Ask yourself this question: if Nancy Pelosi were trying to lose control of the House, what would she do differently? Elevating her extreme liberal California pal Pete Stark to temporary leadership of the Ways and Means Committee is a great way to further alienate independents and divide Democrats.
Stark is next in line for the post in seniority, but his maverick personality had led some to question whether he would get the gavel even on a temporary basis. Stark has made many controversial comments over the years, and when Republicans controlled the House, Stark challenged then Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) to a fight during a Ways and Means Committee hearing.
Stark in 2007 called President George W. Bush a "liar" on the House floor, adding that Bush was amused over U.S. soldier deaths in Iraq. Pelosi condemned the remarks and Stark subsequently apologized.
The Hill has barely even scratched the surface of Pete Stark highlights. It's worth a little more detail. Stark didn't just call President Bush a liar; he said Bush was sending troops to Iraq so they could get their heads 'blown off' for his personal amusement:
He didn't just challenge Scott McInnis to a fistfight; he called him a 'fruitcake,' and worse. Eventually the Capitol Police were called to clear Stark and others out of a committee hearing room.
Stark is the man who called the black Secretary of Health and Human Services 'a disgrace to his race.' He blamed the first Gulf war on cheerleading from his 'Jewish colleagues.' He said a female colleague learned what she knew about medicine from 'pillow talk' with her physician husband. He accused a California official of wanting to 'kill children.' Just last year he secretly taped the ethics investigators looking into the tax break he claimed for establishing resident in Maryland, and he berated and insulted them while he did so.
He's also been a low-level star of the YouTube era, with 'highlights' you have probably seen before.
Threatening an interviewer who asks him to explain why he thinks the national debt makes us wealthier:
Telling a constituent he's not worth as much as Stark's own urine:
Attacking a constituent who disagrees with him on Iraq:
Pete Stark is an extreme liberal, who has demonstrated time and again that he's better at dividing than uniting. He's got no significant achievements to his name during nearly 30 years of service. That's quite a resume in itself - a testament to both his extreme views and his inability ever to work with colleagues on shared priorities. And he's the person Pelosi picks to take over for Rangel at a time when Democrats are desperate to pass health care and a 'jobs' bill? It's as if Pelosi's given up already.