Nancy Pelosi, Alcee Hastings: The Politics of Megalomania
The emerging news this week is that Nancy Pelosi plans to appoint disgraced former federal judge Alcee Hastings (D, FL) as head of the House Intelligence Committee. She is bypassing the universally respected Jane Harman (D, CA), whom Mrs. Pelosi dislikes as a result of the new speaker's political paranoia and obsessive grudge-holding.
Rep. Hastings was impeached in 1989 by a Democratic Congress (with Mrs. Pelosi as a member) and convicted by a Democratic Senate. One cause of his impeachment related to his taking a $150,000 bribe.
He resurfaced as a House candidate in a primarily Black district that presumably still doesn't believe that O. J. "didn't do it." He wins reelection easily every two years, and he gratefully accepts truckloads of campaign contributions, not to be confused with bribes of course.
Pelosi has talked constantly about her commitment to ethics, a claim that appears to be entirely bogus, given her affection for ethically challenged types such as John Murtha and Alcee Hastings.
Something else that seems "disingenuous" -- this week's word in the closed world of the Beltway -- is her supposed support of the War on Terrorism. Unfortunately, Pelosi wouldn't know a terrorist if he (or she) jammed a pipe bomb in her mouth.
People like her -- married to what one writer called a California "gazillionaire" -- don't see many terrorists and apparently don't like to think about them. "Out of sight, out of mind" appears to be the operative principle.
Since they apparently see George W. Bush as the focus of evil in the modern world, to coin a phrase, they may wonder what all the fuss is about bin Laden, Khalid Sheik Muhammed, and the like. They focus on the big issues, like seizing the opportunity for a northern Californian (Pelosi) to shaft a southern Californian (Harman).
Surely, the message will not be lost on the much-touted "Bluedog" Democrats, the fiscally and socially conservative House members who provide the Democrats their majority -- and Pelosi her speakership.
They'll discover that if you vote against Pelosi at any point in your career, she will not forget it -- and she will punish you. The situation is so pathetic that her unwanted "number 2" person, Steni Hoyer, is asking that she not retaliate against members who voted against her choice, Jack Murtha, himself a symbol of corruption.
Murtha, who called ethic reform "total crap," will be one of the floor leaders of the proposed legislation supposedly -- but not really -- designed to reform House ethics.
When the American people voted the Democrats in, they did so -- according to polls -- largely because of concerns about ethics. Somehow I don't think they were voting for leading roles for people like Murtha, Hastings, the brain-dead Dennis Kucinich, and Pelosi herself.
As the saying goes, "be careful what you wish for." Stay tuned as the political landfill in DC emits an evermore more disgusting stink.