The conventional wisdom among the pollsters, pundits and talking heads inside the beltway is that the Democrats could regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives when voters go to the polls in November. As a public service for those who may not have considered the full ramifications of such a shift, here is partial list of the Democrats who could be running the show come January.
Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.)
Currently the House minority leader, “San Fran Nan,” as she is unaffectionately known in some circles, would most likely become the next speaker of the House. This would put one of the most liberal members of Congress in charge of the House legislative agenda and, frighteningly, two heartbeats away from the presidency.
John Dingell (D.-Mich.)
Dingell has been in the House longer than any other member (50 years and counting). Every year of his 25 terms, this man has introduced socialized medicine as the solution for America’s rising health care costs. Recently, Dingell stated that he would not take sides in Israel’s struggle with the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah. In a Democrat-controlled House, he would become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
George Miller (D.-Calif.)
A longtime liberal with very close ties to Pelosi, Miller is in line to become head of the Education and Workforce Committee.
David Obey (D-Wis.)
A very partisan liberal who chaired the House Appropriations Committee before the Dems’ 1994 electoral debacle, he is likely to do so again. Need I point out the problems this could create for the Pentagon and for Homeland Security on key funding for the war on terror?
Barney Frank (D.-Mass.)
The last time Democrats controlled the House, Barney Frank received a slap on the wrist following a scandal wherein it was learned that his boyfriend was running a male prostitution ring out of the congressman’s apartment. He would be in charge of the House Committee on Financial Services.
Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.)
A 16-term liberal who favors universal health care and radical environmental reforms, Waxman would become chair of the House Committee on Government Reform.
Alcee Hastings (D.-Fla.)
A particularly colorful and corrupt politician, even by Democrat standards, Hastings was appointed to a federal judgeship by Jimmy Carter in 1979. A decade later, he was impeached on charges of corruption and perjury. Seems he accepted a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a light sentence and then lied about it under oath. When the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate convicted him and removed him from the bench, they had the option of forbidding him from ever holding any office again. When they declined to do so, he started a whole new career as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District (which includes Broward County, home of the hanging chad). In yet another instance of Democrats elevating one of their disgraced members to a leadership position, Hastings could become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Nydia Velazquez (D.-N.Y.)
Just the person we need to chair the House Committee on Small Business: a liberal Hispanic New York Democrat. I’m sure she’ll take a tough stand on illegal immigration.
Charlie Rangel (D.-N.Y.)
Rangel has equated tax cuts with racism. Referring to Republicans, he said, “They used to say ‘nigger’ and ‘spic.’ Now they say, ‘Let’s cut taxes.’” This man would become chairman of the powerful, tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
John Conyers (D.-Mich.)
A savagely partisan liberal, Conyers would become head of the House Judiciary Committee. C-SPAN watchers will recall that this is the committee that initiates impeachment procedures, which is exactly what Conyers plans to do to President Bush.
And the Others?
Other committee chairmanships are still up for grabs in a Democrat-controlled House. For example, it is unclear who Speaker Pelosi (even the title makes me shudder) would appoint as chairman of the House Ethics Committee. Perhaps she should consider Rep. William Jefferson (D.-La.), who was caught last year with $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer.