The House & The War ~ Editorial

New York Post

THE HOUSE & THE WAR

October 9, 2006

The November elections loom - as does the possibility of Democrats taking over at least one chamber of Congress.

That's a frightening prospect, given the records of some of those poised to take over key committee chairmanships.

Frightening, that is, to Americans who want to win the War on Terror.

As we noted last month, New York's own Charlie Rangel of Harlem - in line to become chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee - is a vociferous opponent of the Iraq war. And he minced no words in speaking to The Hill, the newspaper that covers Congress: "You've got to be able to pay for the war, don't you?"

In short, Rangel will do his best to cut off funding for the war should he rise to head the committee.

Then there's John Conyers of Michigan, who would chair the Judiciary Committee. Conyers has been pushing for impeachment hearings for the Bush administration almost from Day One.

In June, he oversaw an unofficial hearing to consider grounds for impeachment, and also produced a "report" claiming that the 2004 presidential election was "stolen" in Ohio by the GOP.

Conyers would be matched in political gamesmanship with California's Henry Waxman, who's set to take over the Government Reform Committee - and who has kept busy lately "investigating" Vice President Dick Cheney.

Meanwhile, in contention to become House majority leader is John Murtha of Pennsylvania. Murtha, of course, is on record favoring effective surrender in Iraq.

That puts him roughly in the same War on Terror camp as John Dingell of Michigan, who's in line to chair the Energy Committee - and who recently told a Michigan radio station, "I don't take sides for or against Hezbollah; I don't take sides for or against Israel."

Asked point blank, "You're not against Hezbollah?" Dingell said, "No." Then he voted against the congressional resolution supporting Israel in its recent war with Hezbollah.

Most frightening, California's Jane Harman - a thoughtful moderate and the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee - is likely to be ousted by the Democrats if they win.

Her likely replacement - Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings - holds the unusual distinction of being the only member of the House to have been impeached from a federal office before becoming a congressman.

The former judge was rebuked in 1989 for corruption and perjury; the House impeached him, and the Senate removed him from the federal bench. Unfortunately, Florida voters then elected him to the House.

Just what the Intelligence Committee needs to lead it - someone with a proven ability to be "bought" will now have access to classified information.

And then there is Speaker-in-Waiting Nancy Pelosi of California.

The House Democratic leader has said that a move toward impeachment would be a "leadership decision."

Given the "leaders" cited above and her own dubious record - she believes that America is "not really in a war" - an impeachment effort would seem to be a foregone conclusion.

Even if not, a Democratic leadership of the sort now salivating for power can inflict massive damage to national security.

Count on hard-lefties Conyers and Waxman to hector the executive branch with bad-faith probes of all sorts - simply to keep the president and his team from prosecuting the War on Terror.

While Rangel tries to defund it.

Frankly, there is more to the House elections than the reprehensible behavior of former Rep. Mark Foley.

Victory - or possible defeat - in the War on Terror, for example.

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