Attention, Pelosi One passengers. We ask that you stay in your seats while we guide the craft through some unexpected turbulence — hopefully only a few bumps, caused by a fast-approaching leaky Republican cold front, which we expect will dissipate at the high altitude we call “security.” We hope it won’t much affect our arrival time at Cindy Sheehan Supranational Airport in San Francisco.
Pardon the cheekiness, but this about sums up the attitude of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she bargains for a cushy travel upgrade over Coach Denny Hastert’s speakership in, well, coach.
As this newspaper reported yesterday, for travels to her home district in San Francisco Mrs. Pelosi wants the best air accommodations the U.S. military can offer. No wonder: The craft she has reportedly requested, the Air Force’s C-32, seats an entourage of 42, business class, with a state room, entertainment center, private bed and a fully operational communications center. Its crew numbers 16 and reportedly costs $15,000 per hour to operate. That’s downright presidential. For comparison, the jet Mr. Hastert settled for is much smaller — it seats 16 — and isn’t nearly as posh (full disclosure, Mr. Hastert himself enjoyed cushy accommodations during the genuine security emergency following September 11).
The deployment of the “security”logic is more than ironic here: This is the party that routinely pooh-poohs the “war president” and scoffs at the administration’s policy rationales when they invoke wartime powers. But on multiple occasions this week, Mrs. Pelosi’s aides have floated “security” as justification for the permanent upgrade. The physical security of the speaker of the House is no laughing matter, of course. But the use of that logic in this case is: Some security upgrade, this open bar and mile-high entertainment center.
Chances are Mrs. Pelosi will get her wings: She and Rep. Jack Murtha will roll over Pentagon officials who know what they face in appropriations if they don’t swallow so simple a request — provided that they survive the Republican leaks.
Now, if she could only get around the pesky cloud of Pelosi One’s carbon-dioxide emissions.