Pelosi to kick Jane Harman off Intelligence: Official (almost)

This morning's Timespiece firms up (a little) on the Harman/Hastings saga I last discussed yesterday.

It seems that the Signora has sent forth a mouthpiece to confirm that Harman does not have great expectations of the HIC chair in a Dem 110th:

"To say it is unlikely she will get the job is accurate," said one Democratic Congressional official with knowledge of the party's post-election plans.

Pelosi's beef with Harman is apparently that she dared to lobby to retain the Dem top spot on the HIC, and got various friends amongst the media and donor community to put in a good word - an LA Weekly May 06 piece goes into a little more detail on the point.

However, I can't help feeling that this is not the sort of thing that would have got Harman ousted from the committee unless Pelosi wasn't under pressure from the CBC to give the chair to impeachment convictee Hastings.

Now, the context in which this will come to a head - assuming that Chris's and the others' predictions come right - is a 110th in which the Blue Dogs' numbers will equal or exceed those of the CBC (so the Dogs say (yesterday's piece) - I've not run the numbers); where a number of elderly, liberal ranking members will find themselves in key committee chairs; and where Pelosi is assuming a walkover in the Caucus for the nomination for Speaker.

(I assume there's a nomination process - I don't think the Caucus rules are made public, nor have I seen any sign of a leaked copy online. So much for democracy...)

With Hastings, they may argue, the CBC has held Pelosi to ransom in support of an obnoxious candidate (perhaps deliberately chosen for being so) as a test of her willingness to toe their line.

Their man, on the face of it, would be Hoyer. But I'd be pretty sure he's so far adrift of Pelosi (there's probably not even much of a whip count) that, even given a full turnout from conservatives and moderates, a rerun of their November 2001 tourney would be futile.

Championing Harman, though, would be a lower risk play for the Blue Dogs: there are clearly merits in her case - it wouldn't be simple political jockeying - and, with the Jefferson Ways and Means fiasco, Pelosi showed herself less than convincing in keep the CBC within bounds.

There is one deliciously piquant answer: as quid pro quo for Hastings, kick Bennie Thompson off Homeland Security and give the HSC chair to Harman. She is only #5 on the seniority list - but then, aren't feathers are made to be ruffled?

Poetic justice, certainly. But I somehow can't see Pelosi going for it!

But - perhaps the Blue Dogs could use the Harman case to beat up on Pelosi enough to let her persuade the CBC that a majority of Dem reps opposed letting their pet sleazoid slither into that HIC chair.

(A further string to the Blue Dogs' bow, as it were, would be the implied threat that party discipline could suffer if Dogs felt that they were being cold-shouldered by the leadership. Not straight away, perhaps, but by mid-08, say: when the House party generally would likely be a tad fractious after 18 months of wheel-spinning and WH obstruction, etc.

A breakdown in discipline happening - oops! - just in time to affect the 08 House elections.)

As I've mentioned before, Reyes (#3 Dem on the HIC) would seem to be a genuine compromise candidate for the HIC chair (and he'd come with an ethnic bonus, too); and today's Times piece refers to him on a par with Hastings as a possible replacement for Harman.

I've no brief for Harman (or Reyes, come to that). But it's in the party's best interest that Pelosi demonstrate her ability to keep a balance in the House party, and to stand up to sections which overstep the mark.

If the Blue Dogs help her do that - without making any unreasonable demands of their own, natch - they'll have done the House Dems a service.

[The HIC was previously subject to an eight year term limit on all members, but this rule was apparently lifted in 2003 for the chairman and ranking member.

The implication of the piece is that Harman would, under the old term limit rules, have been ineligible to serve on the HIC in the 110th. Since her current incumbency goes back only to the start of the 107th, that would imply that she had seniority on the HIC from her spell in the House from the 103rd to the 105th.

At some stage, I might be disposed to check this!]

Tags: Alcee Hastings, Blue Dogs, Congressional Black Caucus, House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, Pelosi, Silvestre Reyes (all tags)


1 Comment

Wishful strategy

That Pelosi would go public before the election with a "clean" management campaign.  That Dems would end the culture of corruption which infuses DC and that Congressmen with corruption issues will not be granted chairmanships.  This eliminates Hastings,  Jefferson, probably Mollohan, and some others I guess from chairmanships.  She can find a way to slot these guys into other positions (non chair) that they might not be thrilled about, but which recognize their service.   Perhaps more options on committee assignments....

by The lurking ecologist 2006-10-24 09:45AM | 0 recs


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