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Murtha out

Just this morning, I saw John "Okinawa" Murtha claiming he had the votes for majority leader, but it looks like he miscalculated. It wasn't even close, actually. Steny Hoyer was elected by a vote of 149-86.

Congratulations to the Democratic caucus for rejecting this guy. Unless they wanted to cede the moral high ground on corruption and pork right off the bat, I don't think they really had a choice.

But now Nancy Pelosi has just soundly flunked the first test of her power as Speaker, and she hasn't so much as hefted a gavel yet. I'll still never understand why she chose to roll the dice on Murtha this way. But she did and she lost. Not only has she shown her hand way, way too eary, but she was only holding a pair of threes.

Anyway, wouldn't you just love to see the roll call votes for these leadership roles in both parties?


What I couldn't understand was the Sunday punditry getting all excited about this alleged insiders' knife fight among the new majority Democrats. There were two candidates for an office and they had their supporters and detractors. Pelosi is an important representative, she gave strong support to one candidate, that candidate lost. It doesn't really get any more complicated than that, at least with reference to the way the breathless pundits got all excited about this "rift". Must have been a slow news weekend.

As for Murtha, I didn't agree with much of left Blogtopia on that one. Because of the way he stood strongly against the war and because he has great credibility on military matters he had a lot of support in left Blogtopia. But he's pretty conservative for a Democrat and not what I would call "progressive" at all. So I preferred Hoyer. For instance, he's awful on abortion rights. On animal protection issues he's pretty poor. He's rated as pretty so-so by the ACLU. I could go on (I'm looking at the Interest Group Ratings at Vote-Smart.org, which quantify what I have already heard about him). So I am happy that Hoyer won.

What I've read is that Pelosi didn't get along very well with Hoyer and she and Murtha are pretty close in Congress. Now Pelosi is a member of the Progressive Caucus. Maybe, also, she wanted someone who was less progressive in a significant position so they couldn't pin down the party.

"Animal Protection" issues ... ah, now I remember why I voted for Bush in 2000.

Any party that is concerned with animal "rights" (the Constitution grants them NONE) cannot possibly deal with the Mexicans pouring over our borders, bringing drugs and crime, not to mention the real terrorists.

This is why I didn't switch parties.

DBK, I agree with you. Stoyer is to Murtha's left by any objective measure. The only reasons I can think of for Murtha to be tarred as the "liberal" candidate are

1) further evidence of the way the Iraq war has queered political categorization, and

2) the fact that he was Pelosi's hand-picked favorite.

I think the people who voted against Murtha largely did so for, again, two reasons

1) to claim the moral high ground on corruption and pork barreling, and

2) to stick it to Pelosi. Bear in mind that many of these people ran for election in districts that forced them to run to Pelosi's right.

Regardless, I'm happy with the outcome.

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