Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cutting of your nose

I agree with Matt Stoller. Considering the herd of cats Nancy Pelosi has to wrangle every single day, I think it would be best if we "cut her a little slack".

Especially considering truly stupid things like this:

Yesterday's [Congressional Black Caucus] meeting with Jefferson was well-attended, drawing nearly all of the caucus's heavyweights -- Ways and Means ranking Democrat Charles Rangel (N.Y.), Judiciary Committee ranking Democrat John Conyers (Mich.) and Democratic Caucus Chairman James Clyburn (S.C.).

Most lawmakers would not comment afterwards, but a CBC aide summed up some members' frustration, saying, "Congresswoman Pelosi, by preemption without any legal justification, has now created a new precedent for how members are going to be treated. Unfortunately, she's chosen to single out an African-American for this honor."

Then the aide added an electoral threat, saying, "The African-American community, which overwhelmingly backs the Democratic Party, will not take this lightly. I hope she enjoys being minority leader."

If the Democrats regain the majority next year, four, possibly five, members of the CBC would lead committees. So any threats about keeping Pelosi out of the Speakership would necessitate them losing out on that opportunity as well.

And as for the comparison between the situations with Rep. Jefferson and Rep. Mollohan (read the above for more details) there are two fundamental differences, neither having anything to do with race. (1) The evidence of criminality on the part of Jefferson is much stronger than that against Mollohan and (2) Mollohan has already resigned from his senior position on the ethics committee. So Pelosi's call for Jefferson to step down from his committee position is actually a call for equivalent treatment.

Apparently Pelosi tried to get Jefferson to step down voluntarily behind the scenes. Going public on this was not her first choice. For all we know, she made a similar, behind doors, request to Mollohan.

UPDATE

Mollohan resigned from his position on the Ethics Committee, but he still holds his seat on the Appropriations Committee, a much more powerful post.

I still think Pelosi's call for Jefferson to step down is correct. But I'll defer on the question of whether their truly is equivalence between Mollohan and Jefferson at this point.

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