Pod creatures capture Nancy Pelosi

Pod creatures capture Nancy Pelosi

Arianna Huffington’s latest

Was it “Meet the Press” or the Sci-Fi Channel? Watching Nancy Pelosi make her first Sunday morning TV appearance since being elected House Minority Leader, I had to check the cable box twice to make sure.

The woman answering Tim Russert’s questions might have looked like Pelosi but she sounded like a character from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

What had happened to the Congresswoman from California? Gone was the bold, combative, impassioned, progressive politician we’ve come to know over her 15 years in the House. In her place was a soulless pod person — an empty shell mouthing the kind of pallid, inoffensive, focus group-tested and cringe-inducing platitudes that have driven two-thirds of the American electorate away from politics.

I couldn’t help but wonder: Had Head Pod Terry McAuliffe given her a whiff of some life-sucking spores?

How else to explain, for example, Pelosi’s mealy-mouthed response to the all-important question of war with Iraq. The only member of the Democratic leadership to vote against the president’s use of force resolution, she had been unequivocal in her opposition to the war.

But there she was, just 72 hours after her historic ascendance to her new post, vowing to back the president — even if he decides to unilaterally attack Iraq without U.N. approval. “If our young people are called to duty,” she said, “certainly we’ll support the action of the president.”

What is it about our system that the minute politicians are given a chance to lead, all they want to do is follow the pack? If the Democrats are really looking for a leader to help them return to power, the position, it seems, is still open.