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Speaker Pelosi?
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nancy Pelosi isn't even Speaker of the House yet, and she's already leading congressional Democrats into a dead end.

First, it's difficult to spin John Murtha's loss in the Majority Leader's race as anything other than a loss for Ms. Pelosi as well. Not only did she publicly endorse Mr. Murtha, she apparently tried to do a little subtle arm-twisting on freshman members, by calling them inter her officer, asking them about their support for Mr. Murtha, then inquiring what committee assignments they preferred. Apparently, that was a little too subtle, since the Murtha-Hoyer vote wasn't even close.

Second, Ms. Pelosi's personal vendetta against Jane Harman has continued to the point where Harman is essentially out as chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Her replacement, unfortunately, is Alcee Hastings, who, as a Federal Judge was so crooked he required a brace of clerks to help him screw his robes on every morning. Indeed, he was so corrupt, even a Democratic-majority congress impeached him, and booted him off the federal bench.

So, if your big selling point for your party is how effectively it will deal with congressional corruption, putting the only living Federal judge to be removed from the bench for corruption in charge of the Intelligence Committee would seem to detract from the seriousness of that argument. This is especially so when you couple that with her attempt to get John "Unindicted Co-Conspirator" Murtha the #2 job.

In addition, there are the Blue Dog Democrats—of which the LA Times estimates make up 44 House seats. They are already clamoring for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. They are not nearly as amenable to Ms. Pelosi's stylish, San Francisco liberalism as other members of the caucus are.

In less than two weeks since the election, Ms. Pelosi's leadership of the Democratic caucus has been fraught with missteps. Yet, after touting her as the first female Speaker of the House, Democrats are naturally loathe to dump her.

But the election of a speaker requires a vote of the entire House. It is not a position the Caucus controls, like Whip or majority leader. And that position won't be voted on until the new Congress convenes. If Ms. Pelosi continues to make missteps prior to that, one has to wonder if she will, in fact, be able to win that election, or if, with Republican and Blue-Dog Democrats voting together, Steny Hoyer might find himself Speaker.

So far, though, Ms. Pelosi's post-election leadership has been uninspiring. Perhaps todays defeat of Mr. Murtha will teach her a lesson that she can use to her advantage between now and January.
 
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She’s looking good to the media, these internal things are squabbles that are meaningless, especially to the broad public. Most of this doesn’t even register to the average voter. After all, Newt’s choice in 1994 for Majority Leader was rejected. The question of who is in charge of the Intelligence Committee is completely irrelevant to the political game, and probably to overall policy.

This is noise, the kind of things people who follow politics really closely tend to take far more seriously than need be.

The idea that somehow there will be a revolt against Pelosi is simply beyond the realm of possibility. Not only did she win her vote today unanimously, but her ability to gracefully (and with profuse praise from Hoyer) deal with not getting her choice as majority leader is indicative of where the party is at.

There will be a challenge though — she’ll have to guide a party that has a strong conservative/moderate core. If she has (and I think she does) the sense of power and pragmatism to understand that politics is the art of the possible, she’ll set her party up for a solid performance in 2008. I suspect that right now she’s benefiting from the one thing that benefits so many politicians: the opposition underestimates her.

In 2008 we’ll have a much better sense on what kind of leader she is.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If Ms. Pelosi continues to make missteps prior to that, one has to wonder if she will, in fact, be able to win that election, or if, with Republican and Blue-Dog Democrats voting together, Steny Hoyer might find himself Speaker.

From a strictly political perspective, it would probably be to the Republicans’ advantage to keep Pelosi in charge of the House Democrats for as long as possible.

In the post-9/11 era, however, the country really cannot afford to have someone like Alcee Hastings running the Intelligence Committee.

BTW, here is the quote of the day, from Arianna Huffington:


And don’t shed any tears for Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi. Even though her guy lost, this was still a big win for her.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
First, it’s difficult to spin John Murtha’s loss in the Majority Leader’s race as anything other than a loss for Ms. Pelosi as well.
I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit today. The only conclusion I’ve been able to draw is that she was attempting to placate the far left over own party. She likely knew full well that Hoyer would be elected. But, if she had gone directly for Steny Hoyer, intentionally bypassing John Murtha, she’d have had a full blown revolt on her hands... a full split of the Democratic party.... Given the 5050 split of the voting of late, and historical trends involving, I think we all can all see the ramifications of that.

To back that idea I point to her statements in the press conference announcing the election of Mr. Hoyer, where she was still throwing olive branches to the far left, screaming about the war.


