Whatever happened to Nancy Pelosi, asks Dana Milbank at The Washington Post. Little more than a year ago, she was marching across the Capitol, oversize gavel in hand, to vote on the health care bill that she helped bring to the House floor. This month, the president and House Speaker John Boehner completely "cut her out of talks aimed at averting a government shutdown." Her vote against the budget compromise on Thursday was a "stark indication of just how far Obama has moved from the former House speaker." It's to his discredit, says Milbank. The president seems to have forgotten how to negotiate since he dumped Pelosi from his circle, and he's "rudderless" as a result. Here's an excerpt:

The former House speaker ... largely defined [Obama's] first two years in office. Then, she was his rudder, and she kept his presidency on a reliably liberal course. Virtually every important piece of legislation — the stimulus, the health care bill, financial regulations — was negotiated at the conference table in her second-floor office in the Capitol. ...

Obama, without Pelosi charting his leftward course, has drifted to where he appears to feel most comfortable: in the middle, splitting differences... But at what cost? Pelosi loyalists say that, ideology aside, Obama simply isn’t getting as much from negotiations as he should, because his bottom line is fuzzy.

Read the entire piece at The Washington Post.