My chum, Jefferson
Posted by aogSaturday, 03 March 2007 at 20:57 TrackBack Ping URL

Orrin Judd rightly mocks House Speaker Pelosi for trying to appoint Representative William “$90,000 cold cash” Jefferson to a Homeland Security committee. Yet one is left wondering where his vaunted preference for politics over purity has gone — did Jefferson not get re-elected? Is it not the Juddian view that winning elections must take precedence over ideology? How, then, can he honestly mock Pelosi?

Beyond that petty jibe, I am left with a bit of sympathy for Pelosi. She’s not the one who voted Jefferson back in to office, nor the Speaker of a Congress that let him slide for literally years on the issue without any substantive punishment. There is also the Congressional Black Caucus, which strongly supports Jefferson1. Whatever one may think of that crew, their support is critical for a Democratic leader in the House. Pelosi is playing a losing hand, although surely it must have occurred to her that she could make an example of Jefferson at this particular juncture —

  • What is the CBC going to do, turn over the House to the GOP?
  • Jefferson’s transgression is not a subtle one and presumably would look bad even for the CBC.
  • Given the inability of the GOP leadership to engage in any serious anti-corruption efforts, it would be an excellent way to steal the public relations sente from the GOP with little real cost, even providing good cover to get the rest of the corruption hidden behind the smoke from the media storm.

But that would take actual leadership, which seems to have departed Congress for elsewhere in the last decade or two.

1 I originally wrote “despite his cash froze issues” but I decided that it’s more likely that the CBC doesn’t care about it.

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