Friday, November 17, 2006

Madam Nancy's in Trouble - Even the NYT is Ripping Her

Now I've seen everything! Even the NYT is ripping Madam Nancy on her performance thus far. The New York Times States in an editorial today:
Speaker Pelosi Tempts Disaster

November 17, 2006


Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House. First, she played politics with the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee to settle an old score and a new debt. And then she put herself in a lose-lose position by trying to force a badly tarnished ally, Representative John Murtha, on the incoming Democratic Congress as majority leader. The party caucus put a decisive end to that gambit yesterday, giving the No. 2 job to Steny Hoyer, a longtime Pelosi rival.

But Ms. Pelosi’s damage to herself was already done. The well-known shortcomings of Mr. Murtha were broadcast for all to see — from his quid-pro-quo addiction to moneyed lobbyists to the grainy government tape of his involvement in the Abscam scandal a generation ago. The resurrected tape — feasted upon by Pelosi enemies — shows how Mr. Murtha narrowly survived as an unindicted co-conspirator, admittedly tempted but finally rebuffing a bribe offer: “I’m not interested — at this point.”

Mr. Murtha would have been a farcical presence in a leadership promising the cleanest Congress in history. Ms. Pelosi should have been first to realize this, having made such a fiery campaign sword of her vows to end Capitol corruption. Instead, she acted like some old-time precinct boss and lost the first test before her peers.

As incoming speaker, Ms. Pelosi will be dogged by skepticism — from within the party and without — about her political smarts and her ability to deliver a galvanized agenda.

It was a no-brainer for the caucus to end the misguided fight for Mr. Murtha, who belittled the need for reform. Now the pressure is even greater for Speaker-elect Pelosi to recover by leading the House to something actually worth fighting for — starting with credible anticorruption strictures. For this she needs gaffe-wary advisers, among them Mr. Hoyer, who has his own questionable record of flourishing in big-money politics. The new majority — led by a presumably wiser speaker — must realize by now that intramural vendetta is hardly a substitute for productive government.

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