By Steven T. Jones
Now, the Guardian hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with our congressional rep, incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In fact, it's fair to say the relationship has been downright chilly as she's made compromises to attain her leadership post and we've wanted someone to take stronger stands against the unchecked rise of Bush-brand imperialism, corporatism, and theocracy.
But I'm happy to see her take a strong stand against letting the hawkish Jane Harman take over the House Intelligence Committee, making the solid choice of Rep. Silvestrie Reyes instead. And I've recently been convinced by Assemblyman Mark Leno that even her apparent gaffe of unsuccessfully backing John Murtha for the number two slot wasn't the disastrous error in judgment that the mainstream media made it out to be.
Instead, Leno argues that it was a shrewd move that sent a strong message to her troops: if you support me, as Murtha has done on the war and other key issues, then I'll support you (even in uphill fight where the media is waiting to mock me). Even if there's only some truth to that view, it at least neutralizes the incident and offers some hope that the Democrats might to up to the challenges they face.
The next big test will be whether she allows John Conyers and other strong Bush critics to push for the release of records related to the Iraq War, which could turn up some truly damning data that would then test Pelosi's pledge not to pursue impeachment. There's still lots to do and pitfalls at every turn, but for now, I'm willing to hold my fire and offer my support. Go Nancy!