The above remark was not false modesty on the part of Jackie Speier, who won a special election Tuesday for the honor of succeeding Tom Lantos. Nevertheless, as Zachary Coile of the San Francisco Chronicle reminded us, in his report of Speier's swearing-in ceremony, while she did not survive Hitler's concentration camps, she did survive a more recent horror:
Her election to Congress was a homecoming for Speier, who served as legal counsel in the 1970s to former Peninsula. Rep. Leo Ryan. Ryan was gunned down at the Guyana airport in 1978 by followers of cult leader Rev. Jim Jones, and Speier was also critically injured in the attack.
This is a woman with the courage of her convictions, and she made that clear in her first speech on the House floor:
The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately. The president wants to stay the course and a man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for 100 years. But Madam Speaker, history will not judge us kindly if we sacrifice four generations of Americans because of the folly of one.
In return the House Republicans "honored" her with a display of the "new civility" that has become part and parcel of our legislative process:
While Democrats applauded, Republicans began a chorus of low boos. Some Republicans who had congratulated her just moments before, including Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), walked out of the hall in protest.
However, given her ability to survive physical gunfire, I feel confident that her convictions will not be swayed by anything as petty as "low boos" coming from a partisan chorus acting out of nothing more than loyalty to a partisan creed that has earned its Commander in Chief the lowest public approval rating in history.