PELOSI: IF THINGS WERE DIFFERENT, I'D WANT TO IMPEACH. At a meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some dozen-and-a-half journalists, the speaker reiterated her reluctance to embark on impeachment hearings. (The meeting was convened in honor of the late, great progressive activist Maria Leavey.) First, in answer to a question by Michael Tomasky about the planned introduction of an impeachment measure targeting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the speaker said, "I would prefer to stay focused on our agenda." She had outlined a long list of legislative priorities, the latest being the children's health insurance bill (S-CHIP), which is scheduled this week for a vote.

Later I asked about the tension between the pressure to pass an ambitious legislative agenda and simultaneously protect the Constitution, which I personally fear will be a pile of ashes by the time Bush & Co. finally leave town. At first I got the answer I expected, all about the need to conduct the people's business, end the war, and not divide the country. And I can see that she really wants to affect some of these priorities, such as health care coverage and new education investment; Pelosi does have real passion about these things. Then, as we were about to move on from the topic, she said, "If I were not the speaker and I were not in Congress, I would probably be advocating for impeachment."

--Adele M. Stan

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