Published October 01, 2010
So much for draining that swamp.
Pelosi dismissed Congress yesterday, mainly so that her troubled caucus could return to their districts to campaign, especially for cash as the GOP fundraising advantage is eclipsing that of Democrats. But still left on the table was a lot of unfinished business – including a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts. Pelosi’s a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. She didn’t have the votes to only partially extend the cuts because members of her own party were breaking ranks with her. If she brought a vote to the floor, she’d lose. And no Speaker will call a vote unless victory is all but guaranteed.
Democrats also left some unfinished business when it comes to trials for ethically challenged members of their party – Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters. Guess you have to have your own show on Comedy Central to get some attention around the Beltway. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the same member who invited Stephen Colbert to testify on the Hill last week, is also the Chairwoman of the House Ethics Committee, the same committee that is responsible for setting the schedule for Rangel and Waters’ trials.
Also, two other party members gave Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships to relatives. Most importantly, lobbyists, corporations and special interests still have unimpeded ways to buy access to members of Congress.
According to Politico, all five Republican members of the House ethics committee released a letter earlier this week slamming Lofgren for not scheduling hearings for Rangel and Waters before the November elections.
“The chairwoman has repeatedly refused to set either the Rangel or Waters trial before the November election,” the Republicans wrote in a letter released Tuesday. “While we regret that the committee has not worked together in a bipartisan fashion to ensure the transparent and fair resolution of these matters to date, we look forward to working with the chairwoman in a bipartisan manner to accomplish this – and other important unfinished committee business – in the coming weeks.”
(For the record, Pelosi thought the Colbert testimony was “great.” Seeking justice for members of her own caucus? Not so great.)
It should be noted that Rangel, in particular, is a close political ally of Pelosi’s. She has relied on him in past, especially when she originally ran for the leadership position in 2006. Same with Waters.
It’s when you are not friends with Pelosi that she will impose “justice.” The current Speaker and then minority leader embarked on a political witch hunt against then-former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay was one of the most effective members of the GOP so she set her sights and had him impugned. DeLay left Congress because of the charges but has since been cleared after millions of dollars in legal fees and major reputational damage. But Pelosi pays no price.
So will her friends, Rangel and Waters? It’s rumored that their hearings won’t be scheduled til 2011. Pelosi’s fate isn’t as speculative.
If Republicans don’t recapture the House, Pelosi will likely run – and win – Speaker again. Many of the conservative Democrats that she fed to the wolves in order to pass Obamacare will have lost their re-elections and will not be there to oppose her. Her majority will be slimmer, but more leftist.
If the GOP takes the House, Pelosi won’t run for minority leader. She will be responsible for the forfeiture of the majority – and she will be the primary reason for it as she is the star in many campaign ads used against Democrats this Fall. She will go away.
And what about her promise in 2006 that she will run “the most honest, most open most ethical congress in history?” I guess she forgot to mention she’d be running the most hypocritical congress in history, as well.
I guess in the politically perverse world of Nancy Pelosi, promises are meant to be broken.