“I am not an emperor or a queen. But neither am I a fool.”

| January 4, 2007

With those words, Nancy Pelosi fired William Jefferson from his House Ways and Means Committee posting according to the Washinton Post’s Michael Grunwald and Juliet Eilperin;

To House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the answer was obvious: Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) had to give up his coveted spot on the Ways and Means Committee. But at the closed-door caucus meeting, several black Democrats complained that Pelosi was not their emperor or queen, while Jefferson implored his colleagues to keep him on Ways and Means for the sake of Hurricane Katrina’s victims. No one spoke up for Pelosi — except Pelosi.

She began by praising Jefferson’s wife and five daughters: Jamila, Jalila, Jelani, Nailah and Akilah. But she quickly made it clear that Jefferson’s legal problems had become her political problem: “I am not an emperor or a queen. But neither am I a fool.”

Pelosi explained that Democrats should be the party of ethics, that appearances count, that dealing forcefully with Jefferson’s scandal would help everyone else in the room. “You didn’t elect me emperor or queen,” she said. “You elected me leader.”

But the two writers, later in the story wonder aloud the same questions we have;

But it is not yet clear whether Jefferson’s ouster heralded a new era of honesty and accountability, or just a one-off political calculation inspired by the 2006 campaign. After the midterm elections, Pelosi ignored the ethical cloud around Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to support his bid to be majority leader, and she nearly chose Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) to chair the intelligence committee even though the House once impeached him when he was a federal judge. And, in December, when Jefferson faced a fight for his political life in a runoff against state Rep. Karen R. Carter, a black Democrat with none of his ethical baggage, Pelosi refused to get involved.

When she beats down allies like Murtha, I’ll believe Pelosi’s really there to change Congress’ image. But in the interim, I’ll take the WaPo’s image of her as Zena the Warrior Princess battling the CBC and the other opposing, partisan forces in Congress with more than one grain of salt.

Barack Obama finally gets something right in the Washington Post today;

The truth is, we cannot change the way Washington works unless we first change the way Congress works. On Nov. 7, voters gave Democrats the chance to do this. But if we miss this opportunity to clean up our act and restore this country’s faith in government, the American people might not give us another one.

As Little Green Footballs points out, we now have a Klansman third in line of succession to the Presidency. Flopping Aces comments and quotes Victor Davis Hanson on the ethics of the Democrats.

Category: John Murtha, Politics

Comments are closed.