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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Murtha Meltdown


Those coming from Ankle Biting Pundits, you are looking for
THIS post.

In her first act as Madame Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has managed to show the whole world exactly how fractured the Democratic party is. This is a followup from yesterdays post.

Some reactions from Democrats, left wing bloggers and from the right on Murtha and her other decisions.

We start with Wapo's Article "Unfit for Majority Leader":

If she gets her way and helps Murtha win a come-from-behind victory against Maryland's Steny Hoyer in tomorrow's leadership election, she's buying herself -- and the Democratic caucus -- endless news stories about Murtha's ethics. If, as he says, Hoyer has the votes, Pelosi has made herself look weak within the caucus -- not a smart move for any new leader, and certainly not for the first woman in the job. Perhaps the late timing and measured phrasing of Pelosi's endorsement were meant to ensure that it would have little impact. If so, Pelosi failed to recognize that once she weighed in, the vote for majority leader would inevitably be seen as a gauge of her clout.

Read the rest, beause it sets the stage for the reactions to this Meltdown within the party supporters as well as showing the American public exactly what type of people they elected.

From Huffington Post:

This is a tricky one because so much turns on how good a Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be. The early signs are not good. The day after she backs Arianna's hero John Murtha for majority leader, the Washington Post goes after her with both barrels--a front page story about Murtha and his history of ethics problems, including (unindicted) involvement in Abscam, and an editorial slamming Murtha and endorsing Steny Hoyer for the job. When was the last time the Post made an endorsement in a party leadership race? Ever? There's no possible win here for Pelosi. If Hoyer wins, the new Speaker gets publicly humiliated on her first vote. If Murtha wins, the Pelosi promise of "the most ethical Congress in history" will fall apart quickly with Sean Hannity running Murtha's Abscam FBI video endlessly.

From the Left Coaster:

I agree with Lawrence O'Donnell on this. It wasn't politically smart for Nancy Pelosi to take a public position in the Majority Leader race between Steny Hoyer and John Murtha, regardless of whether or not Murtha now has the votes to win. Pelosi would make this gaffe much worse if she pushes Jane Harman aside for the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee for Alcee Hastings, because: a) she would be handing a club to the GOP on ethics...

From The Moderate Voice:

One week ago I was celebrating a Democratic takeover of the House, and waching the Senate races in Virginia and Montana with a mixture of anxiety and optimism. Everything was breaking the right way, except Tennessee and a few key House races, and the Dems looked poised to control both houses of Congress. Happy, happy times.

And now? Everything seems to be fine in the Senate, where Reid will be majority leader and the rest of the leadership team is securely in place: Durbin, Schumer, Murray.

And in the House? Not so much. Pelosi is firmly in place as the next speaker, but there is a contentious battle underway for majority leader between Murtha and Hoyer. As I mentioned on Monday, Pelosi is pushing Murtha, long-time Pelosi ally and outspoken Iraq War critic, over Hoyer, long-time Pelosi rival, Democratic whip, and somewhat less outspoken Iraq War critic. To be sure, there's nothing wrong with some healthy competition. But did Pelosi need to get so personally involved in this contest? She would no doubt work better with Murtha than with Hoyer, but as Josh Marshall puts it: "She's very publicly making everyone takes sides. And in a very specific, unique way. She's staked her authority and credibility on a Murtha victory. And since she represents the caucus, to a degree she's putting the caucus's authority and credibility on the line too, just after the Dems have taken power in the House for the first time in a dozen years. It's a really bold power-play on a number of levels."

A little further down, the Moderate Voice says:

So I ask: Why, why, why?!

Everything looked so good just a week ago. And now this.

Was it so difficult to transition smoothly into the majority? (Okay, the other side isn't doing any better, but that hardly matters now.) Was it so difficult to keep the peace? Was there no other way?
(Now please notice where Moderate voice claims that everything is alright in the Senate.... then take a look at this at Stop the ACLU and tell me, Moderate Voice isn't deluding themselves!!! Sister Toldjah has more on this about Reid.)

Now... I have to say, I am laughing while writing this, because this is what the Democrats and those on the left and the independents that wanted to "make a statement" in the elections, asked for...well now they got it!!!!

On the right side of the aisle, I have to admit, we are truly amused at watching the Dems implode right in front of us, before they have actually taken control!!!!!!

A few reactions from the right.

The Gay Patriot thanks Nancy Pelosi:

Thank you Nancy Pelosi. I mean you haven't even taken the gavel as presumed House Speaker and already you have created a furor within your Democratic Caucus and handed the Republicans the best political gift they've had all year.

