By Cheri Jacobus - 05/21/09 05:28 PM EDT
The Speaker of the House is second in succession to the presidency, just after the vice president. Should the unthinkable happen and the president and vice president be rendered unable to serve, the nation would be saddled with an unelected president whose actions have already proven potentially dangerous to the U.S.
After launching a full-scale attack on the Bush administration for enhanced interrogation methods, including waterboarding, Pelosi was cornered. Her own colleagues revealed she was fully briefed on the techniques used to extract information that would prevent terrorist attacks. But Madam Speaker casually switched her story, claiming said briefing was a discussion on the possible future use of the enhanced interrogation methods. When her friends in the media didn’t immediately fall into line, she simply fell back on the same old desperate, baseless Democratic standby, claiming Bush — or at least his CIA — lied to her as well as the rest of Congress.
For Pelosi, there is this one small problem. Former fellow California Democratic congressman and current Obama CIA chief Leon Panetta called her out and exposed her. A fierce partisan while in Congress, and with many doubting his qualifications as CIA director when Obama tapped him for the post, Panetta seems to be putting partisanship aside, and putting country first. He’s not pretending to buy the Pelosi fairytale.
As Pelosi sits waiting for her Democratic congressional colleagues to scramble to her side and support her lie, it all has an eerily familiar feel to it. When President Clinton was caught with Monica Lewinsky, he ordered his own Cabinet members out en masse in front of the White House press corps (women in front, of course!) to back him up on his “version” of the truth.
On second thought, it’s downright Nixonian.
The Obama White House, albeit known for throwing its own under the bus, isn’t touching this with the proverbial 10-foot pole. It’s likely most congressional Democrats would prefer Pelosi just go away, rather than take them down the tubes with her, or force them to force her from the Speaker’s throne. They know she lied. The press knows she lied. And judging by the reaction from the White House, President Obama also knows she lied. But the failure to boot Pelosi in short order makes all them complicit in her scheme.
If Pelosi’s constituents choose to keep her in Congress, that is their choice. But it is in the best interests of the nation for this woman, who could be president in a time of potentially unprecedented crisis, to be evacuated from the job of Speaker of the House and second in the queue for commander in chief as soon as possible.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.