The Magnanimous Madam Speaker
Nancy Pelosi is so bounteous with her new-found spoils that not only will she treat herself to military aircraft for all her travel needs, but so too shall her family members, her staff - heck, even fellow Congress members (so long as they hail from California) avail themselves of the on-demand military commuting service.
"They are pressing the point of her succession and that the [Department of Defense] needs to play ball with the speaker's needs," one source said. The request originally went to the Pentagon, which then asked the White House to weigh in.
Mrs. Pelosi's request is not new for a speaker, who is second-in-line in presidential succession. A defense source said the speaker's regular access to a military plane began after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Rep. J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, who was speaker at the time, started using U.S. Air Force planes for domestic travel to and from his district for security reasons. A former Hastert aide said the congressman did not use military planes for political trips or regularly transport his family.
Captain Ed weighs in on Pelosi's perk package.
Pelosi's staff doesn't have anything to do with the succession, and neither do her colleagues in the House. The military is not a charter service for politicians who want to avoid using the same airports as the rest of the hoi polloi. The military has other responsibilities, especially in a time of war, and pampering Congressmen shouldn't take precedence over them. That most certainly applies to flying Pelosi's family around, too.
I seem to recall that Pelosi and her party ran on the notion that the Republicans had grown too fat over the perquisites of power. The GOP lost touch with the people of America, they claimed, and let power go to their heads -- and certainly in some cases they were right. It's hard to square that rhetoric with these new demands that the Pentagon start providing free charter flights to Democratic politicians and their staffs and families at a moment's notice.
Handcrafted by Flip on February 1, 2007 |
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» Pelosi Uses Military Planes as Charter Service for Family, Staff from Mary Katharine Ham
The perk is not new for the position of Speaker, but reports indicate Hastert didn't use it quite so enthusiastically as Madame does. [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 1, 2007 1:15:33 PM