Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pelosi Reads the Handwriting on the Wall?

It looks like Alcee Hastings won't be the next chair of the Intelligence Committee.

This ought to staunch the bleeding, at least. If Pelosi is the primary mover behind this - and has scheduled the meeting to break the bad news to Hastings - she will come off looking stronger. If it turns out that Hastings saw the handwriting on the wall and went to Pelosi, it will probably be another embarrassment. And either way, she apparently faces trouble from the Congressional Black Caucus.

This was the right decision on policy, of course. It's unfortunate this runaway train ran so far down the tracks, though.

Update: Looking around, it appears that Fox News had the scoop on this one. Apparently Jane Harman is still out of the running.

The potential choice of Sanford Bishop would certainly look like a good one. And while I'm unaware of any House rule that would constitute a serious obstacle to serving both on Appropriations and as chair of Intelligence, it would be unusual for a Member to hold two such influential positions. If Pelosi sees Bishop as the right person to solve this mess though, there probably won't be much serious objection among House Democrats, who have to want to see this controversy behind them.


Update II: Congress Daily reports that the meeting has happened, and Hastings did not emerge in a great mood. There's also a mention of Stephanie Tubbs-Jones as a potential candidate for Chair:

...Speaker-elect Pelosi met today with Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, amid speculation that she will turn down his bid to chair the Intelligence panel. After the meeting, Hastings declined to answer repeated questions about the meeting and deferred all comment to a statement that would be issued later today. "When I issue the press release, you'll know," Hastings said. "You will get it when you get it."
Current Intelligence ranking member Jane Harman of California has the support of the moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog Coalition but has a chilly relationship with Pelosi and is likely to be passed over. Hastings has been lobbying for the position, sending lawmakers a letter last week outlining his qualifications for the post and addressing the fact that he was removed from a federal judgeship following a bribery probe in the late 1980s. While he has the backing of Congressional Black Caucus members, his judicial impeachment raises problems for Pelosi, who made ethics a main issue of the fall campaign. Ethics ranking member Howard Berman of California has announced he will not chair the panel next year but it remains to be seen if Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio, who is next in line, will receive the spot.


Update III: Hastings's statement is as funny as it is pompous. From Congress Daily:

NEWS ALERT : PELOSI TELLS HASTINGS NO ON INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMANSHIP
After meeting with House Speaker-elect Pelosi this afternoon, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., issued a statement confirming he will not serve as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "I have been informed by the speaker-elect that I will not serve as the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 110th Congress," he said. "I am obviously disappointed with this decision." Hastings won election to Congress in 1992, after having been impeached and removed from office as a federal judge. He concluded his statement by saying, "Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."

Guess we'll have to find someone else to hate.


Back to the top.

2 comments:

The MinuteMan said...

Surprising - I assumed God wanted more oversight of the NSA program.

Maybe Cheney got to him...

Tom Maguire

Anonymous said...

He's setting up Harman and her nutty Plame 'must investigate'NSAS, etc. things that she jummped at every time and made the Director of MI6 worried about the plans for one in France too, but then they hit plan B and those cars just flamed!