St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

House Democrats fumble another chance

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Incoming U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has apparently “reached out” to the Bush Administration by putting the House Intelligence Committee in the hands of someone with whom the President can relate, an “intellectual equal,” so to speak.

Passing over senior committee members Jane Harman (D-CA) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Pelosi tapped Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) to head the committee that shares responsibility for the budgets and oversight of U.S. spy agencies and receive regular briefings on classified intelligence.

Voters ended 12 years of Republican control of Congress last month at least in part because they lacked confidence in the intellectually challenged president’s handling of foreign policy. But this doesn’t look like the kind of change we wanted. It doesn’t look like any change at all.

The Wall Street Journal has reported on Congressional Quarterly’s recent interview with Reyes in which the congressman demonstrated unfamiliarity with the most fundamental aspects of al Qaeda and Hezbollah. Notably, Reyes said he thought al Qaeda was predominantly Shiite, the Islaminc rivals of the predominantly Sunni al Qaeda that the terror group is targeting even more than American soldiers.

The Journal observed, “So it appears America will fight the next two years of the war on terror with an important Congressional post occupied by a man who has no grasp at all of the dynamics of the conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon and the broader Middle East. This isn't an auspicious start by Democrats who hoped to campaign in 2008 having established some credibility on national security.”

The wonderment, of course, is based on the fallacious assumption that there really is some significant difference between Republican and Democrat-run governments. There isn’t. Both dominant parties are wholly owned subsidiaries of the same power brokers.

But at least Bush has someone with whom he can feel comfortable and unintimidated when dealing with our foreign policy.