It seems as though Nancy Pelosi is stuck in a game of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” that she wishes she had never begun. Everything was rolling along smoothly, until she stumbled on a million dollar question. She eliminated two of her options, but the question just got harder. When she asked the audience, they pointed back at her. And when she phoned a friend, he called her a liar. On the hot seat and out of lifelines, Madame Pelosi now gets to decide whether to take her check and walk away, or risk catastrophic failure and take a 50/50 shot.
I can seldom remember a public statement made by the Speaker that did not feature the name George W. Bush in some derogatory fashion. This holds true, even today, a solid 4 months since he hitched up the wagons and went back to Texas. I have always been curious as to what lies at the core of Pelosi’s feelings toward former President Bush. It is more than political opposition, more than disagreement, more than rivalry, but a pure and profound hatred for the man himself. Not about any other political opponent does she speak with such disdain and anger; not even John McCain, while he was running head-to-head against her poster boy in 2008. All the while, she continued her effort to defame and embarrass a lame duck president.
I’ve long thought that there would come a point where Pelosi’s one sided war on George W. Bush would come to fruition, one way or another. When would the tension break the point of containment? Answer: It just did.
Speaker Pelosi just committed the cardinal sin of politics, letting emotion overshadow strategy. She was been blinded by her self-induced hatred for George W. Bush, so much so that she may have incriminated herself in the process. When the Obama administration brought up the possibility of prosecuting former Bush officials for ‘torturing’ terror suspects for information, the always loveable Speaker of the House jumped at the opportunity. She figured this was her one big chance to smear Bush, once and for all.
She began ranting and raving uncontrollably about waterboarding and torture, calling for a “truth commission.” More importantly, I wish someone could explain to me what, exactly, a “truth commission” is. Because, to me, it sounds like a kind of “morality police” or the “Love and Friendship Division of the Pentagon.” Actually, the term comes from dictatorship regimes in South Africa, but I like my explanation better. Plus, the current administration gets somewhat irritable when you mention the word dictatorship. Hmm…
But in all of her moral righteousness, the Speaker forgot to tie up a few loose ends. First, she was the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee at the time, meaning she was briefed on the matter. Second, if she was not present at the briefings, why not? She obviously was not doing her job. Third, if she was briefed on the matter and raised no objections, what makes her any different from those who authorized the techniques in the first place? So, Mrs. Pelosi is caught in the middle, stemming from a lack of strategy. Alex Castellanos put it best on CNN’s State of the Union, “… if Speaker Pelosi were still capable of human facial expression, we would see she would be embarrassed because right now she is in a very Nixon-like position.”
So, the political runaround began. First, she denied being at the briefings. False! Multiple sources, including an aide of hers, said she was properly briefed on the issue of waterboarding (before it took place). No one, not even her own party, has defended her denial. Next, she says she was misled by the C.I.A., hoping the current director, a friend and colleague of hers, would come to the rescue. He denied her claim and said that they were very clear about the techniques. After that, she accused the Central Intelligence Agency, made up of some of the nation’s most respected individuals, of lying. The director defended his employees again, leaving Pelosi out to dry.
The C.I.A. has no reason to lie about this, especially considering that Leon Panetta, the director, is a Democrat (Obama appointee) who would like nothing more than to defend his party’s congressional leader. Why would he devastate Pelosi’s career to defend President Bush? For this, I must commend him for not playing the politics, but playing the facts. And if anyone knows the facts, it is he, who has access to the records of all intelligence briefings. If Pelosi continues to call out him and his agency, he may be forced to reveal incriminating documents that would destroy Pelosi politically. How is that “truth commission” sounding now?
Nancy Pelosi wanted so bad to further harm Bush’s reputation that she failed to recognize her own involvement. This political mistake could very well cost her the third-ranking position in the United States. And it was all her doing. Had she ignored the issue and continued on under the new policy (Obama has since banned waterboarding), letting the Justice Department decide what to do about Bush, she wouldn’t be backpedaling right now. Nobody would have noticed that she was ever involved. But, since she waived her arms and brought attention to herself, it’s her turn in the hot seat. So what’s it going to be, Madame Speaker? Will you take a chance or take your check and walk away?