Nostalgic for … Bill Clinton?

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Democrats are beginning to panic as we speed toward the midterm elections. They have good reason to get nervous as they ponder the spectacle – so unlikely a year or so ago – of being reduced once again to a minority in the House of Representatives. The deservedly repudiated Republicans miraculously stand to benefit from the anger of the dispossessed middle class.

These are indeed strange times. Baltimore’s own native daughter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is unhappy that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs blurted out a widely known truth Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press" when he was asked whether House Democrats could lose their substantial majority and replied that that was entirely possible. This may be the first time a White House press secretary has spoken truthfully in public, though he quickly did the old backstroke when the congressional leaders made their displeasure known.

One can certainly understand why Speaker Pelosi is agitated. Few people willingly cede power, and she certainly wants to cling to hers, the perks of which include luxury air travel to and from her California home, not to mention her new San Francisco office (for which we taxpayers are footing a more than $18,000-per-month rent), nicer digs in the Capitol and the ability to kick butt and take names any time she chooses. She has no reelection worries, being the occupant of a "safe" seat in a hotbed of loony leftism – but being a member, however senior, of the minority party in Congress would be a step way down from the heights she now occupies. Chances are she would then try to exit the Washington scene as soon as she could.

Her retirement would be appealing. Not only to her, either. Many of us would gladly wave goodbye. Since we’re mentioning annoying speakers-of-the-House, did you see or hear that Newt Gingrich is moving toward a run for president? Are we to be spared nothing?

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Ron Smith [send him mail] can be heard weekdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., on Baltimore’s 1090 WBAL-AM and WBAL.com. His column appears Wednesdays in The Baltimore Sun.

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