You can get caught with your fly open and diddling a teenage page and elicit sympathy, while a drug hoarding radio host gets a pass for using his housekeeper as a pusher. That same host can then get caught with sex drugs in a bogus bottle at an airport, coming back from an all male weekend in one of the child sex capitals of the world, but his radio show doesn't miss a beat. Meanwhile, the former (we assume) foot fetishist Dick Morris is still Sean Hannity's favorite hack, pontificating out his pie hole about all things anti-Hillary. Oliver Iran-contra North has his own TV show, with former felon G. Gordon Liddy holding court on radio. A compulsive gambler is not only kept on radio, but given a spot on CNN, while telling the world about morals. Newt Gingrich, the disgraced speaker of the House and multiple marriage man, is still the go-to guy for Hannity on Fox. A man who reportedly married his third cousin (then divorced her), one of 2 (or is it 3?) marriages, just announced his presidential bid; the other GOP bidder a self-proclaimed philanderer, as well. But God help you if you're a woman against a war with a champion you want to promote to leadership; a person who helped raise the war debate to a campaign issue that carried your party to power, but loses that race. Let the corporate clucking begin.
Make no mistake about it, Murtha falling short of majority leader was a loss for Pelosi. So what? She stood by the man who brought the Iraq war into the debate and changed the subject from "stay the course" to "change course and redeploy." Steny Hoyer was gracious in his overwhelming win, as was speaker-elect Pelosi, making it clear that Murtha's power lives on to fight the fight in his subcommittee, where he holds the defense purse strings for the war. Pass the president the Tumms.
Photo op. Press conference. It's done. Next item.
But no-no-no. Cue the hack attack.
"Speaker Pelosi Tempts Disaster.": Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House.
Her Own Worst Enemy – Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi lost big on the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha race, is the headline from Howard Fineman. But he doesn't stop there, describing the majority leader contest as "the fiasco known as the Hoyer-Murtha Race."
Then there is Timothy Noah's Dump Pelosi? Let's put the new House speaker on probation.
The ever obtuse TNR spews that Murtha's loss is a "real embarassment (sic) for Nancy Pelosi. … How can Pelosi recover."
Oh, and by the way, so does Tom DeLay.
But it was renegade DeLay who had a surprise. "I'm going to shock you," said he. "I think the real Person of the Year ought to be Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the House. She worked for years putting a strategy together, building a huge coalition. She held the Democrats together in the House like I have never seen before. She is going to change America!"
Spoken like a very good sport from one mortal enemy about another.
Tom Delay not only appreciating the power, prestige and political capabilities of speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, but nominating her for TIME magazine's person of the year? I'm caught between nausea and acknowledging a nod from the man who built the most powerful House machines in GOP history. I'll leave it to mull.
A president takes us into a war, first giving the rationale that we were going to be hit with WMD, which then went from "gathering threat" and "mushroom cloud" to "we know where they are" and "smoking gun," to "reconstituting its nuclear weapons" and "weapons programs," which was bad enough, to end up at … “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.” All this, but it's the Democrats who are being constantly chastised by the likes of Sean Hannity and the other chickenhawks for wanting investigations into how we got into this war, the war profiteering that happened on Bush's watch, all the way to the incompetence of Donald Rumsfeld and his wholesale refusal to submit to Goldwater-Nichols.
But let Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi back the one man responsible for raising the dialogue on the war to a campaign issue, which took us to victory, and she is pilloried by the corporate press, as well as every chattering class political pundit in the pack, when he loses that bid.
Bush had capital to spend after the 2004 election that was won by a razor thin margin, but when Speaker-elect Pelosi rides to victory in a WIPE OUT her capital is spent with one leadership battle. I get it.
I smell something rotten and it's the mass of collected hubris the clucking pundits are sitting upon, which they now feel the need to release like the wind escaping from Karl Rove's bubble. Who died and elected these people to anything? It certainly wasn't the American people.
One time at bat, you're done, madame speaker-elect. Consider yourself warned and marginalized. You are "tempting disaster," a "real embarassment (sic)," immediately put "on probation, and your "own worst enemy." Yes, God forbid you stand up for something you believe in and lose ONE battle.
Politics ain't beanbag, goes the old saying. I guess we can be glad that the corporate hacks at CNN, MSNBC, NEWSWEEK, The New York Times, the Washington Post, as well as TNR, Slate, and all the other political assassins hunting for Nancy Pelosi aren't in a real position of leadership. A position which requires you to stand up and take a position, even if it's unpopular and sometimes — perish the thought — ends up in a loss.
There is something I keep close at hand, especially for times like these. Eleanor Roosevelt got it right.
Because Eleanor wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and take action, she had enemies. Some people criticized her opinions, while others made fun of her big teeth and unfashionable clothes. “Every woman in public life needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide,” was Eleanor’s response. - An Inspiring Life
Good advice for any woman (or man, for that matter), but particularly for speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi who has many more battles ahead.
Cue the clucking, phase two.
UPDATE: Speaker-elect Pelosi has just put up a blog post on Huffington Post. It's entitled: Bringing the War to an End is my Highest Priority as Speaker.