The WaPo reports that Speaker Presumptive Pelosi is trying to strong arm democrats into voting for Murtha for Majority Leader. Democrats are angered that Pelosi forces are allegedly urging folks who have committed to Hoyer to vote for Murtha, noting “it’s a secret ballot”. Committee appointments
Many are upset that Murtha, with his questionable ethics past, was recently heard demeaning the Democrats legislative ethics package that ultimately he will be in charge of getting passed.
In other news, that Tower of Ethics Charles Rangel (D-NY), fresh from insulting the State of Mississippi, now says his extensive praise for Hoyer in a recent interview was not really an endorsement.
As I noted previously, Pelosi’s support of Murtha speaks highly of her sense of loyalty (or of her hatred of Steny Hoyer). However, the manner by which she has evidenced that support has been ham handed, and will apparently guarantee bad feelings one way or the other. As Robert Novak suggested:
This is a no-win situation for Pelosi. If Murtha wins today, she will be accused of personal vindictiveness in derailing Hoyer, who is more popular in the caucus and better qualified for leadership. If Murtha loses, as is much more probable, she will be seen as bumbling her first attempt to lead the new Democratic majority. Pelosi could have avoided this dilemma by standing aside as Newt Gingrich, then the presumptive speaker, did when he voted for his ally Robert Walker as majority whip but did not ask members to oppose Tom DeLay.Pelosi’s mistake confirms long-standing, privately held Democratic apprehension about her abilities. Such concerns do not reflect the Republican indictment of her as a reflexive San Francisco liberal. Some of her most trenchant congressional critics are on the left wing of the party. These colleagues worry that her decision making may be distorted by personal considerations.
And all this is before you get into the matters of Alcee Hastings and Jane Harman.
Pelosi is a Democrat, but her initial moves seem to be spreading discord and confusion among her troops and could benefit the GOP…which does not speak well in the short term of her ability to lead the congressional party.