CQ on Hastings/Harman

Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for...

A further indication from an apparently nonpartisan source that strife between (very broadly) the mods and the lefties in the Dem House party after its expected win may have already gathered a deal of momentum.

From one of the few bits of the Congressional Quarterly site that is outside the pay wall, Jeff Stein (National Security Editor, no less) takes on the dispute over whether Harman or Hastings should get the HIC chair.

His angle is that Hastings actually knows something about intelligence; and that some GOP HIC members are not as fired-up against him as one might expect. Even on the record:

"Alcee is a good, patriotic American, and he's a capable guy, and he's a friend of mine," Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., was quoted as saying in the Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Alcee could certainly do the job."

Could it be that the GOP is doing all it can to see that Hastings fights for the chair to the bitter end?

Hastings is unopposed in FL-23, and has the CBC as his labor union - few American workers have more assiduous and powerful representation.

Hastings is accused - pretty small beer, really - of globetrotting rather than working in the Capitol. A NY Post hack calls him one of the Defeatocrats.

Stein's Dem in rebuttal is a treat (emphasis mine):

A source close to the struggle over the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee says the sobriquets are twisted and unfair.

"You can't get good information in Washington," he said on condition of anonymity, because Pelosi has lowered a cone of silence around Democrats on the succession question.

Now, that is the most imaginative anonymouse excuse I've read!

(You've got to love the Get Smart allusion. Do we put Pelosi as Agent 99 - or as Smart himself?)

I see, by the way, that Sirota has been forecasting an ideological civil war in the Dem party after the election, regardless of the result:

The situation is ready to explode.

(He's clearly a guy for whom the expression dial it back has no meaning.)

Thus, for example,

a Democratic-controlled Congress will face a giant faultline between its senior members and its rank-and-file. The chairmen of key committees are among the most progressive lawmakers in Congress.

Of course, that assumes that chairs are filled from ranking members.

As things stand, I don't think anything can be assumed.

Update [2006-11-7 7:15:4 by skeptic06]:

One nugget I forget to include.

A key part of the argument made by the Hastings party is that there is an eight year term limit on HIC membership in the Dem Caucus rules (as distinct from the House Rules), and Harman's eight years are up.

Stein, however, points out that

Hastings...has been on the panel since 1999

Or - eight years to this January!

Tags: 110th House, Alcee Hastings, Blue Dog Democrats, Congressional Black Caucus, Democrat-Controlled House, Democratic House Leadership, House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, NDC, New Democratic Coalition, Pelosi, Sirota, Steny Hoyer (all tags)



Re: CQ on Hastings/Harman

Let's remember that while many of us are unhappy with Harman's leadership, Hastings was a federal judge who was impeached by Congress in the 1980s for taking bribes.

by lorax 2006-11-06 05:25PM | 0 recs
Re: CQ on Hastings/Harman

Any talk about the #3 member as an alternative? Reyes would be an interesting choice, esp with his background as an INS agent. It would suggest that Democrats are serious about the national security implications of immigration.

by tietack 2006-11-07 04:56AM | 0 recs
Reyes not a bad choice, but...

Reyes has come up before as a compromise candidate (various earlier pieces on the Hastings tag).

Trouble is, whatever his intrinsic merits (I've certainly seen nothing negative about him), I doubt that compromise is at the top of folks agendas: the CBC think they've been promised Hastings (and the Pelosi team haven't exactly gone out of their way to deny it), and the Blue Dogs want a casus belli for getting into a serious fight for the divvying up of House party patronage (viz, the leadership and committee chair positions).

by skeptic06 2006-11-07 05:56AM | 0 recs


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