Nancy Pelosi, Congress, and the American Public

Despite what Republicans in Congress, right-wing bloggers, and conservative media pundits would have us believe, Nancy Pelosi is not about to be thrown under the bus by her House colleagues — nor, it seems, has the sincere Republican effort to make Pelosi responsible for the CIA’s interrogation torture program convinced the American public that it’s all her fault that the Bush administration violated every known domestic and international law against the use of torture.

Although it’s true that the House Speaker’s job approval rating is only 39%, with 48% disapproving, the approval rating for Republicans in Congress is the same. What’s more, Americans are not strongly opinionated on the question of whether the CIA misled Pelosi or not. Neither conclusion gets 50%, and by a couple of percentage points, more Americans believe she might have been misled than believe that she was not. Those are the nationwide numbers; unsurprisingly, the results break down significantly along party lines.

Believe it or not, most Americans do not have Nancy Pelosi’s statements about the CIA foremost on their minds:

Another Connecticut Democrat, Chris Murphy, said there’s a “total disconnect” between what pundits and talk show hosts are talking about and what he hears from his constituents. Murphy said there might be some impact on the speaker’s ability to continue leading if the issue were something people were talking about in his district, but it’s not.

Here is the amen point (emphasis mine):

Conservative Indiana Democrat Baron Hill said that people who are zeroing in on the speaker are trying to move away from the broader issue of who authorized the harsh interrogation methods.

I think a lot of people have lost focus on the people who put those torture policies in place in the first place,” Hill said. “Nancy didn’t do anything wrong, in terms of the legalities, that I’m aware of. I don’t know what she was told. I’m not here to cast judgment on her at all.”

Hill said he made a half a dozen visits in his Indiana district over the weekend, and no one raised the issue of Pelosi with him.

One… two… three: AHHHHMEN!

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