The NY Times looks at the roster of Democrats who would chair the various House committees *if* the Dems reclaim the House this November and follow their past practice of elevating members on the basis of seniority. After noting the Dems that scare Republicans, they eventually get to He Who Must Not be Named, the Dem that scares even the Dems (Spoiler - it is Alcee Hastings of Florida, who would chair, no kidding, Intelligence). Here is the second paragraph:
In fund-raising appeals, on the Internet and in stump speeches, Republicans raise the specter of a Judiciary Committee headed by Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, a banking committee steered by Barney Frank of Massachusetts, a tax-writing committee led by Charles B. Rangel of New York, and an energy panel under the leadership of John D. Dingell of Michigan.
Alcee finally appears in paragraph sixteen:
Other positions are more problematic. At the Intelligence Committee, Representative Alcee L. Hastings of Florida, who was removed from the federal bench in the 1980’s, is in line to take over, although that decision would be the responsibility of Ms. Pelosi and could prove explosive.
"Removed from the federal bench"? He was impeached by the House for corruption and perjury and "became only the sixth Judge in the history of impeachment in the United States to be removed from office by the United States Senate." However, the good people of the great state of Florida have sent him to Washington, so here we are.
And what is happening to Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat who gained national prominence when the NSA warrantless wiretapping story broke? Per the operation of term limits within the Democratic Caucus, she is slated to be moved aside as ranking Dem in favor of Alcee (she is also in a primary tussle). Steve Clemons attributes this to internal Dem politicking by Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Paragraph seventeen gives us a whiff of the Conyers problem:
And some Democrats are nervous about the prospect of a Judiciary Committee led by Mr. Conyers, who has raised the prospect of impeaching President Bush, a notion that Ms. Pelosi has sought to bat down.
Not only has Ms. Pelosi sought to bat it down, but someone has exhorted Mr. Conyers to clean up his campaign website - the "Before", currently available in Google-cache, highlights the prospect of a Bush impeachment on the main page; the "After" has been revised to soft-pedal that goal.
At this point, Tradesports has the Reps with a 47% probability of retaining control of the House; the Iowa Electronic Markets seem to be at 54%. Anyone who can explain that apparent gap, feel free (and if I am reading on of these two sites backwards, well, it's a weekend in the summertime...)
MORE: My favorite Conyers moment came when he and Rep. Louise Slaughter bit on a Daily Kos misdirection play and put out a press release alerting the world that "reporter" Jeff Gannon/James Guckert had special access to the CIA / Plame scoop.
Mr. Guckert denied seeing a Central Intelligence Agency memorandum disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame, a C.I.A. operative, even though he had strongly insinuated as much in an interview with her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, the transcript of which he posted on the Internet.
Mr. Guckert's phrasing in that interview so strongly suggested he had seen the classified memorandum that it brought F.B.I. officials to his house as part of the Plame leak investigation, he said. But he said referring to the memorandum as though he had seen it was merely an interview technique. ''What I said was no more than what was reported in The Wall Street Journal a week before,'' he said.