Thanks Nancy, for giving your support to John "ABSCAM" Murtha -- the former Marine and now lying and slanderous Congressman from Pennsylvania.

Don Surber says Murtha isn't in a swamp; he is in a protected wetlands:

This is not some insider's game. The public is still watching. They see this coarse, corrupt crony on the grainy videotape from Abscam and wonder why the hell he is in Congress let alone the No. 2 man in the House.

PoliBlog with Democratic Leadership Wars:

I am not sure how discussing actual videotapes of a person (i.e., the Abscam videos of Murtha) constitute “swift– boat style attacks” nor is there anything wrong with pointing to Murtha’s work to steer contracts in the direction of his constituents.

He did pay attention to the recent election, did he not? These kinds of issues were prominent, if I recall properly.

We also have the politicians themselves and their reactions to this.

Braley and Hare, however, seemed unaffected by the spat, and they both said Tuesday that they will support Hoyer’s bid.

“He has been enormously supportive of me and a number of freshmen members,” Braley said in a telephone interview.

He also cited Hoyer’s experience and temperament as selling points.

Hoyer campaigned in the Quad-Cities earlier this year, and one of his staffers also worked with the Braley campaign in Iowa’s 1st District in the closing weeks of the race.

Hare, who was elected last week in Illinois’ 17th District, also cited Hoyer’s assistance and his leadership experience. He said he’s known him for several years.

“He’s a great guy,” said Hare, the longtime district director for outgoing Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill. “He was really, really good to me.

A letter Hare and Braley signed last Friday urged Hoyer’s selection because of his political contributions to Democrats, his commitment to party principles and an ability to build bridges within the caucus.

From LA Times:

"Everywhere you go on Capitol Hill today, this is the topic of conversation," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater), who supports Hoyer. "It would have been easier for some of us not to have to exercise our independence quite so early."

More reactions from Captain's Quarters and Blue Crab Boulevard.

Reformed Chicks Blabbing is as amazed as I am that Wapo is actually publishing something that is true... bestill my heart, ya think they are offended that they are now being made to look bad for endorsing these people?

Hot Air thinks Christmas has come early this year.

[UPDATE]- From The Hill

Pelosi was not happy interjecting herself into the vote for house speaker, she now is dividing her party further by pushing the issue, according to The Hill.

“She’s committed. If they thought she was just going to endorse his candidacy, they were mistaken,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a Murtha ally. “She didn’t have to do this. It’s called courage.”

By throwing her full weight behind Murtha, Pelosi risks suffering an early setback with her colleagues if Hoyer wins; however, a Murtha victory would cement her total control.

Pelosi called incoming Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) yesterday morning just hours after he had told the New York Sun, “I think Steny has done his job. I cannot think of any reason why this is happening,” prompting the paper to run the headline “Rangel Backs Hoyer for Leader.”

“I don’t know what article she had seen, but she had thought it was an endorsement of Steny,” Rangel said.

Rangel told her it was not an endorsement but reiterated his earlier statement that “nobody had given me any reason not to support Steny.”


Yet nine other incoming full committee chairmen are supporting Hoyer. Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), John Spratt (D-S.C.), Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) signed a letter yesterday backing Hoyer.

“There simply is no question: Nancy and Steny have been a terrific team … we believe that Nancy and Steny not only deserve great credit for bringing us to this point, but also will be the best team to lead our caucus as we move forward in the majority,” they wrote.

Read the rest here.

Nancy Pelosi is creating rifts within her own party and they will not heal quickly. Either she wins this and then has to spend valuable time trying to mend fences or she loses and her power is greatly diminished before she officially even gets to be speaker of the house.

So, whether Pelosi wins OR loses in this particular battle, she has already caused damage to her party. Pretty good start.

The meltdown continues and if this is how the Democrats are going to start... the next couple of years are going to be fun!!!!!!

[UPDATE #2]- Looks like Hoyer is going into thursdays secret ballot ahead of Murtha, via AP.

Hoyer entered the Democratic leadership race with a substantial lead by most counts, but he has been scrambling to hold onto supporters since Pelosi's surprise intervention on Sunday. He appeared to carry a lead into Thursday's secret ballot despite Pelosi's opposition.

"I think we're in very good shape. I expect to win," Hoyer said. "I expect that we will bring the party together and become unified and move on from this."
Should be interesting watching the left wing bloggers tomorrow, no matter who wins.


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