Conservative Republican Jim Ellis and liberal Democrat Bennet Kelley present Filibanter, a combination of political filibuster and banter. Read Ellis's perspective on Pelosi's claims here.

The GOP’s “Pelosi-gate” argument appears to be that Speaker Pelosi is corrupt to the core for slandering the CIA for not being fully honest on the question of torture. Now, they say, she must either provide proof to support her claim or apologize. At the same time they say she is playing politics and aiding the enemy if she attempts to investigate the larger question of whether we engaged in torture (which, of course we didn’t—so long as you draw the line between “aggressive techniques” and torture just shy of decapitation).

This is tantamount to feigning outrage over the Dewey Decimal classification of Hitler’s Mein Kampf while being indifferent to its hateful content.

Pelosi-gate is symptomatic of the state of the GOP today: There is simply no there there. The fact is former Senator and House intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham, who records his activities by the minute in a journal, had the same experience as the Speaker.

The GOP is trying to obscure the basic facts that torture has been against U.S. policy since our inception, has been denounced by military leaders as counter-productive and  is prohibited by law (as is failure to give prior notice of a decision to engage in torture).

These are minor issues to the GOP, who instead want to elevate debate by mockingly calling the Speaker “Queen Nancy” or a “hag”. This is classic Gingrich fear-and-smear politics; the former Speaker’s PAC once issued a pamphlet to Republican candidates with examples of words, like “corrupt” and “traitor,” to use in smears.

It is telling, however, that the party that is so quick to label modest changes as tyranny or socialism refuses to say that torture is wrong.


Bennet Kelley is an award-winning political columnist with over 30 years of political experience that includes being the co-founder and national cochair of the Democratic National Committee's Saxophone Club, its young professional and fundraising arm during the Clinton era. With Jim Ellis he has formed Filibanter, which provides a live presentation combining political filibustering and banter.