Nancy Pelosi’s vow as incoming Speaker — to “drain the swamp” in the House of Representatives – is bubbling up like nasty heartburn after a supper of five-alarm chili. First there were the corruption accusations against former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, the New York Democrat. Now Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., faces trial for her alleged role in steering federal funds to a bank whose board included her husband. Waters says she didn’t do anything wrong and will, like Rangel, fight charges against her in a House trial.
In a sense, Pelosi also is on trial. Her defenders say she never guaranteed no Democrat would ever break House rules, only that if they did they would face the consequences. Hmmm … that’s probably not what most Americans believed they heard when Pelosi uttered her swamp-draining vow. Then, it sounded like Pelosi was promising the most ethical House in history, after voters punished Republican ethical lapses in the 2006 elections. The Pelosi House obviously has its shortcomings. With the Rangel and Waters proceedings in September and possibly longer, it’s getting harder for Democrats to avoid the “culture of corruption” tag that helped sink the GOP four years ago.