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Matthew Yglesias: Republican Efforts To Make Hay Of Pelosi May Backfire

[media id=8327] Matthew Yglesias came on MSNBC to discuss his article at the Daily Beast GOP's Torture Tricks Backfire. From the article: Just when

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Matthew Yglesias came on MSNBC to discuss his article at the Daily Beast GOP's Torture Tricks Backfire. From the article:

Just when it seemed to many that the right had lost its mojo, give conservatives credit: They're still enormously good at ginning up controversies and controlling the news cycle. Thus a story that was once about the Bush administration's decision to authorize barbaric and illegal acts of torture has successfully been morphed into a to-do about Nancy Pelosi's account of CIA briefings.

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And here's where the right's tactical acumen comes up short. Various conservative commentators have expressed their hope that gunning for Pelosi will blunt progressive calls for a "truth commission" to thoroughly investigate what really happened on Bush's trip to the "dark side". Fox's Neil Cavuto said we might be in a "Mexican standoff" wherein Pelosi would agree to drop the idea of investigations to prevent herself from attracting scrutiny. Steven Hayes, Dick Cheney's official biographer, said, "Democrats who have been so enthusiastic about truth commissions have to be stopping and saying, OK, wait a second." What conservatives are missing here is that this is a fight they were winning before they started gunning for Pelosi. Their best ally in this fight was Barack Obama, whose desire to "move forward" rather than focusing on the past had been the subject of much consternation. Had conservatives simply reached out to grab the hand that was being extended to them, they could have gotten what they wanted.

But in their zeal to score a tactical win, the right has made a truth commission more likely not less likely. Obama wanted to avoid a backward-looking focus on torture in part because it distracted from his legislative agenda. But if we're going to be looking backward anyway, thanks to conservatives' insistence on complaining about Pelosi, then the move forward strategy lacks a rationale. And far from forcing a standoff in which Pelosi will abandon her support for an investigation, the right has forced her into a corner from which she can't give in to moderate Democrats' opposition to such a move without looking like she's cravenly attempting to save her own skin.

Nora O'Donnell tried to make hay of Newt Gingrich's statements that Nancy Pelosi should resign and Matthew hit her with this zinger in response:

YGLESIAS: You know, Newt Gingrich knows a lot about saying stupid things and being forced out of the job as Speaker.

Ouch. But true. Why does anyone in the media treat Gingrich like he has any standing on this issue? O'Donnell went on to insist that there will be no hearings although as Think Progress noted Nancy Pelosi repeated her desire as recently as last Thursday to have them.

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