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Thursday, November 16, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Pelosi Denied Her Wish

The Democrats have finally executed a sensible move since the election. This comes from Breitbart, and the proposed new speaker has suffered her first defeat--handed to her by her own party:

Democrats picked Rep. Steny Hoyer to be House majority leader on Thursday, spurning Rep. Nancy Pelosi's handpicked choice moments after unanimously backing her election as speaker when Congress convenes in January.

A Marylander and 25-year veteran of Congress, Hoyer defeated Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania in a vote of 149-86.

His election to the No. 2 job came just a short time after the Democratic caucus put Pelosi in line to become the first woman to be speaker, a position which is second in line of succession to the presidency. It marked a personal triumph for Hoyer.

Earlier, an ebullient Pelosi declared: "We made history and now we will make progress for the American people."

In remarks after being chosen for speaker, the Californian vowed that after 12 years in the minority, "we will not be dazzled by money and special interests." Pelosi also called for unity in the party, but within moments she put her prestige on the line by nominating Murtha.

Murtha, a Pennsylvanian, is a powerful lawmaker on defense matters, and he gained national prominence last year when he called an end to U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

He and Pelosi have long been close, and when Pelosi issued a statement supporting Murtha on Sunday night, it raised the stakes in a leadership election within a party that is taking control of the House in January for the first time in a dozen years.

Pelosi and Hoyer have long had a difficult relationship. The two ran against each other in a leadership race several years ago. Pelosi won, but Hoyer rebounded more than a year later when he was elected the party's whip.

Hoyer, 67, is a veteran of 25 years in Congress.

His margin of victory reflected a pre-election strategy in which he showcased support from moderates, veteran lawmakers in line to become committee chairmen and more than half of the incoming freshman class _ the majority-makers whose victories on Election Day gave the party control of the House.

The intraparty battle had preoccupied Democrats, overshadowing Pelosi's promotion to speaker _ a position that is second in line of succession to the presidency.

Hoyer is who we were hoping would get the post. Not because we wouldn't like to see the fight that would occur, but because it sends a message that the Democrats WANT to moderate themselves. Those in the House understand that going hard left would cost them dearly in 2008. On top of that, as the story notes, Hoyer and Pelosi don't exactly get along too well. The question of whether or not Hoyer can get them to stay on track, and tack to the middle--where most of their base resides on the ideological scale--will be a chore. He has Conyers who wants hearings up the wazoo on the administration, Rangel talking about examining the tax cuts, and Pelosi talking about a national health care system, a minimum wage increase, and everyone else talking about bolting from Iraq.

He's got a lot of work to do, and hopefully this is the signal that America was waiting for. With so many conservative (read: moderate) Democrats that were elected last week coming into the House, a hard left agenda won't fly. They won't support it. In the end, that fight could tear the party apart, and those members would find themselves in the cold just as quickly as Joe Lieberman did.

Yesterday, the Republicans elected Trent Lott to the whip position in the Senate, and while we're not too happy with that (he did attack PorkBusters for their oversight on Congressional spending) he does know the rules and procedures quite well, and should compliment Mithc McConnell when he's elected the new minority leader in the Senate. The house election should be coming up within the next few days. Please, head over to NZ Bear's site and view the commentary, transcripts, and answers from those running for the positions in the House. Bloggers are vetting the snot out of these people, and believe me when I say they're not leaving a single stone unturned.

A quick up date on that election shows that Joe Barton has withdrawn from the race, leaving John Boehner and Mike Pence alone for the minority leader's spot. We're pulling for Mike Pence, and for the whiop's position, no one would be better than John Shadegg. The conference chair spot we're hoping will go to Marsha Blackburn.

In addition to the above, Allah over at Hot Air has some updates including these items:

How high were the stakes? The New York Observer’s Politicker blog posted this before the vote:

The damage could be significant if she loses. Forget the public relations angle - this is a woman who has had a remarkably strong hold on the Democratic Caucus, despite the best efforts of her foes (internal and external) to undermine her. But this looks very petty and very personal– a grudge being carried out against a man, Hoyer, who Pelosi simply doesn’t trust and doesn’t like. And that could weaken her support structure within the Democratic caucus, whose ranks she has now divided just days after their stunning win at the polls…

[I]f she does pull out a win for Murtha this morning, she will take the Speaker’s gavel with unparalleled and unquestioned power, the strongest Speaker the House has seen in years. And she’ll have delivered one final, lasting blow to Hoyer - the man she first met 40-something years ago, when they both interned for Maryland Senator Daniel Brewster.

That strength the Politicker blog was predicting had she gotten her way is gone. She will now face off against Hoyer when the agenda comes into question. In fact, Allah notes that Hoyer stated his opposition to Murtha's idiotic call for withdrawal almost a year ago in a WaPo story:

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a statement Wednesday that was in marked contrast to Pelosi’s. “I believe that a precipitous withdrawal of American forces in Iraq could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists and damaging our nation’s security and credibility,” he said.

On the heels of the generals warning against such a move yesterday, it's obvious to see that the Democrats will have to work up a new strategy for Iraq. Possibly something like what the president is pushing now which is an increase of troop strength, and a literal push against the terrorists there. Personally, I think the president saw that this could prove to be fatal if he didn't do something other than giving in and letting the Democrats kill the mission in Iraq.

One thing's for certain--the sparks are about to fly in the House now that Seny Hoyer's the new majority leader. And I hope Speaker Pelosi realizes that she's in for a long, hard ride the next two years.

Publius II


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