House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed misgivings about the efficacy of President Obama’s so-called “charm offensive,” saying that House Republicans seem “at war with [their] own government.”

“By and large,  the approach the Republicans take is that they are there to shrink the role of government to the point where it really recalls to mind a statement of President Washington who cautioned about a political party at war with its own government,” Pelosi told reporters today in response to a question about the charm offensive.

Moments earlier, she had described Republicans as  “people who want to raise the [retirement] age and abolish the Affordable Care Act,” in a reference to the the budget unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which calls for the repeal of Obamacare.

As for Democrats, Pelosi said that “we don’t want any more government than we need,  but we respect the public role: public private partnerships, and putting a referee on the field . . . to monitor clean air, clean water, food safety; a cop on the beat for the protection of our neighborhoods.”

Washington, in his farewell address, discussed the threat to liberty that a political party might offer. “To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable,” Washington said, warning against animosity between regions in a passage that almost appears prophetic in light of the Civil War. “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”