Nancy Pelosi: Greatest Living American


Why not? It's not much more ridiculous a judgment than the one handed down by Slate's John Dickerson, who thinks Pelosi will save the GOP from itself in midterm elections.

Pelosi announced that her new Democratic majority would also launch a series of investigations reaching all the way back into the first months of the Bush administration. Across the country, vulnerable Republican candidates are saying thank you to Pelosi. The GOP congressional majorities may now be secure.

They'll be secure because "Republican claims that Democrats would launch a wave of investigations like the GOP-style ones of the 1990s suddenly seem credible" and Republican Senate campaign honcho Elizabeth Dole had been warning about Democrats' lust for investigations in a fundraising e-mail. However, so what? Matthew Yglesias ably explodes Dickerson's thesis.

For one thing, Dole's letter was a fundraising mailing going out to hard-core Republicans and trying to motivate them. These are presumably some of the 30 percent or so of Americans who approve of George W. Bush job performance. And, of course, it makes perfect sense for GOP fundraisers to appeal to those people. But it also makes perfect sense for Pelosi to appeal to the much larger group of people who disapprove of Bush's performance.

Maybe I'm biased because the thought of a Bush impeachment or censure or hog-tying is really the only thing that could motivate libertarians to vote this fall. As Yglesias points out, libertarians who are fed up with the Bush administration are, for once, on the popular side of a political question. Dickerson argues that the "Contract With America never mentioned investigating Bill Clinton," which is pretty much a technicality—Republicans spent much of 1994 agitating for Whitewater hearings. The voters of 1994 knew what their Congress would do to Clinton if they voted Republican. Once a decade or so, voters are willing to roll back the imperial presidency and empower the Congress to take the executive down to size. If the opposition party runs away from a fight over presidential power because they're scared to investigate it, that party deserves to lose.