By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
It has been said well and famously that politicians only really commit a gaffe when they tell the truth without meaning to. Add House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the list.
Speaking Tuesday to the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties, Pelosi began the windup of her healthcare pitch by alluding to the controversies over the healthcare bill and the process by which it has reached its current state. Then, just after saying, "It's going to be very, very exciting," Pelosi gaffed, telling the local elected officials assembled that Congress "[has] to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it, away from the fog of controversy."
This is the same Nancy Pelosi who, only weeks earlier, was bragging about the transparency of the process that produced the bill that is currently stalled in Congress. The same Pelosi who brushed aside concerns raised by organizations like Let Freedom Ring!--where I am a senior fellow--that members of Congress actually commit to reading the bill before voting for it and that it be posted online for at least 72 hours before any vote so that the American people can read it, too.
In fact, as supporters of the current healthcare bill will no doubt point out, the bill Pelosi and the White House are trying to move to the president's desk passed the Senate at Christmas. It has been on the Web for well over 72 hours; indeed it has been discussed and dissected by healthcare policy experts repeatedly over the last two months. But if that is the case, why is Pelosi telling the National Association of Counties that the bill has to pass before they--and the rest of us "can find out what's in it." What is she hiding?