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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Alcee Hastings In Place Of Jane Harman?

That's the rumblings coming out of Capitol Hill today as the New York Times reports it. Yep, Nancy Pelosi is seriously considering a former federal judge, impeached on bribery charges, to serve as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee:

Representative Jane Harman has gained national prominence as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, but even her supporters now concede that she is unlikely to become chairman if her party wins control of the House.

Standing in her way is another California lawmaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats’ speaker-in-waiting, who would have the power to pick the leader of each committee. The relationship between the two has soured in recent years over political rivalries and policy disputes, and Congressional officials on both sides of the divide say Ms. Pelosi would most likely look elsewhere to fill the Intelligence Committee’s top job.

“To say it is unlikely she will get the job is accurate,” said one Democratic Congressional official with knowledge of the party’s post-election plans.

The question of Ms. Harman’s future reflects in part the struggles the Democrats have encountered in developing an identity on national security issues, which for years have been the party’s Achilles’ heel.

Ms. Harman, a moderate from Southern California, has been one of the party’s most outspoken voices on national security matters since the Sept. 11 attacks. But she has also drawn sharp criticism from more liberal Democrats, including Ms. Pelosi, who have privately said that she has not sufficiently used her position to attack the Bush administration for its prewar intelligence failures on Iraq and for its use of secret programs like the domestic eavesdropping carried out without warrants by the
National Security Agency.

Two candidates whom Ms. Pelosi is said to be considering for Intelligence Committee chairman are Representatives Alcee L. Hastings of Florida and Silvestre Reyes of Texas, both of whom currently serve on the panel.

The selection of Mr. Hastings, who is black, would help Ms. Pelosi shore up support from the powerful
Congressional Black Caucus. But he has a checkered past, having been impeached and removed from a federal judgeship in 1989 on a bribery charge. Some Democrats fear that installing him in so sensitive a position would only invite Republican charges of weak Democratic leadership on national security matters.

Ms. Harman, first elected to Congress in 1992, served for six years until she relinquished her seat to run for California governor. After her defeat in that race, senior Congressional Democrats recruited her to run again in 2000 for her old House seat, promising that her seniority privileges would be restored if she won.

She was elected, and since 2003 has been the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee. Her supporters say she had assumed she would ascend to committee chairwoman if Democrats reclaimed the House, until news reports last year that Ms. Pelosi planned to install Mr. Hastings. Ms. Harman has lobbied intensely over the last year, enlisting outside interest groups and wealthy Democratic donors to help convince Ms. Pelosi that she would be the best candidate for the job.
Ms. Pelosi’s allies say that she is infuriated by the lobbying effort and that the outside pressure has made her even less likely to consider Ms. Harman.

Ms. Harman’s efforts to claim the post have even attracted the attention of investigators. Federal officials said Monday that she was the focus of a year-old
F.B.I. inquiry related to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group. The officials, confirming a Time magazine report, said the bureau had been looking into whether she had made improper promises to the group in exchange for its efforts to lobby Ms. Pelosi on her behalf.

But the officials also said that the accusations had not been proved and that although the inquiry remained open, it was no longer being actively pursued.

“Congresswoman Harman does not know what this is all about,” said her lawyer,
Theodore B. Olson. “She has no information from the government that she is under an investigation of any sort, and the idea that she should be investigated for being a supporter of Aipac is frightening.”

Personally, that's why I think the Times ran this story. They're trying to show just how embattled Ms. Harman is, at this point. Her leaders are turning her back to her. She's facing an investigation from the FBI. And one of her staff, Larry Hanauer, has just been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of a review into whether or not he acted improperly in handing pieces of the NIE over to the Times.

But this move, if carried out by the Democrats, speaks volumes. For the better part of two years the Democrats have maintain the "culture of corruption" charges against the GOP. Yet, they see now problem in making Alcee Hastings--a judge impeached on bribery charges--the ranking Democrat on the extremely important House Intelligence Committee. Such a move should speak volumes to the nation as to how serious the Democrats really are on national security.

And it's definitiely not bolstering their image. The Democrats need a desperate win this time around, and if stories like this keep popping up, they're going to be lucky to squeak by with the "push" I've predicted for the election. (That "push" being the Republicans lose a couple of seat, but the Democrats do not make any serious gain, nor do they retake either House.) And I'll be the sirst to admit that the push is becoming less and less likely as we quick march ourselves to voting day. The Democrats are falling apart, to put it mildly. The recent antics by their candidates on the election trail are garnering the attention of the voters, and the voters aren't happy.

Before this past weekend, Harold Ford, Jr. seemed to have a pretty comfortable lead heading into election day. Then he crashed Bob Corker's presser. Claire McCaskill was giving Jim Talent a run for his money until she shot herself in the foot, twice. Once with the slanderous ad against him accusing him of not being there for the vets (an out-and-out lie, as the VA has shown in the numerous awards he's received), and with the recent Michael J. Fox stem cell ad that is so disgusting even Alex P. Keaton would be throwing a fit. Both people have slipped in their polls, and allowed their oponent in the door. Now, they're behind in the polls.

This is the ground game in politics. The last two weeks before the election are key in the races. The last ads are going to hit airwaves, and the last big push by the candidates will come up this coming weekend. So, here's out advice for this coming week:

Give 'til it hurts ... the Democrats, that is:
Arizona's Jon Kyl
Maryland's Michael Steele
Minnesota's Mark Kennedy
Missouri's Jim Talent
Montana's Conrad Burns
New Jersey's Tom Kean
Ohio's Mike DeWine
Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum
Washington State's Mike McGavick

And, get your butts out there on election day. Give Nanacy Pelosi a break on some of her decisions. She can't make them if she's not Speaker, and the Democrats don't control the House.

Publius II


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