Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Re: It Worked for Daschle

Nancy Pelosi is digging in her heels, refusing to agree to a House investigation of ethics violations of those ensnared in the PMA Group scandal. As Kimberley Strassel put it:

Picture a freight train roaring down the tracks. Picture House Speaker Nancy Pelosi positioning her party on the rails. Picture a growing stream of nervous souls diving for the weeds. Picture all this, and you’ve got a sense of the Democrats’ earmark-corruption problem.

This particular choo-choo has the name John Murtha emblazoned on the side, and with each chug is proving that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Republicans got tossed in 2006 in part for failing to police the earmarks at the center of the Jack Abramoff and other corruption scandals. Mrs. Pelosi is today leaving her members exposed to an earmark mess that might make Abramoff look junior varsity.

But the Democrat’s No. 2 man in the House, Steny Hoyer, is no fool:

“On Thursday, Hoyer argued that a vague resolution the House passed Wednesday was a clear call for the ethics committee to investigate ties between a once powerful lobbying firm and a handful of his fellow Democrats, including Murtha, the man who challenged him for the majority leader’s post in late 2006. ‘This is a serious matter and ought to be looked at,” Hoyer said Thursday morning at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.’”

Well, it was rather vague and not much is going to be looked into, I’d wager. But Hoyer is hoping that Democrats won’t be able to blame him if things go wrong on the ethics front. He might be there to scoop up the pieces if the Democrats take a beating in 2010 just as the Republicans did in 2006. But that’s of little consolation to those who might be swept out of office because once again a party’s leadership was paralyzed in the face of one of those oncoming trains.