Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an “incompetent” leader in a conference call this afternoon. Despite prodding from several bloggers on the call, he declined to call for Pelosi to step down.
“If she really believes that the CIA has lied to her systematically for seven years, what does that say about her leadership?” Hoekstra asked. He repeated House Minority Leader John Boehner’s call for Pelosi to supply evidence for her allegations or retract them. He said that while he disagreed with the House speaker and viewed her as “from my perspective, incompetent,” she should be given the opportunity to present any proof she has before anyone should call on her to resign.
Hoekstra argued that Pelosi wanted the Bush administration held accountable for its interrogation techniques. “When it comes to her being held accountable,” he continued, “she kind of sits there and wrings her hands.” Hoekstra then listed her criticisms of the CIA, the Bush administration, and others before saying “in typical Democrat fashion” with Pelosi “it’s always everyone else’s fault.”
The congressman was somewhat less critical of President Obama, suggesting that he might be open to evidence about what works in interrogating terror detainees as he gains experience protecting the country. “When he said he was going to get rid of military tribunals and then he looked at the evidence, what did he do” Hoekstra asked. “He kept the tribunals.” Hoekstra noted that Obama also changed his mind of the release of abuse photos and “took the surge policy from Iraq and moved it to Afghanistan.” He said he was hopeful Obama might also change his mind about interrogation and Guantanamo Bay.
Republicans on the call also hit the Democrats hard over cap and trade, with Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) warning that “[Henry] Waxman probably has the votes to narrowly pass this thing in committee” and that “we need to get all the Blue Dogs” to be able to stop it in the full House. “This cap and trade stuff just reeks,” Upton said of Waxman-Markey.