Monday, November 13, 2006

The Government We Deserve

Democratic jockeying for power is already underway, although the new Congress doesn't take office for another two months.

From a national security standpoint, the most distressing development is Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi's willingness to bypass ranking Democrat Jane Harman as the next Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. According to today's Washington Post, Ms. Pelosi has all-but-decided that she will not name Congresswoman Harman as the new head of that panel.

That leaves Flordia Congressman (and impeached former federal judge) Alcee Hastings as the prospective chair of the Intel Committee under a Democratic House. We recently wrote about Mr. Hastings ethically-challenged career, and judged him unworthy to serve in such an important post. In a just world, Congressman Hastings would be a recently-paroled felon, fresh from a stint in federal prison for his part in the bribery scandal that resulted in his removal from the federal bench. Instead, Mr. Hastings will become a principal overseer of our intelligence community.

Ms. Harman is hardly a conservative, but among the liberal members of her party, she has reflected a depth of study and understanding of intelligence issues that is required for the chairmanship. After being briefed on the NSA terrorist surveillance program, she did the right thing, refusing to blow the whistle or leak the information to the press. Unfortunately, those actions make her suspect in Ms. Pelosi's eyes. Giving the chairmanship to Hastings allows Pelosi to exact a measure of revenge for Harman's "sins," while staying in the good graces of the House Black Caucus.

All this, from the party that is promising a "new direction" in Washington.

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