I know. It will never happen. I am a realist, I understand that.
But even Democrats are starting to believe they would be better off without Nancy Pelosi. Heck, name me a rational Democrat that doesn’t think Barack Obama would not be better served by a more intelligent leader in Congress leading the way?
- Sept. 4, 2002 – CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee’s ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed. Pelosi denies this.
- Michael Sheehy, then Mrs. Pelosi’s top aide on the Intelligence Committee and later her national security adviser, not only attended the September 2002 meeting but was also briefed by the CIA on EITs on Feb. 5, 2003, and told about a videotape of Zubaydah being waterboarded. Ms. Pelosi denies knowing about this.
- Ms. Pelosi denies knowing about the ongoing interrogations, although Leon Panetta, President Obama’s own Director of Central Intelligence, says that he can document that the Speaker was present at those meetings. The Speaker today called the CIA (and by proxy Leon Panetta) liars.
Today’s press conference takes the case. Ms. Pelosi stated of course that she is not lying. The CIA is doing the lying, according to her. According to her, all the C.I.A. does is lie…and she is an innocent bystander. Apparently she even lied more today. She denied ever hearing about the active use of waterboarding, which is clearly false.
“The speaker’s comments continue to raise more questions than provide answers,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican minority leader. “It’s pretty clear that they were well aware of what these enhanced interrogation techniques were; they were well aware that they’d been used; and it seems to me that they want to have it both ways. You can’t have it both ways.”
Newt Gingrich was even more harsh. “I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I’ve seen in my lifetime…She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowist of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior. Speaker Pelosi’s the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses,” Gingrich said. “The fact is she either didn’t do her job, or she did do her job and she’s now afraid to tell the truth.”
Sen. Kit Bond also made a good point. He stated that he had never been to a CIA briefing where they told him what they were not going to do, unless specifically asked about it. So either Pelosi asked about waterboarding (meaning she knew it was an issue to be discussed), or she is lying about her briefing.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, a pseudo-Democrat, fought back as well, stating that he supported the CIA, and did not believe they were lying. “No, on that specific point, I totally disagree. You have to have confidence in the CIA. And over the 20 years I’ve been here, I’ve been briefed constantly by the CIA and I’d say that they’ve told me the truth, as they see it.”
This of course all stems from the release of those interrogation memos a few weeks ago, which was a mistake by the White House. Even they understand that now, especially with blocking the release of the ‘torture’ pictures yesterday, and denying Dick Cheney’s request for memo releases today. Obama is now realizing the obvious; it is easy to criticize the interrogation techniques went it is not your head on the line. Now, the Speaker is pinning her political problems on Obama’s own CIA Director. Not good.
Today’s press conference was a perfect example of what not to do. First, she was already clearly caught in her own web of lies; she would have been better served by either admitting that she misspoke, or that she just had forgotten the specifics of the story line. Instead, she now accuses the CIA, largely responsible for keeping America safe, as perpetual liars. Then, to top it off, she produces more holes in her story, which will ensure that this story continues to have legs. She accomplished nothing by this press meeting other than to get conservatives salivating.
The Speaker should resign. And for the record, I want it noted I was the first to call for her resignation. Not because there will be a surge of votes against her in Congress. That simply won’t happen. I am not under any delusions to the contrary. However, she is incompetent, a proven liar, and she clearly is not fit to hold any high office that deals with national security. None of the Democrats who could take over would be much better for Republicans than Pelosi. Steny Hoyer and others are strong liberals, and actually probably would be more helpful to the White House than Pelosi already is. But that said, this is about what is better for the country; and Pelosi really needs to go, for everyone’s best interests. President Obama would be wise to ask her to quietly leave, for his sake and ours.