The Speaker of the House will, in a very historic move, resign this week.
No joking at all.
The Speaker, facing a rebellion from back bench members of the House over ethics problems, mismanagement, and the Speaker’s own desire to block inquiries into allegations about the ethics of members of the Speaker’s own party, has decided to announce the resignation later this week.
It is historic and we’re glad the Speaker has chosen to do the right thing.
This also hasn’t happened in 300 years.No, I’m not talking about Nancy Pelosi. She’s too into self-interest to care about either the reputation of the House of Representatives or the Democrat Caucus.
I’m talking about Speaker Michael Martin of the British House of Commons.
For some time Mr. Martin has been under fire for questionable personal behavior. Historically, the British Speaker must remain above reproach and not be accused of partisan operations. In fact, the British take the role so seriously, they typically give the position to a member of the party opposite, no one runs against that person, and the Speaker is squired away in a palace away from the temptation to play partisan favorites.
But when Betty Boothroy retired, Labor put up a hard charging partisan in Michael Martin. He never really abandoned the partisan hackery. It even rubbed members of Labor the wrong way. When Martin did become more fair, he also became more egocentric, abusing staff and finances.
In the latest lapse, the ethically compromised Martin did not keep the reins tightly pulled and allowed members of the House of Commons to pull a fast one on the British public by abusing expense accounts.
Mr Martin’s critics say he was the driving force behind repeated attempts by Commons authorities to block details of MPs’ expenses from coming out under Freedom of Information legislation.
He was also criticised for attacking MPs in the Commons who had campaigned for more transparency or questioned his decision to call police to investigate the leaking of expenses details to the Daily Telegraph.
Whether in the British House of Commons or the American House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House, as chief voice for the whole House, sets the tone and ethical balance. As Martin failed, so failed his House.
Nancy Pelosi’s corruption, ethical lapses, and vanity set the tone for the American House. As Labour will go down in flames at the next election — in fact, the Queen is said to be looking into dissolving the House without the advice of her government — the Democrats quite possibly will too.
And they will have Nancy to thank unless she takes a lesson from the other Speaker of the House and resigns.