Of course all of this believes aside the issues of corruption. I was laughing for a good chunk of the day over the concept of Murtha... someone caught on tape with his hands up to his elbows in the cookie jar, talking about ethics legislation as ’crap’. And this criminal being offered up as leadership material, by the very same person offering this supposed ethics legislation.

Add Hastings, and the other more recent corruption to the old time standbys of Kennedy, Kerry and so on, and it’s going to be an amazing two years, if we can just get the press to notice this stuff. That may be a fruitless hope, given they’ve never really noticed it before.





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Most of this doesn’t even register to the average voter. After all, Newt’s choice in 1994 for Majority Leader was rejected.

Something significant happened between 1994 and 2006: America went on-line. I believe that the internet has changed American politics (mostly for the worst), and these things are finding their way into the consciousness of the average voter now.

In any case, it doesn’t seem logically consistent for liberals to campaign on a message of cleaning up corruption, based on a conviction that voters would hear such a message and respond to it, and then, upon winning, immediately begin trying to put corrupt people in positions of great responsibility based on a conviction that those same voters will not notice or care.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
"with Republican and Blue-Dog Democrats voting together, Steny Hoyer might find himself Speaker"

Wouldn’t that be something. Proof that bi-partisanship is possible, at the expense of someone who has been crowing that that is what is needed.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
If she has (and I think she does) the sense of power and pragmatism to understand that politics is the art of the possible...
And that’s why she so strenuously backed a guy that barely got 1/3 of the vote for second chair.
Sorry Scott, but not only do us rabid-fascist-righties have an idea, but her own party does as well. She cant win - if she puts Hastings as House Intel Chair, she loses the middle, if she doesn’t, she loses the left.

Botox injections only give the appearance of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...
/gratuitous slam
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
And that’s why she so strenuously backed a guy that barely got 1/3 of the vote for second chair.
Newt didn’t get his choice in 1994 for Majority Leader. Who remembers that? This doesn’t even register for most people, and will quickly be forgotten — how many remember Newt’s loss 12 years ago? Ideological wishful thinking got many to think the Republicans would hold the majority in the election, to believe until only recently that Iraq was going fine, and now to have fantasies about Pelosi somehow losing out and not becoming speaker.

It’s hard not to view reality through ones’ ideological prism, but necessary to really assess what’s going on.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The question of who is in charge of the Intelligence Committee is completely irrelevant to the political game, and probably to overall policy.
Political game:

Hastings was impeached by a Congress controlled by his own party. That may not be scientific proof of corruption, but it is the closest thing to it in the political realm. To elevate a man who is known to be corrupt to one of the most important positions in the House, immediately after running on a campaign promising to clean up corruption smacks of hypocrisy. You are fooling yourself if you think no one is paying attention: even the liberal Los Angeles Times editorial board is complaining.

Overall policy:

The ethical issue is only half of the problem with Hastings. To replace a respected and knowledgeable Intelligence Chairman with someone who is not (as) qualified based on pay-back, personality, and racial politics shows a stunning blindness to the scope of the threats that this nation currently faces.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Newt didn’t get his choice in 1994 for Majority Leader. Who remembers that? This doesn’t even register for most people, and will quickly be forgotten — how many remember Newt’s loss 12 years ago
About half the posters on blogs the world over if my latest comment reading is any indication. While I agree with your premise (Pelosi will be the speaker), your willful ignoring of how bad this and the Hastings thing makes Pelosi look to moderates who follow blogs bodes poorly for the Dems.

In addition, while the Murtha thing was a win for the Dems vs the Repubs (and moderates everywhere), reading the comments at DK makes it a big loss for Pelosi and the Dems in the nutroots. Apparently to the nutroots, being an occasional Repub sympathizer is worse than being corrupt. Color me surprised.
 
Written By: Ken
URL: http://
The question of who is in charge of the Intelligence Committee is completely irrelevant to the political game, and probably to overall policy.

This is noise, the kind of things people who follow politics really closely tend to take far more seriously than need be.
Address the facts here Scott - the guy was impeached from the bench. And now you want to put him in charge of Intelligence? While we are at war?
Newt didn’t get his choice in 1994 for Majority Leader. Who remembers that?
I don’t remember much from 94 as it is 12 years removed. But in 95 and 96 I knew what was going on. And people will remember what happened this week next year, and to Aldo’s point, with everyone wired in and turned on, it is much easier to have a long memory these days. Trust me, this will be bounced around enough over the next two years that it will not be forgotten.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Newt didn’t get his choice in 1994 for Majority Leader. Who remembers that?
We don’t remember it now, but it’s irrelevant what we remember now. Congress doesn’t operate in the ’yesterday’ historical might-have-been mode, it operates in the present. She didn’t get her choice in the present, and it affects her power base in the present and the future.
Pelosi isn’t nearly Newt Gingrich calibre either.

