Nancy Pelosi: The Politicians’ MVP

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is making things easier for a lot of people in Washington.  She has gotten a lot of publicity recently thanks to her fight with the CIA.  She was an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and its policies, including the interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists at Guantanamo.  It was this treatment of the detainees at Gitmo that led to her confrontation with the CIA.  She says that CIA officials have lied about how early she was informed about the interrogation techniques.  It’s tough for those of us outside of the Washington Beltway to know who to believe–the person who works for the organization that routinely conducts its business through deceit, or the person who works for the CIA (just kidding).

But who do we trust–the CIA or the politician?  We will probably never know, and most people will decide what they believe based not so much on what their research might show, but on what political views they already hold.  Democrats will want to give one of their own the benefit of the doubt; Republicans will want to believe she is lying.

Interestingly, both sides can benefit from this controversy.  Republicans are able to make allegations of moral corruption about a Democrat who wants to disparage an institution (the CIA) that is helping to keep us safe during the War on Terror.  But there is a silver lining for Democrats, too.   When Nancy Pelosi is strong, she can push her own agenda, even when it is off course from what Barack Obama wants.  With Pelosi distracted and weakened by controversy, the President can have a greater influence on policy inside the Beltway.

President Obama is obviously more popular than Nancy Pelosi across the nation, but under normal circumstances she has a lot of power as Speaker of the House.  Embroiled in controversy, Pelosi provides a great talking point for Republicans, and she takes their focus off of the President for a while.  Also, as long as she is trying to redirect the spotlight, the President doesn’t have to share it with her.