Congress, Democratic Party, Iraq War, Republican Party

The headline news this morning is that Nancy Pelosi has endorsed John Murtha to become House Majority Leader. John Bresnahan writes for Roll Call:

Pelosi, in a letter distributed Sunday to newly elected House Democrats, wrote that Murtha’s outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq helped change the electoral campaign for the House this fall. Murtha began calling for a U.S. pullout from Iraq a year ago, and his open opposition to the war made him a focus of intense criticism from Republicans and the White House.

Pelosi, though, credited Murtha, one of her closest allies in the House, with changing the national debate on the issue and helping provide Democratic challengers and incumbents with a winning argument for the mid-term elections.

“With respect to Iraq in particular, I salute your courageous leadership that changed the national debate and helped make Iraq the central issue of this historic election,” Pelosi wrote in a personal letter to Murtha. “Your leadership gave so many Americans, including respected military leaders, the encouragement to voice their own disapproval at a failed policy that weakens our military and makes stability in that region even more difficult to achieve. The enthusiastic response of Americans all across this nation gave an enormous lift to our Democratic efforts, and your unsurpassed personal solicitations produced millions of dollars which were new to the effort. Those resources made a huge difference and particularly for the candidates on whose behalf you campaigned.”

Pelosi added: “Your strong voice for national security, the war on terror and Iraq provides genuine leadership for our party, and I count on you to continue to lead on these vital issues. For this and for all you have done for Democrats in the past and especially this last year, I am pleased to support your candidacy for Majority Leader for the 110th Congress.”

The current Democratic leader in the House is Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has a strong base of support. Pelosi’s endorsement may not give the position to Murtha.

Predictably, some rightie bloggers seized on this news as an omen of the inevitable (they think) Democratic Party crackup. The Blue Crab, for example, writes that Dems are being disloyal to Hoyer; Pelosi “slid the shiv right into Hoyer’s back,” which shows what kind of people Democrats are. Commenter Crosspatch says,

Personally, I believe putting Jack Murtha as majority leader pretty much dooms the Dems in 08. Murtha is not at all popular with moderates and the Dems are going to need all the moderates they are going to get. So I would say overall, this is good news for the Republicans. Democrats shooting themselves in the foot is always a good thing.

The problem with Crosspatch’s analysis is that he seems to have hauled it out of his ass. If by “moderate” he means “almost one of us,” as I suspect he does, he should read Matt Yglesias’s analysis. Murtha tends to be to the right of Hoyer on most issues, Matt says. Ed Kilgore complains that Murtha has “actually been a bit to the right of Jimmy Dean Sausage on a host of issues over the years.”

On the other hand, according to a blogger at One America:

Murtha supports stem-cell research and is staunchly pro-labor, opposing both NAFTA and CAFTA. I realize Mr. Hoyer is a good and decent man who has paid his dues and is probably friendly and acceptable to corporate America. But as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid move the Congress forward in the post-DeLay/post-Abramoff era and endeavor to “drain the swamp” and implement true reforms, I would like the Democratic Party to choose a Majority Leader who appears “more pure” and “less corporate.” Jack Murtha exudes down-to-earth true-blue red-blooded American values and that’s who I want in a leadership position right now.

If you’ve got the stomach to visit Wizbang (I suggest waiting for at least an hour after breakfast), you can find a link roundup of rightie reaction. The blogger writes,

… we can expect the policy of cut and run very soon as the House cuts off funding for the war.

As the Democrats reveal their true colors, will the American voters begin to experience buyer’s remorse? I say bring on Murtha. If he, Nancy, and the other left wing loons get their way, they will have a hard time retaining control of the House in 2008.

Um, did these people sleep through the midterms? Did they not notice that a majority of voters want the Dems to get us out of Iraq?

And what happened to that chocolate chip corndog product that Jimmy Dean brought out a few weeks ago? I can’t find it on their web site. [Update: Never mind; I found it.]

As for loyalty — like voters care — Bob “the Reptile” Novak complains that Republicans take it a bit too far —

In private conversation, Republican members of Congress blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their midterm election debacle. Yet either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday. For good reason, the GOP often is called “the stupid party.”

Dontcha love it when the bad guys keep diggin’ that hole?

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  1. Doug Hughes  •  Nov 13, 2006 @9:17 am

    While some of the commentary – TV and blogging – from the right resembles the thrashing of a doomed fish that’s been hauled into the boat, a lot of it is CALCULATED. What do they want? Or what don’t they want? They don’t want moderate voters, including Republicans, to say. OK, let’s give them a chance and see how they do, cause we sure fucked up. This is spin – designed to enrage the rightie voters about things we have not done and will NOT do, in all probability. Maha hit the right tone in her response. We need to ask the righties – each in our own way – what planet are you from? And encourage ALL our representatives to govern from the center for a while. We got too much serious stuff to resolve first.

  2. Swami  •  Nov 13, 2006 @9:27 am

    It’s the first that I’ve heard about the chocolate chip corn dogs. But I think Bush is getting that long talked about intervention he so badly needed. Tough love?

  3. norbizness  •  Nov 13, 2006 @10:12 am

    Trying to inject reason into perpetually frightened, leaning-authoritarian websites is like trying to explain nuclear physics to a Russian teddy bear hamster. Well, harder than that, actually.

  4. k  •  Nov 13, 2006 @10:30 am

    Gas is up . Last week $1.949 and today $2.099. who will the new commerce committee head be?

  5. Patrick  •  Nov 13, 2006 @1:02 pm

    One thing that the Dems have to be really careful about doing is politely offering suggestions of stategy and policy to the White House but meanwhile, make it very clear to the American public that this is GWB’s mess to clean up. The last thing the Dems need is to be seen to have any reponsibility for this fiasco whatsoever. Let it be as it should be, the millstone around the administration’s neck.

  6. Publicus  •  Nov 13, 2006 @2:14 pm

    For those on the Right (sic) who need it in plain english:
    The voters decided: war bad, Murtha good

  7. Doug Hughes  •  Nov 13, 2006 @8:32 pm

    I seem to remeber more than one wingnut who posted on this site that according to principles of democracy we (Dems and Liberals) have an obligation post-election to shut up and support the popular will of the people. I presume they still stand by that.

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