How history handles it, or remembers that Murtha didn’t get the job matters not one whit. What it’ll remember is whether or not Hoyer did a good job.
In the present though, Pelosi has already been dinged and she’s not even in charge yet.
And shouting Jack Murtha isn’t going to go quietly, despite his protestations to the contrary.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
with Republican and Blue-Dog Democrats voting together, Steny Hoyer might find himself Speaker
Why would the GOP want that? I’m pretty sure the GOP wants Pelosi in that position- she mistake prone and ultra liberal.

Why would the GOP help elect someone who would ostensibly be better for the Dems?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’m with Shark - I think the Rep’s might be smart enough to let Nancy hang on her own hook to see how much damage she does before the election in 2008.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It’s hard not to view reality through ones’ ideological prism, but necessary to really assess what’s going on.
It has been reported (roll call I think) that one member of the Democrat caucus called Pelosi’s pushing of Col. Murtha "colossally stupid." It has been reported that Pelosi tried intimidating the freshman into supporting her choice. I’d hardly call that a distortive prism.

As for Newt, your right, I don’t remember what happened in 94, but until you show me that the person Gingrich was pushing for whip was as antithetical to the Contract with America as Murtha is to cleaning house of graft, your comparison holds no water.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
"Newt didn’t get his choice in 1994 for Majority Leader. Who remembers that?" Not to nitpick, but it was Majority Whip. At any rate, the critical difference is that he didn’t make a huge public display out of it, didn’t twist arms, threaten committee spots, and then get rejected by 2/3 of the Congress on the first vote of his speakership. And he didn’t back a guy who was an unindicted co-conspirator in a bribery scandal who recently dismissed ethics reform as "total crap" (and who voted against Dem ethics reform in the previous congress). If you step back from your partisanship for a moment and take a look at this, I don’t see how you can have anything but a WTF? reaction to it. As a party leader, you have to pick wise battles, and Pelosi isn’t off to a stunning start there. That’s the importance of the story. Maybe she’ll learn from it and have a long, happy tenure as Speaker. But I’m not sure that’s where the smart money is here.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
"Newt didn’t get his choice in 1994 for Majority Leader. Who remembers that?" Not to nitpick, but it was Majority Whip. At any rate, the critical difference is that he didn’t make a huge public display out of it, didn’t twist arms, threaten committee spots, and then get rejected by 2/3 of the Congress on the first vote of his speakership. And he didn’t back a guy who was an unindicted co-conspirator in a bribery scandal who recently dismissed ethics reform as "total crap" (and who voted against Dem ethics reform in the previous congress). If you step back from your partisanship for a moment and take a look at this, I don’t see how you can have anything but a WTF? reaction to it. As a party leader, you have to pick wise battles, and Pelosi isn’t off to a stunning start there. That’s the importance of the story. Maybe she’ll learn from it and have a long, happy tenure as Speaker. But I’m not sure that’s where the smart money is here.
Fair enough. I just don’t think this endangers her effort to become Speaker at all, nor is it noticed by anyone other than those really paying attention to politics. I also don’t think this kind of thing will be on anyone’s radar screen in 2008. But if it becomes a pattern of missteps and misjudgements by Pelosi, then that will yield greater and more damaging errors in the next two years. I tend to think she’s too smart for that, but I may be wrong.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I just don’t think this endangers her effort to become Speaker at all,"

Certainly agreed.

"nor is it noticed by anyone other than those really paying attention to politics. I also don’t think this kind of thing will be on anyone’s radar screen in 2008."

Agreed to some extent. Those really paying attention to politics are very important, and politicians have long memories. If things go south for the Dems, a lot of people are going to look back at this as a critical moment. If things go well, though, no one will mention this.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
I also don’t think this kind of thing will be on anyone’s radar screen in 2008.
Its not about 2008, it’s about how effective Speaker Pelosi will be now.
But if it becomes a pattern of missteps and misjudgements by Pelosi, then that will yield greater and more damaging errors in the next two years.
Absolutely, and her very first attempt to lead congress was deemed, by some, a colossal failure. First impressions and all. The next test is Chair of House Intel. I’d guess that the Dem Caucus will now be a bit more cautious in following Pelosi’s lead - and that’s not good for a leader.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://

 
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