Van Hollen mans the lifeboat for Nancy Pelosi

As a key member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s palace guard, the political fortunes of Maryland’s Rep. Chris Van Hollen also took a nosedive during last week’s historic drubbing at the polls. But Van Hollen is not only still loyally clinging to Pelosi’s sinking ship, he’s insisting – right after hitting the iceberg – that she should remain in a top leadership position.

Van Hollen doesn’t have much choice. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he was in charge of keeping Democratic members of Congress afloat after Pelosi engineered enormously unpopular votes on bailouts, cap and trade and Obamacare. He was the officer on the bridge calling the shots when, as CNN’s Candy Crowley, pointed out: “the Midwest and the interior West just caved in on you.”

Van Hollen acknowledges the enormous losses the Democrats sustained (how could he not?) but fails to grasp why an electorate that handed his party both houses of Congress and the presidency on a slilver platter in 2008 has now turned against it.

“Nancy Pelosi has been fighting for middle-class America for the last 24 months,” Van Hollen told Crowley. But by pushing through President Obama’s far-left distributionist agenda, it’s more accurate to say that Pelosi has been fighting the middle-class for the past two years.

“What this was all about, and understandably so, was a referendum on 9.5 percent unemployment and a feeling that we had not made enough progress,” Van Hollen added. But what he refers to as “progress” is what led to 9.5 percent unemployment in the first place.

Crowley tried to get Van Hollen to admit that the Democrats had themselves to blame for the electoral bloodbath. “But you know, nowhere in here nor have I heard from the president that you see anythng wrong in the policy that was passed…Did you consider at all that there is something that went too far and that the American people are pushing back?”

No such luck.

“The facts are the facts. I mean, there are 3 million more Americans employed today than there would have been without the economic recovery bill, so it’s not that that failed, but what it did fail to do was to meet expectations, which was to come back on all cylinders,” Van Hollen replied.

And who raised those expectations, promising that the stimulus would create millions of jobs?

Crowley gave Van Hollen one more chance: “But just to make sure, you don’t think that the Democrats went too far and spent too much money…or went after the wrong thing and should have been focused on jobs for a year rather than health care?”

Nope, Van Hollen replied. And by the way, it was all Bush’s fault: “We were responding to an emergency. The emergency began on George Bush’s watch.” Egad.

Following such a rout, the vanquished party typically turns inward to finish off those weakened in the battle. Nancy and Chris may escape for now, but they will find it pretty lonely in the lifeboat.

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