Farrell: Pelosi Is As Good As It Gets-But Is That Good Enough?

It's about the stupid airline seat

Hey- it's late and I'm tired and the stupid airline seats are so small my knees are hitting my chin.

Have I ever told you all I hate airlines. But since I am on one and want to get a note out, let me be brief, to the point and pithy.

The pithy part of the program starts with "Say it ain't so, Nancy."

Speaker Pelosi is as good as it gets in wrestling votes for legislation she favors.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

She is the female version of that titan, Tip O'Neill (D. Mass.) who famously said, "All politics is local."

But as good as she is, the Speaker seems to have come up short with the necessary votes to get the Senate version of the health care bill passed in the House of Representatives.

A raft of newspapers reported Tuesday that she is considering using a parliamentary tactic that will allow the House to approve the Senate bill without voting on it. The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill, says the Washington Post. The original bill would then be "deemed" to have passed. It's called the "self executing rule" or the "deem and pass" provision. The Speaker says she prefers it because it would "politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publically support the measure" (Washington Post again).

Ms. Pelosi said directly "I like it because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."

Predictably, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal went into full hyperventilation. The paper says the process is "A brazen affront to the plain language of the Constitution...Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution says that in order for a Bill to become a Law, it shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate." Self executing rules have been used in the past, but never for so momentous an issue. This isn't the way to go, Madame Speaker. The electorate will not see it your way.

To keep the reality show that is Washington firmly in prime time, the Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, acknowledged in the Financial Times that Washington/Israeli relations are in crisis mode. Prime Minister Netanyahu has defiantly said the housing developments in East Jerusalem are not open for negotiations. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had an "angry" 45 minute phone conversation with Netanyahu and made no headway on the issue.

Additionally, 130 Congressmen sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary demanding he name China as a currency manipulator. They also called for countervailing duties to be placed on Chinese imports. This at the same time we are looking for support from China, one of the two largest holders of our debt, on issues ranging from sanctions on Iran to climate change. As we noted the other day, there is a lot going on and the health care fixation is letting a lot of other stuff start to get out of hand.

Back on the home front, the Fed is staying the course with interest rates exceptionally low etc. etc. etc. The statement following the FOMC meeting was somewhat more upbeat but the Fed is no closer to a move on rates than they have been.

Housing starts were predictably soft and there are officially 3.8 million existing homes for sale. The bigger issue is how many more will go into foreclosure. Some speculation is there could be 5 million or more additional homes to be foreclosed and offered for sale. That would be around 20 months of inventory. The stated inventory is now 8.4 months. Could be messy and uncomfortable.

But not as uncomfortable as this stupid airline seat.

Vincent Farrell, Jr. is chief investment officer at Soleil Securities Group and a regular contributor to CNBC.