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Obama The Triangulator?

The always-insightful First Readers make a great point today:

Speaking of Democratic leaders, are House Republicans trying to drive a wedge between Nancy Pelosi and President Obama? Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (R) appeared to be at it on Hardball yesterday, having nothing but praise for the president after their meeting on the Hill. He softly called him "very sincere" in his call to bipartisanship, but stressed that Obama was likely "surprised" to see that House Democrats aren't following in his call. He lamented that Republicans have had no input into the stimulus. The White House, for its part, seems to relish the role of mediator. It's exactly where they want to be. The question is, of course, how long will Speaker Pelosi put up with the idea that Republicans have the president to whine to when they are not getting their way?

You do get the sense that there's a bit of a good cop/bad cop routine going on. On the other hand, I'd guess the more relevant wedge is going to fall between the House GOP and the Senate GOP. The bottom line is that no one really needs the House GOP--the House Dems can basically ram through their legislation with zero Republican support. But the Senate GOP is still in a position to obstruct. 

The upshot is that the House GOP, realizing it has no chance at influence, will go off the deep-end, while the Senate GOP may moderate its tone in exchange for power. The early indications are that Obama realizes this and that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is receptive.

--Noam Scheiber