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Okay, so he's not actually my Congressman, I'll admit it. And he's not technically a rocket scientist, either, just a nuclear physicist who served for a few years as the head of the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the State Department.

But Rush Holt is pretty smart. And pretty experienced. And he'd make a damn good Chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

For those of you who haven't been following the drama, Congresswoman Pelosi has held back on revealing her choice for the position, long after she revealed her picks for other top posts. Her hesitancy, it seems likely, comes from the fact that she has a difficult decision to make. The most obvious choice (and current senior Democrat on the Committee), Jane Harman (D-CA) is an unlikely pick, given her poor relationship with Nancy Pelosi, as well as her general complacency when faced with Republican and White House demands over the past few years.

The next ranking Democrat-- Alcee Hastings (D-FL)-- is a similarly troubling nominee. Though he has served ably on the Intelligence Committee in recent years, he has more than a few skeletons in his closet. For a Democratic Party that was handed its majority based mostly on frustration with Republican corruptness, his indiscretions might simply be too much to overlook. Twenty-five years ago, then federal judge Hastings was impeached by the Democratic House on charges of perjury and bribery, and then removed from his office by the Democratic Senate. It is interesting to note that a younger Congresswoman Pelosi was one of the House Democrats who voted to impeach Mr. Hastings.

Given the two most senior choices are so ill-suited to chair the committee, I-- and many others in the liberal blogosphere-- feel it is time for some out of the box thinking.

The first name that comes to mind is Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ). He is exceedingly qualified, intelligent, and has a record of standing strong against Bush's Republican party. Perhaps more importantly, as David Corn points out on his blog at The Nation, "this would be a change for Pelosi to send a signal: the Democrats do regard national security seriously and are willing to put aside political concerns to do the right thing. She would be saying, merit matters most when it comes to protecting the United States."

That seems like a pretty good message to send.

So, personal opinions aside-- I am, admittedly, a big fan of Rush's-- Congressman Holt would be an excellent choice for the Chairmanship. He is both an exciting (the Rocket scientist joke never gets old) and responsible choice, and Congresswoman Pelosi should think long and hard before giving the job to anyone else.

17 comments:

OrSkolnik said...

Agreed. As one of the few and proud College Dems who have not yet interned for Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), I nevertheless support him as intelligence chair. And the next Senator from New Jersey...

Rach C said...

Rush Holt is kind of a rock star, not gonna lie....

Rach C said...

Oh, and Or... According to... somebody, I forget who... possibly the Fix or the Note... Lautenberg is 100% in for the next term, which will make him, oh, I don't know, a hundred and two?

OrSkolnik said...

Old boys club indeed.

Jenna L said...

oh frank.... i actually saw him in person a few months ago on the hill and he looked ancient. i know what he's saying about running again, but i think even if he does, he will be toppled from inside the nj dems. if not rush, rob andrews or one of the others will step up.

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