Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pelosi a Hastings Hater

Has there been a greater political insult in the 21st Century than Rep. Alcee Hasting's riposte after he was denied chairship of the House Intelligence Committee by Nancy Pelosi? The quote, in case you didn't read it, was:
"Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."

There was a big to-do over the potential that Hastings, a 14-year congressman from the Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach area, might be appointed chairman of the House Intelligence Committee - because Congress had actually removed him from a federal judgeship in the 1989 after he had been accused of soliciting bribes.

Significantly, Hastings was later acquitted - and apparently, voters in South Florida were convinced enough of his innocence to elect him to Congress just a few years later, and to return him 8 times since.

There was a waft of bigotry in much of the mainstream media coverage of this whole matter, with more than one news outlet suggesting that Speaker-to-be Pelosi was in a tight spot between either choosing a corrupt guy as the new Intel chairman or pissing off the (presumably, unreasonable) Congressional Black Caucus, which strongly supported his bid.

Here's the Miami Herald:

In a test of her leadership, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi rejected once-impeached Rep. Alcee Hastings as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, a move that could blunt early criticism she is paying lip service to ethics reform.

At the same time, the California Democrat's decision not to promote Hastings could ruffle her relations with black lawmakers.

And the Chicago Sun-Times:

Hastings, currently the No. 2 Democrat on the panel, had been aggressively making a case for the top position, supported by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

But critics pointed out he had been impeached when he was a federal judge and said naming him to such a sensitive post would be a mistake just as the Democrats take over House control pledging reforms.

The Wall Street Journal said Pelosi was "moving to end weeks of damaging speculation" by rejecting Hastings.

Ugh. Apparently, acquittal on charges almost two decades ago is not enough to remove an ethical "cloud." None dare call it racism?

[Rep. Alcee Hastings., Washington Post File Photo]

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