Rich Galen

Nancy Pelosi has had a tough week.

- She has had to agree to pretty much an unconditional surrender on the Iraq funding bill...

In a new low for the category: "Demonstrating Political Leadership," Pelosi has announced that she probably will not vote for the bill she negotiated thereby leaving many of her Democratic colleagues to feel the full wrath of MoveOn.Org and its allies on the Far Left.

- She had to oversee a vote which made a total lie of the pre-election promises to clean up the lobbying and earmarking activities which has led to dozens of Justice Department investigations of Members of Congress;

- She had to deny on a nationally televised Sunday morning show that she had known anything about the bellowing and finger pointing on the House Floor by her former mentor and current ally, the under- or mis-medicated John Murtha of Pennsylvania, and;

- She had to allow a vote to reprimand said John Murtha for that fairly serious violation of House Rules - a vote which was "tabled" as a procedural mechanism to avoid having Democrats have to vote a THIRD time in a week on an issue many of them hated.

Murtha, who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, exploded over Republican threats to block a $23 million piece of pork that Murtha wants for his district. He said to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich) - a former FBI Special Agent - that Rogers would never get an earmark into a Defense Appropriations Bill "not now, not ever."

I think I am safe in saying this not the first time the chairman of an appropriations subcommittee has threatened a colleague - it is not for nothing they are known as the "Cardinals" - but it generally happens in a hallway or a hideaway office, not on the Floor in full view of television cameras and the rest of the House.

On the earmarking front, the Dems have come up with not one, but TWO end-runs according to a front-pager in the Washington Post by John Solomon and Jeff Birnbaum.

On the Energy Appropriations bill, Members were not permitted to attach earmarks - explicit instructions that a Department or Agency purchase specific good or services (usually from a company owned by a constituent, a donor, or both) - so they have taken to calling the Department of Energy and telling them what a great idea it would be if the DoE would spend money - money which is already appropriated although not by name - on this or that.

According to the WashPost piece this is happening often enough that it has a name: Phonemarking.

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