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Jane Harman, statesman

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I just want to send a shout out to Jane Harman for her statesmanlike conduct on Hardball with Chris Matthews February 4, 2004. She was on discussing questions about US intelligence services.

Ms. Harman is a Democrat congressman from California, 36th district. Usually, I have minimal patience with a politician, especially a high level Democrat. I’m sure that if I delved into her record, I’d soon find a bunch of pinko liberal crap to annoy me, and I’d be cussing her up one side and down the other.

However, she at least gave a strong appearance of taking her duties as a member of the Intelligence Committee quite seriously. She was on with Matthews discussing problems with our Iraqi intelligence, and she seemed to be absolutely scrupulously NOT in any detectable way playing politics.

She went against some obvious partisan Democrat positions. She didn’t see a need for a special commission on intelligence, expressing confidence in the quality of her committee’s own ongoing work- without mentioning that the majority Republicans would dominate.

She did not lay even a scintilla of blame on the Republican president, noting that he was following the same information that had been convincing to her, and past presidential administrations. No, we’ve got some systemic problems with the intelligence services that need to be fixed as an urgent matter of national security, and she was not interested in getting in even a TINY dig at the opposition. This is especially impressive going into an election year.

Now, an opposition party needs to call the majority party out when they’re doing wrong. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with raising hell about the other party. It just tends to readily descend into partisan gamesmanship.

It’s good when it does not, especially dealing with these critical issues of national security. At least at this one point, Ms Harman was nothing but a responsible statesman. I’m not necessarily sure what to think about all these intelligence issues, but she managed to convince even me that she is acting in a responsible an scrupulous manner.

Thank you, Jane Harman.

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  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    Harmen is a fairly conservative Democrat, but she has been really good on asking critical questions on intelligence issues.

    I saw her speak at the New Democratic Network west coast conference in November and was very impressed. I’ll try to find a link to the speech she gave.