It's been fascinating to watch perhaps soon to be former House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal) dig her political grave.
The first rule of holes is that when you find yourself in one, stop
digging. But for her press conference Thursday, Ms. Pelosi rented a
The Speaker has been in the forefront of those Democrats in Congress who
want to prosecute former Justice Department lawyers who said certain
"enhanced interrogation techniques" used on al Qaida bigwigs were legal.
But the CIA released a memo indicating she and a member of her staff had
been briefed on these techniques in 2002 and 2003, and she raised no
objection to them at the time.
After this memo was made public, the thing for Ms. Pelosi to do was to
quietly let the matter drop. If there is nothing you can say to make
yourself look better, keep your mouth shut.
But instead Ms. Pelosi has made a series of statements describing what
she knew when, each different from the one before, each more outlandish
than its predecessor. "Her lies are so transparent birds are slamming
into them," said Fox News commentator Andy Levy.
Thursday's press conference was a gasp-inducing exercise in self
immolation. Ms. Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her. "They mislead
us all the time," she said of the CIA's relationship with Congress.
Alas for San Fran Nan, no other member of Congress was willing to back
When Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC asked Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a
fellow Democrat, about that quote, he laughed out loud. "On that
specific point, I totally disagree," he said. "Over the 20 years I've
been here, I've been briefed constantly by the CIA and I'd say they've
told me the truth, as they see it."
When asked about Ms. Pelosi's charge, her deputy, House Majority Leader
Steny Hoyer (D-Md) said: "I don't have a belief of that nature … I
don't draw that conclusion."
I suspect that in private, Mr. Hoyer is enjoying watching Ms. Pelosi
self destruct. The two are not close. They ran against each other for
Speaker after the Democrats took control of the House in 2006, and Ms.
Pelosi then opposed Mr. Hoyer's election as Majority Leader. She
preferred Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa).
But Mr. Hoyer and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are tight as
ticks. There is little doubt Mr. Emanuel would prefer to have Mr. Hoyer
running the House. Ms. Pelosi's awareness of this may account for her
foolishness in holding the news conference, her nervousness during it,
and her figurative bathing of President Obama's buttocks with saliva at
an unrelated news conference earlier.
The president can't be happy about Ms. Pelosi's ever shifting stories,
because they cast a poor light on his decision to make public explicit
details of the CIA's interrogation techniques, and because they put more
pressure on him to make public the memoranda former Vice President Dick
Cheney says document the effectiveness of those techniques.
On the other hand, Mr. Obama has to be grateful the news media are
focusing on Ms. Pelosi's credibility rather than on his abrupt change of
position about making public photographs of the abuse of prisoners at
the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, or on trying some of the prisoners at
Guantanamo Bay by military commissions.
A sign Ms. Pelosi is about to be thrown under the bus could be if more
Democrats support an Ethics Committee investigation of Rep. Murtha,
whose financial dealings with the defense lobbying firm PMA have
attracted the attention of the FBI. It would go easier with the
moonbats if Ms. Pelosi were dumped for condoning corruption than for her
hypocrisy on "torture."
In the meantime, Ms. Pelosi's charge the CIA has deliberately misled
Congress is serious and will have to be investigated. This elevates and
prolongs the "torture" debate, and does so in a way that makes the
credibility of Ms. Pelosi the central issue. This is not what Democrats
intended when they began their witch hunt against former Bush
"The witch hunt has caught the witch," one wag said.