Byron York has an informative piece posted today at NRO that discusses impeachment of former federal judge Alcee Hastings, the Representative in the House who stands to be appointed by Pelosi to chair the House Intelligence Committee. Pelosi, and other key Dems who are still in office today, voted in the House at that time to impeach him back in 1988:
One of the newcomers to the House was the future Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been in office a little more than a year. She voted to impeach Hastings.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the future Majority Leader, also voted to impeach. And so did the lawmakers who will soon chair powerful House committees. Rep. Conyers, now in line to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Charles Rangel, soon to chair the Ways and Means Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Barney Frank, in line to head the Financial Services Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Henry Waxman, next chair of the Government Reform Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. John Dingell, in line to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. George Miller, soon to head the Education and the Workforce Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. David Obey, in line to chair the Appropriations Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Ike Skelton, next chair of the Armed Services Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. John Spratt, next in line for the Budget Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Howard Berman, next head of the Ethics Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Tom Lantos, in line to chair the International Relations Committee, voted to impeach. And Rep. Louise Slaughter, next chair of the Rules Committee, voted to impeach.
So did other well-known Democratic lawmakers like Rep. John Lewis, Rep. (and later Sen.) Barbara Boxer, Rep. (and later Sen.) Charles Schumer, Rep. (and later Sen.) Richard Durbin, Rep. Ed Markey, Rep. Ron Dellums, Rep. Julian Dixon, and Rep. Richard Gephardt.
The question of whether Hastings should be put in charge of the Intelligence Committee is not as clear-cut as the vote to impeach him years ago. For one thing, these days the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus is solidly behind Hastings, who is black. That’s a much different situation from 1988, when Conyers, a founding member of the CBC, voted against Hastings, along with fellow founders Rangel, Dellums, William Clay, and Louis Stokes. (In fact, all the founders of the CBC who were in the House in 1988 voted to impeach Hastings.)
Late last week, the CBC sent a letter to Pelosi affirming the group’s support for Hastings “The CBC sent a letter to Ms. Pelosi just to let her know that the CBC is behind Mr. Hastings 100 percent” CBC spokesman Myra Dandridge told National Review Online Friday. CBC officials declined to release the letter itself, but Dandridge said it was sent after CBC members discussed the Hastings issue at their weekly meeting on Wednesday.
On the other hand, the 37-member Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats, has sent a letter of its own to Pelosi, this one in support of Harman (a Blue Dog member herself). “She exemplifies all the reasons the American people instilled their trust in our party on November 7th to protect them here and abroad” the letter said. “We believe she is supremely qualified for the job.”
The decision is Pelosi’s to make; the head of the Intelligence Committee is chosen by the Speaker. But the Hastings case is not just a problem for Pelosi. It could present an agonizing choice for other Democrats who were in the House in 1988 and went on the record in favor of Hastings’s impeachment. If they support Hastings, they will likely feel some pressure to explain why they once believed him unfit for office but now feel he is the right choice to occupy such a critical position.
The pressure might be particularly acute for Conyers, who not only voted for Hastings’s impeachment but also chaired the House Judiciary subcommittee that investigated the case, co-sponsored the impeachment resolution, and argued for Hastings’s conviction as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial. As such, Conyers left a long record explaining his belief that Hastings was guilty.
Make sure to read it all.
I have a feeling that La Pelosi wants to skip over Harman because Harman – at least on the issue of Iraq, anyway – is more in line with Hoyer‘s views on Iraq than hers. In other words, she doesn’t support the cut and run policy of Pelosi’s rejected House Majority Leader nominee John Murtha. It’s obvious Pelosi’s agenda is to put people in positions of leadership who agree with her on cutting and running from Iraq, because she and other newly crowned liberals in Congress believe that when the American people voted for “change” in Washington, that meant they wanted people in office who would essentially advocate a cut and run policy. In reality, that’s not what voters asked for when they voted for ‘change’, but now that the pre-election campaign rhetoric and deliberate vagueness on Iraq is over, it doesn’t really matter what’s true or not to Pelosi and Co. It’s all about what she wants now.
I wonder if this means that when she and the rest of the Democrats take control of Congress in January, they’ll be ignoring the testimony made by generals and military experts last week that the Dem plan for ‘phased withdrawal’ from Iraq this year is exactly the wrong thing to do – some of the same generals who Dems told us a few months ago we needed to “listen to” when they were recommending Rummy’s ouster? Will there be a showdown between the far left wing of the Democrats in the House and the Blue Dog Dems (some of which include House Reps Pelosi had a hand in helping get elected) on the issue of Iraq? Time will tell …