House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) clearly got the best of it in the CAFE fight with John Dingell (D-MI). After all, the Senate had 35 miles per gallon as the final mileage target, so that was Pelosi’s bottom line — and she got it.
The New York Times reported the back story today, pointing out that Pelosi has answered the central question she was facing — “could she handle the powerful Democratic committee chairmen?”
With the deal on a major energy bill on Friday evening, the answer was clear. Ms. Pelosi had effectively corralled the oldest and arguably the baddest of the “old bulls,” Representative John D. Dingell Jr. of Michigan, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
In this case, the 81-year-old Dingell couldn’t fight the one painful reality of the times — oil prices much higher than his age! So he gave in with only a little fight and a few face-saving provisions. Dingell remained gracious:
Discussing the energy deal, Mr. Dingell praised Ms. Pelosi.
“She is doing a good job,” he said. “She is a strong speaker, and I am doing my best to work with her and she is doing her best to work with me.”
Is that the theme from Rocky I that I hear in the background? Well, maybe from Rocky III or IV (“Eye of the Tiger”) since, of course, Rocky doesn’t actually win in the first movie.