Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hoyer vs. Murhta: Dem Decision

The time for Democrats to pick their House leaders is drawing near. It's today, in fact. This is a big test for the continuation of Dem unity in the House. Tough tactics by Murtha supporters in the Nancy Pelosi camp have already created a rift in the party.

One conservative Democrat said that a Murtha-Pelosi ally approached him on the House floor and said pointedly: "I hope you like your committee assignment, because it's the only one you're going to get."

In a phone call initiated by Murtha that same day, the lawmaker told the longtime politician that he had already signed a letter of support for Hoyer. The congressman said he was stunned when Murtha told him, "Letters don't mean anything."

Hoyer's supporters complained about such tactics.

Liberals are clamoring for Murtha, even though he is conservative on everything other than Iraq and is embroiled in a burgeoning corruption scandal. But Murtha's a loyal fiend of Pelosi, so he gets her strong-armed backing. That sounds a bit too Republican, no?

It's a decision that will basically solidify the direction of the Dems for the next two years. Division is expected. But will voters see this as a bad start for the party that they viewed as (somewhat) above the fray of this GOP-style bickering?


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