Debra J. Saunders

Would a Speaker Pelosi turn the House into a far-left haven? Cal political scientist Bruce Cain thinks not. As Cain sees it, new committee chairs under Pelosi know what it's like to be in power and know "how much misery there is in being in the minority," and they're going to think twice before they do anything -- read impeachment -- "that undermines their chance to hold onto the majority in 2008." Cain likens Pelosi to other S.F. political icons -- former Mayor Willie Brown and the late U.S. Rep. Phil Burton -- who knew how to build coalitions.

I accept Cain's comments -- if they mean Pelosi would be cautious for her first two years as speaker, but every year thereafter, the welfare-loving, tax-happy Pelosi would grow more dominant.

Also, as speaker, Pelosi might be pushed further to the left of her rhetoric today. U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the Democratic heir to chair of the Judiciary Committee, supports investigations that could end in impeachment hearings. Cain believes Pelosi will keep Conyers from going too far. If the Dems do move for impeachment, Cain predicts, "they won't be ahead of public opinion" on it.

The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus wrote Wednesday that Pelosi may not name Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. -- the ranking Democrat on the committee -- chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee because Harmon is "in Pelosi's estimation, insufficiently partisan." That Harman is not sufficiently partisan must come as a big surprise to the Bushies, whom she has described as "lawless" and "out of control." Next in line, Marcus notes, is U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was stripped of his position as a federal judge and impeached by the House because of a bribery scandal. The Congressional Black Caucus will not look kindly on Pelosi if she passes over Hastings, who is black, in favor of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Latino, of Texas.

If a Speaker Pelosi insists on playing enforcer and rejects Harman for a more liberal Democrat, she quickly will prove to all Washington that she has no desire to work constructively to get things done. That makes her, sooner or later, Tom DeLay in a liberal skirt.

Debra J. Saunders

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