Pelosi’s plantation: the screwing of Alcee Hastings


The fight to chair the House Intelligence Committee was a fight between two people with differing positions regarding the Administration’s prosecution of the Iraq War and the role of oversight regarding the Administration’s broad ranging program of domestic surveillance. On one side of the debate is  Jane Harmon, the Democratic ranking member of the Intelligence committee.  On the other, is Alcee Hastings, her more senior rival for the throne of chairman in the new Democratic controlled congress to be seated in January.

To say that Mrs. Harman has been a coquettish doormat for the Administration’s imperialist objectives internationally is to understate her treachery. She has provided no check on Administration power and has not used her leadership position as top democrat on Intelligence to advance an oppositional agenda. Instead, she has used her position on Intelligence to partner with Republicans in their Imperial quest and euphemises her abdication of responsibility with rhetoric couched in cautious and timid language.

The case against Alcee Hastings is summed up in one word, Impeachment.   Not Bill Clinton’s, his.  He was a Carter appointed Federal Judge that was tried, and acquitted by a federal jury of bribery charges and then subsequently impeached, and convicted of those same charges before the U.S. Senate and removed from office.

The case against him was garbage and the Congressional Black Caucus was manipulated into voting against its own interests by sacrificing Hastings in a racist witchhunt.  They seem to be rectifying their error by standing behind Hastings now.   Unfortunately, there is only one decision maker in this battle and the White Washington power structure has made their feelings known to incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Ruth Marcus, and people I respect like David Corn, and Joe Conason have come down hard against Hastings chairing Intelligence.  In this battle, they have elected to share sides with the right-wing in what suspiciously looks like a racist power play launched by Harman and her right-wing apologists that mimics the crucifiction of Hastings by impeachment from the federal bench 27 years ago.

What they don’t tell you about his Impeachment is that 26 Senators, both Republican and Democrat voted against conviction and that three articles of impeachment failed.  One article failed unanimously 95-0.  The case against Hastings was far from airtight.  In fact, the method by which he was tried in the Senate was overturned on appeal.

Hastings detractors never tell you about the 41 page statement concluding Hastings innocence issued by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-PA.  They never tell you that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT also voted against impeachment. They never tell you that then freshman Sen. Bob Graham, D-FL also voted against impeachment and defends that vote to this day.  In all, 26 senators voted against Impeachment on all counts. twenty Democrats and six Repbublicans, a group that includes nine presidential candidates. They were Sen. Joe Biden, D, DL, Sen. Bill Bradley, D-NJ, Chris Dodd, D-CT, Bob Graham, D-FL, Tom Harkin, D-IA, Orrin Hatch, R-UT, Joe Lieberman, D-CT, Terry Sanford, D-NC, and Arlen Specter, R-PA. Half the senate voted against at least two articles of impeachment.

All of that is irrelevent now that Nancy, the House Democratic Plantation mistress, has stuck her shiv into Alcee’s back and caved to the right-wing spin machine.   She will not appoint Harman or Hastings. I had a wonderful analysis of Harman’s and Hastings’ national security votes but that is so totally useless now.  Now that the beautiful Speaker-Elect has caved, the hard right will spin against her and attack her agenda without conscience now. 

There is no fixing this. She has betrayed her few progressive allies in the black caucus despite the fact that she killed any possibility of a challenge to Rep. James Clyburn becoming House Majority Whip, making him the highest ranking black in the House.  Placing anybody else in the chair of the Intel committee is both a racial and political slight that will culminate in someone less progressive in the driver’s seat. 

That is exactly what the right-wing wants.


7 thoughts on “Pelosi’s plantation: the screwing of Alcee Hastings

  1. Rikyrah


    I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not crying over this. Alcee Hastings was a GOP 2008 Commercial waiting to happen, and you know it.

    It’s not right, but you know it. Your post, while good, is way too complex to counter that 2008 Commercial.

    I feel for Rep. Hastings, but I’m not surprised, nor am I that disappointed.

  2. I’m with Rikyrah on this.

    One of the biggest problems that D’s have is condensing the message. The R’s manage to always shorten the message into soundbites. No way your explanation could fit into a soundbite. If you have to explain it, you’ve already lost the vote.

  3. Rikyrah, Vivian,

    Thanks y’all for the feedback, its valuable and very insightful. However, it glosses over some important issues that I feel need to be aired. Now that this has occured, it will be allowed to happen again to somebody else the right-wing ain’t in love with. This tack will also be used to derail the democratic progressive agenda, which people like Hastings support.

    Once you show weakness, the game is over. Again, thank you for your point of view.

  4. Matt Stoller

    Hastings and Harman were both bad choices, and the CBC was half-hearted in its support. The evidence against Hastings is pretty solid.

    Cut Pelosi some slack. She put Clyburn above Emanuel, and she’s backed lots of CBC members for Committee Chairmanships. This is a good faith speaker.

  5. john in california

    I have been posting on several sites, including Pelosi’s, that the best choice for Intel chair is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. She can be rotated in. She is smart and tough and would make a geat spokesperson for the new dems. If you agree w/ me write Pelosi.

  6. Matt,
    I gave Miss Nancy credit for Clyburn, but she shot her damn foot off on Hastings. I made a more than adequate case for him based only on the facts. If the GOP can have Dan Burton shooting melons in the backyard to prove that Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons and still have enough credibility to chair a Committee, than democrats can have Hastings, warts and all, damnit.

    Saw you on C-SPAN the other day and you looked and sounded good 🙂 Harvard class of 2000, that’s pretty impressive.

  7. You assessment of the Hastings thing is on point, and you are to be congratulated for having all the documentation of the flakiness of his impeachment.

    The real Republican commercial that right wing Democrats fear, since they’re always loking to pander toward a section of the other party’s base is one that says there are too many black committee chairs and subcommittee chairs in the House. Conyers and Rangel may be unassailable for now, but look for Pelosi to find an excuse to pick off a couple more.

    Remember, this is the same Pelosi that forbade CBC members to sponsor or even speak from the floor on the voting rights bill, till St. John (as some of us in the ATL are wont to call him) of Atlanta at last asserted himself.

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