After watching incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s giddy, giggly, Katie Couric-style performance before the cameras Thursday I had to wonder: Is this bimbo ready for prime-time?
After being elected the first female Speaker in the history of the old-boys club called the House of Representatives, Pelosi – who promised quick, unflinching reform of the Congressional cesspool – urged her colleagues to elect as her Number Two the ethics-challenged, lobbyist-pandering, pork-bloated John Murtha.
The Democrats quickly put the little lady in her place and elected, instead, Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer. The vote wasn’t even close.
Keep in mind that Hoyer is no saint. Like Murtha, he never met a lobbyist whose money he wouldn’t take and he has sold his vote more than once but at least he didn’t get videotaped telling an undercover FBI agent posing as a sleazy con man that “maybe we can do business” once he got to know him.
Despite all their promises of reform, Democrats seem to be on their way to a “business as usual” way of doing things. Hoyer won because he cashed in favors, the standard way of getting things done in Congress. Murtha lost the majority leader’s job but Pelosi rewarded him with a key subcommittee chairmanship where he can keep cashing in on his contacts with fat cat defense industry lobbyists.
Then the new Lady of the House paraded before the TV cameras and said: “Let the healing begin.”
What’s next? Trot out Rodney King to say “can’t we all just learn to get along?”
Over on the other side of the hill, Senate Republicans proved they haven’t learned a damn thing from the election, electing corrupt, bribe-taking Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell as their new leader and installing, in a one-vote squeaker, racist Trent Lott as his Number Two.
Lott, whose razor-thin victory is being hailed as the comeback of the year by a media that gave far more attention to the lopsided vote against Murtha, lost his job as Senate Leader a few years back for praising the overtly-racist Presidential campaign of former Senator Strom Thurmond.
Lott immediately received calls of congratulations from fellow racists George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton. Perhaps Lott’s ascension back to power is payback for the minorities voting Democratic this time. I can imagine the conversation between Dubya and Lott: “Well, Trent old boy, glad to have you back: Now we have those darkies and wetbacks on the run.”
McConnell, of course, is no beacon of light. He torpedoed campaign reform and openly promised the political action committee bosses that he would protect them as long as they kept writing out checks to the Republican Party. Those same bribe-paying lobbyists had best remember that the last time the Republicans were in the minority, McConnell was on the floor of the Senate calling for elimination of PACs because they dared give money to Democrats. McConnell would pimp out one of his daughters for a campaign contribution.
What we see here is clear indication that, in spite of all the hoopla over the Democratic sweep of the House and Senate in last week’s elections, nothing really changes.
I didn’t expect the Republicans to change their stripes. The party of the elephant is so corrupt, so overridden with slime, that they of course turned to the same crooks, sleazebags and con-artists that have controlled their destiny for years.
And while I held out faint hope that Pelosi might prove me wrong, she fell back into the old Congressional habit of putting party loyalty above ethics. Her supporters claim she owed Murtha because it was his early opposition to the Iraq war that helped put the issue in the nation’s psyche and generate the voter anger that delivered a Democratic victory.
And I’ve heard all the rationalizations about Murtha’s unethical behavior: It happened a long time ago, he was never charged with taking a bribe, and so on. Murtha has a long, proven history of selling his vote and using the power of his office to benefit family and friends. Rationalizations of his actions normally come from partisan political pukes who would never, ever, accept such behavior by the other side.
Pelosi’s actions tell me that nothing will change in the House, nor can we expect any real change in the Senate where new majority leader Harry Reid’s checkered record of shady real estate deals show control of that body is, once again, in criminal hands.
The Mafia has a saying for this: New boss, same as the old boss.