Rich Galen

It's Spring Break. A time when boys and girls, pretending to be adults, go to places they know they shouldn't; do things they wish they hadn't; and pray they don't show up in a "Girls Gone Wild" DVD later on.

It's one thing to be a college student, drunk on Jello shots, at the beach bar in Daytona, lifting your shirt for some dope with a video camera. It is something else to be the Speaker of the House, drunk on power, making a fool of yourself by pretending to be a diplomat and going to the Syrian desert.

The Washington Post - not exactly known as a semi-official mouthpiece of the Bush administration - in a Thursday morning editorial called Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit with the president of Syria "foolish;" her statements about a diplomatic breakthrough "ludicrous;" and, her "attempt to establish a shadow presidency … counterproductive."

The Post editorial excoriated Pelosi for metaphorically sharing Jello shots with "Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad" whom it described as "a corrupt thug."

Let's go to the rule book - the Constitution of the United States - and read here in Article II section 2 what it says about who gets to do what in the area of foreign policy - diplomatically and militarily: [The President] shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States … shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court …

Whoa! Check Please. Not only does the President have the sole power to do all those things, but when the Congress is involved at all it is the SENATE, not the House which has the "advise and consent" authority.

Here's everything the main body of the Constitution says about the Speaker of the House (Article I, Section 2): The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers …

So, according to the US Constitution the sole power of the Speaker of the House is - to be chosen.

Before you hit the "reply" key so you can send your "Galen, you ignoramus" email, the Constitution does not confer upon the Speaker the right of succession to the Presidency. That is done by law and can be changed at any time.

According to a variety of news agencies, Pelosi said "she brought a message to Mr. Assad from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel is ready for peace talks with Syria."

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at