Another thought on the Pelosi trip

Let’s have some hearings.

It seems to me that the White House has blundered, once again, by forgetting, once again, that the Democrats aren’t helpless anymore in the face of slander.

When Pelosi gets back from her trip, the House Foreign Affairs Committee ought to hold a hearing at which Pelosi and the Republican visitors to Damascus are invited to speak. If the Republicans show up, they should be asked about the White House role in setting up their trip. If they don’t show up, so much the better. Members of the Iraq Study Group, which recommended a re-opening

That hearing could be followed by written questions, and if necessary subpoenas, to officials in the White House and the State Department asking the same questions: when did the White House know about the two trips? What role did it have in setting up the Republican trip? Did it make any effort to ask Pelosi and her colleagues privately not to go to Damascus before using the trip as political ammunition? What is the opinion of senior career diplomats about the impact of the trip? If it’s such a bad idea to talk to the Syrians, why was Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Saurbrey sent to Damascus last month?

Every time the Democrats are hit, they should hit back, hard. It’s time to rub the Bushies’ noses in their lies, along with the noses of the journalists who supinely transmit those lies.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com