Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hoyer Beats Murtha For House Majority Leader

House Democrats on Thursday chose Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to be House majority leader over Rep. John Murtha, the choice of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in line to become speaker. Hoyer was elected on a vote of 149-86.

The balloting marked a personal triumph for him, but also a snub to Pelosi, moments after the rank and file selected her unanimously to become speaker when the House convenes in January.
So much for Murtha claiming to have the votes or for Pelosi vouching for him. It didn't help, and Hoyer got the nod over Murtha.

The nutroots will not be happy about their cut and run cheerleader going down to defeat. Hoyer is far more pragmatic on the issue of Iraq than Murtha, whose strategy includes relocating US forces to Okinawa to deal with regional threats in the Middle East.

Yet, Murtha was more of a liability for the Democrats than the left is willing to admit. Pelosi should quickly shake off this setback, and address the issue of Alcee Hastings, who should not be in a position of power, let alone dogcatcher. With Committee chairs still to be doled out, Hastings is in position to chair the Intelligence Committee. For the party that vowed to clean up D.C. and drain the swamp, Pelosi has treated D.C. as protected wetlands, which now includes Hastings (thanks Don Surber for the line).

Hot Air has a good roundup. Allah thinks that this was a big loss for Pelosi. Don Surber doesn't quite figure how this is a loss for Pelosi.
Give me the setback of becoming Speaker of the House.

Murtha still lurks as her right-hand man, but unofficially, which gives Pelosi the best of both worlds. She keeps the Kos Kids happy, but avoids all that Drain the Swamp mess.

Smart move by Pelosi and the Democrats.
This was a loss personally for Pelosi, who has put personal relationships ahead of politics on more than a few occasions.

Majority Whip is a position of power, where one helps figure out whether the votes are there to secure the positions. It requires strongarming, persuasion, and a deft touch, all at once, especially with a closely divided Congress. Hoyer is a good match for the job, so Democrats will do well with him at the controls. Pelosi wins by losing.

Democrats have to be quite cagey who they have as the face of the party for the next two years. Having Murtha running about would not send the right signals, and voters would note this especially as the election draws near. Hoyer would be less controversial, and potentially more effective. That's the bottom line that the Democrat caucus looked at. The downside of Murtha was simply too great.

In the end, I doubt it will affect the overall agenda of Democrats in the upcoming session, what with the calls for investigations, withdrawals, stonewalling the Administration's judicial nominees and other such statements coming from various quarters of the Democrat leadership. The Democrats have their agenda, and the GOP has theirs. The more effective - or the one that does the least amount of harm to their own agenda, is going to be most successful not only in the next two years, but in 2008.

Yet, none of this functions in a vacuum. There is a real war going on in Iraq and around the world, fueled by Islamists who seek to destroy the West's way of life. Terrorists flock to Iraq because that's where the action is, but they're not stopping there. The threats extend to places like Somalia and Sudan, where the US fears to tread because of earlier experiences.

That fear to tread means that the battlefield is ceded to terrorists without a shot fired, and such failed states remain not only a grave and gathering threat, but one that is imminent and current.

Others blogging: Sister Toldjah, Blogs of War, Polimon, Hyscience, Stop the ACLU, Scared Monkeys, Llama Butchers, and Iowa Voice.

No comments: