushes toward infrastructure vote Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — EU calls out Russian hacking efforts aimed at member states Why Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong MORE (D-Ore.) wanting to completely destroy the oil and gas industry, which is kind of important to Texas. I imagine a deal could be had there giving them some assurances that Wyden’s wacky ideas won’t pass muster in the House, although if I were them, I would get those assurances in writing.

That leaves three holdouts, Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderWHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill GOP ramps up pressure on vulnerable Democrats in spending fight Drug companies on verge of sinking longtime Democratic priority MORE of Oregon and Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaWHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill GOP ramps up pressure on vulnerable Democrats in spending fight House Democrats break internal impasse to adopt .5T budget plan MORE of California. There is no way that a fellow Californian will buck Pelosi, not with redistricting going on this year. That leaves Golden and Schrader who can vote no to their heart’s content.

Pelosi will find a way to make her most vulnerable members walk the plank. She is a former whip and an expert arm-twister. She will make the case to her most vulnerable members that they will most likely hang separately in the next election, so they might as well hang together on this tough vote. Her argument would make Captain Hook proud.

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: The confidence game Settlement reached in hush money case involving ex-Speaker Feehery: Not this way MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).