American Samizdat

Friday, November 24, 2006. *
Nancy Pelosi: at War with Her Party. Wrong Woman for the Job?
Not long after I started P! Nancy Pelosi made a speech demanding that George Bush apologize to US troops for sending them into harm's way based on lies, among other things.

At that time, P! was a team blog, governed by consensus. I composed "An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi." Knowing that it would be controversial, I submitted the piece to my editors for consensus approval. Consensus was not reached, so, without complaint, I refrained from publishing it there - I did, however, publish it here, as my own singular opinion.

This is not an "I told you so." But I did have serious misgivings about Nancy's leadership and integrity at the time. Her continuing leadership of the House during two years of cowardly non-opposition to the policies of The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang convinced me of my original stance.

Originally touted as the "sure thing" next Speaker, there seem to be the same sort of doubts in her own party about her leadership. Maybe she's just not the right woman for the job. I'm not sure this is a manifestation of the Democrats' notoriously expert "circular firing squad," since Pelosi seems intent on shooting herself.

She certainly took one in the foot, which was placed securely in her mouth, by losing the Murtha-Hoyer fight. Now comes The Independent (UK) Online with "Pelosi turns on one-time ally in Democrats' 'catfight in Congress'". Excerpts:
Nancy Pelosi, set to become the first female Speaker after the Democrats' sweeping midterm victory, is embroiled in a second bitter intra-party battle before she even takes office in January - this time with another powerful Californian congresswoman over one of the most sensitive and important jobs on Capitol Hill.

Last week, Ms Pelosi suffered a stinging defeat when her chosen candidate for House majority leader was resoundingly defeated. Now a new showdown is approaching in what Washington insiders have called "the catfight": her efforts to deny Jane Harman, her one-time friend turned rival, the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.

Normally, Ms Harman, the most senior Democrat on the panel, would take charge automatically when her party assumes the majority in the House in January. She is a moderate, respected by Republicans as well as Democrats for her experience with intelligence issues. But that is to reckon without the animosity between her and Ms Pelosi, who as Speaker has untrammelled authority to choose committee chairmen . . .

. . . Ms Pelosi's inept handling of the election for majority leader, the No. 2 post in the House hierarchy, has weakened her position. With her vigorous backing of John Murtha instead of her rival Steny Hoyer, she not only picked an unnecessary fight. She also picked one she could not win. Mr Hoyer's overwhelming 149-86 vote victory ended up by casting doubt on her command of her own troops.

Now comes the Intelligence Committee decision. Over the past few weeks, Ms Pelosi has indicated she planned to give the job to the outgoing panel's second-ranking Democrat, Alcee Hastings, despite strong advice from moderate Democrats, intelligence specialists and many newspaper editorialists, that she stick with Ms Harman.

Unfortunately, and just like Mr Murtha, Mr Alcee has a less than spotless ethics record. A former judge, he was impeached by Congress for conspiring to take bribes and removed from the federal bench in 1989. His elevation to one of the most sensitive jobs on Capitol Hill would risk making a mockery of the incoming Speaker's vow to run the "most honest, most ethical" Congress in history . . .
Ms. Pelosi isn't the Speaker yet. It would seem that she is arrogantly and childishly assuming power that she does not have, and at this rate may not ever have.

Frankly, I don't give a hoot what the Dumbocrats do. But I think there are several women in the House better qualified than Nancy. I'd be impressed as hell if, for example, the job was given to Barbara Lee, a congresswoman of the highest courage and integrity who represents the people of Oakland, across the bridge from Nan's district. Ms. Lee alone was against war from the start. She has never wavered. She won her position after Ron Dellums, "The Conscience of the Congress", left. Barbara represents her district as Dellums did.

Unfortunately, and mostly because of that self-same integrity, Congresswoman Lee hasn't a chance in hell of being Speaker. The Democrats in Congress, including Ms. Pelosi, don't have that courage and integrity.
posted by ddjango at 12:55 PM
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