It didn’t take long for Nancy Pelosi to suffer her first setback as Speaker-elect. Steny Hoyer has held off the challenge of John Murtha and will be the House majority leader in the next Congress. The vote was not close. Hoyer’s margin was 149-86.
This is a good result. Hoyer, who represents a Maryland district not far from where I live, is a pretty sensible guy and a friend of Israel. Murtha is the leader of the hard-defeatist wing of the congressional Democrats and an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Abscam case.
It’s difficult for me to say whether this result means that non-leftist Democrats will have much of a say in the House. Murtha’s poor performance may have had more to do with the taint of corruption, Hoyer’s tireless campaigning for congressional candidates this year, and Hoyer’s status in the old-boy network than with ideology. Moreover, the race was probably a mixed-bag ideologically if one factors in domestic issues.
In any case, it’s interesting to compare the two sets of nominators in today’s contest. Murtha was nominated by Nancy Pelosi, Loretta Sanchez (a lightweight who once tried to throw a fundraiser at the Playboy mansion), Kendrick Meek (a self-styled populist who “inherited” his seat from his mother, and once staged a sit-in in Jeb Bush’s office in defense of racial preferences), and wild Dennis Kucinich. Hoyer was nominated by Henry Waxman, Elijah Cummings, Dennis Cardoza, and Brad Ellsworth, a freshman from a normally Republican district in Indiana.
Via Power Line News.
JOHN adds: The Democrats stepped back from the cliff on this one. Two years of Jack Murtha as a visible symbol of Congressional Dems would have gone a long way toward regaining the majority in 2008.
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