Nancy Pelosi has been struggling to explain her need for a big Air Force jet to fly nonstop to her home district in San Francisco. She says she is only following the policy of her predecessor, Republican Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who flew home regularly on government aircraft for security reasons. Pelosi says she needs a bigger government jet than Hastert did because she has a lot farther to go, and, besides, the security requirement was imposed by the House sergeant at arms. Otherwise, she says, she'd fly commercial."Struggling" is very much an overstatement, as even the White House has declared this a non-issue, and NPR called it a "kerfluffle." Still, it's funny the GOP thinks they are fighting a PR stunt with, basically, a PR stunt.
But Pelosi has been attacked by GOP legislators for extravagance and hypocrisy, since she has criticized Republicans for taking too many perks when they controlled Capitol Hill.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has sided with Pelosi. But GOP insiders say the issue has a lot to do with Pelosi's work-week requirements, which many legislators consider a PR stunt that imposes a real burden on them getting home to be with their families and constituents.
That said, the aircraft fuss has become "an irresistible target" for the GOP legislators, says a Republican insider.
The Schiavo debacle taught them nothing except how to shoot themselves in the foot. In such a case, what can you do except hope they keep it up?