Today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attacked current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling for an investigation. “I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don’t think the speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters,” Gingrich said in an interview with ABC Radio.
Gingrich, of course, is using all the typical slimy techniques:
- Reframing the conversation from whether or not the Bush administration flagrantly broke the law and if they should be investigated, to whether or not Democrats knew that Bush was breaking the law and if the Democrats should be investigated for that!
- Transparently threatening that if Congress actually does its job and investigates illegal and even treasonous behavior by the Bush Administration, that he will make sure that Congress (and the Dems) will also get dragged into the gutter with them.
- Bullying Pelosi, to make her look weak. Gingrich called Pelosi a “trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes” and accused her of engaging in a “despicable, dishonest, and vicious political effort”. Vicious?
If you watch this interview with Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, it is clear that the Republicans are terrified that Congress is going to investigate the Bush administration for the use of torture. The amazing hypocrisy is that they are simultaneously claiming that the Bush administration did nothing illegal or even immoral, but Pelosi should have said or done something because she knew that they were doing something illegal and immoral.
Personally, I think Pelosi should agree with them and call for an investigation, as long as it also includes a full investigation into what the Bush administration did, including things like outing of Valerie Plame, lies told to the American people, and the use of torture. But she probably won’t, so the really ironic thing is that Gingrich’s craven ploy might just work.
UPDATE: Salon has a good analysis of the whole ploy, which they call “Cheney’s torture trap for Democrats”.
UPDATE 2: Matthew Yglesias points out that the conservative attack on Nancy Pelosi will actually increase the chance of an investigation into Bush administration war crimes. But the conservatives can’t help themselves — they love attacking Democrats too much. They would probably put a gun to their own heads and pull the trigger if they thought the bullet would come out the other side and hit Pelosi in the arm.