Queen Nancy: Fly as I say, not as I fly

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

Demo­cratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the Jen­nifer Lopez of con­gres­sional travel — fickle, de­mand­ing and no­to­ri­ously in­sen­si­tive to the time, costs and en­ergy needed to ac­com­mo­date her end­less de­mands. On March 10, the in­dis­pens­able gov­ern­ment watch­dog Ju­di­cial Watch re­leased a trove of pub­lic records through the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act on Pelosi’s travel ar­range­ments with the U.S. mil­i­tary.

As speaker of the House, Mrs. Pelosi is en­ti­tled to a rea­son­able level of mil­i­tary pro­tec­tion and trans­port. But it’s the size of the planes, the fre­quency of re­quests and last-minute can­cel­la­tions, and the po­lit­i­cal na­ture of many of her trips that scream out for ac­count­abil­ity.

And, of course, it’s the dou­ble-bar­reled hypocrisy. There’s the eco-hypocrisy of the Demo­cratic leader who wags her fin­ger at the rest of us for our toobig car­bon foot­prints, and cru­sades for mas­sive taxes and reg­u­la­tion to re­duce global warm­ing. Then there’s the Bay Area hypocrisy of the woman who rep­re­sents one of the most anti-mil­i­tary ar­eas of the coun­try soak­ing up mil­i­tary re­sources to shut­tle her (and her many fam­ily mem­bers) across the coun­try al­most ev­ery week­end.

Re­mem­ber: Mrs. Pelosi’s San Fran­cisco is no­to­ri­ous for ban­ning the Marines’ Si­lent Drill Pla­toon from film­ing a re­cruit­ment com­mer­cial on its streets; killing the JROTC pro­gram in the pub­lic schools; block­ing the re­tired bat­tle­ship U.S.S. Iowa from dock­ing in its wa­ters; and at­tack­ing the Navy’s Blue Angels — which left-wing ac­tivists have tried to ban­ish from north­ern Cal­i­for­nia skies for the past two years.

Ap­par­ently, those anti-war pro­test­ers have no prob­lem with evil mil­i­tary jets cur­ry­ing Mrs. Pelosi and her mas­sive en­tourages to the funer­als of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Char­lie Nor­wood; for­eign jun­kets to Rome; and politi­cized stops to Iowa flood sites to bash the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion. One ex­as­per­ated Depart­ment of De­fense of­fi­cial, be­sieged with itin­er­ary changes and shut­tle re­quests back and forth be­tween San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port and An­drews Air Force Base for Mrs. Pelosi, her daugh­ter, son-in-law and grand­child, wrote in an e-mail:

“They have a his­tory of can­cel­ing many of their past re­quests. Any chance of po­litely query­ing (Pelosi’s team) if they re­ally in­tend to do all of th­ese or are they just pick­ing ev­ery week­end? [. . .] (T)here’s no need to block ev­ery week­end ‘just in case.’”

An­other of­fi­cial pointed out the “hid­den costs” as­so­ci­ated with the speaker’s last-minute changes and can­cel­la­tions. “We have [. . .] folks prep­ping the jets and crews driv­ing in (not a short drive for some), cook­ing meals and pre­flight­ing the jets etc.” Up­set that a spe­cific type of air­craft was not avail­able to her boss, a Pelosi staffer carped to the DoD co­or­di­na­tors: “This is not good news, and we will have some very dis­ap­pointed folks, as well as a very up­set speaker.”

Three months ago, tur­moil erupted over Queen Nancy’s de­mand for the mil­i­tary to re­po­si­tion her plane to fly out of Travis Air Force Base in Fair­field, Calif., closer to where she had “busi­ness,” in­stead of San Fran­cisco Air­port/SFO (1.5 hours away). A spe­cial air mis­sions of­fi­cial wrote: “We have never done this in the past. The deal is [. . .] that the Speaker shut­tle is from D.C. to SFO and back. We will not re­po­si­tion. We do not re­po­si­tion for con­ve­nience even for the SECDEF. It is not (too) far of a drive from Travis to SFO. Did the es­cort sug­gest to the speaker that this is OK? If so, I hope you guys cor­rect them im­me­di­ately. If you agree with me that I am cor­rect, then you need to stay strong and present the facts to the speaker’s of­fice.”

An­other of­fi­cial stated bluntly: “We can’t re­po­si­tion the air­plane such a short dis­tance. It is not a ju­di­cial use of the as­set. It is too ex­pen­sive to op­er­ate the jet when there is truly no need to do so.”

A be­lea­guered col­league re­sponded: “(Y)ou know I un­der­stand and feel with you [. . .] but this is a bat­tle we are bound to lose if we tell the speaker of­fice. In the end, this is what will hap­pen. [. . .] I wish that I could say this is a one-time re­quest, but we know it will prob­a­bly hap­pen again in the fu­ture.”

In the end, the mil­i­tary won that bat­tle. But a few days later, Mrs. Pelosi was back with a new de­mand: that her mil­i­tary plane tak­ing her from D.C. to San Fran­cisco make a stop in New Jer­sey to bring her and three Democrats to an “in­no­va­tion fo­rum” at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity in­volv­ing 21 par­tic­i­pants and no au­di­ence. A Gulf­stream jet was se­cured for the im­por­tant “of­fi­cial busi­ness.”

No word on whether Mrs. Pelosi re­quired vanilla-scented can­dles, Evian wa­ter and fresh white lilies aboard the flight. But rest as­sured: Air Diva trav­eled in style, cour­tesy of your tax dol­lars and the for­bear­ance of the U.S. mil­i­tary.

Michelle Malkin is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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