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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

Hoyer Elected Majority Leader

Not quite as self-destructive for the Democratic Party asMurtha would have been, but Pelosi is severely weakened by this.

What a dumb move on her part.

Update: The vote was 149-86. Ouch.


There's some leadership from their new Speaker. Yikes. So much for the electoral honeymoon. They've been off their message for four days, and Murtha's serious ethical problems splashed muck all over their "reform" party image. And now, Pelosi and Hoyer are going to have to work together. This is gonna be fabulous. Way to go, Nance!

Steny's edge:

His success was aided by his record of campaigning in 82 districts this past election season, winning support ahead of time from both moderate and liberal members of the party and earning the backing of many of the 29 new Democratic House members.

Background on the Pelosi/Hoyer rift. He's a centrist (dirty word!):

Since entering Congress in 1981, Hoyer has forged an identity as a centrist, particularly on foreign-policy issues, that has helped make him the leadership’s unofficial liaison to the Blue Dog Democrats—a group of the caucus’s more conservative members—but has at times created tension with the more liberal Pelosi. On the day last December that she publicly backed a call from Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) for withdrawal from Iraq, Hoyer released a statement declaring that such a policy “could lead to disaster.” And earlier that year, he angered the leader by supporting a bill being pushed by the credit-card industry designed to make it harder for people to declare bankruptcy.

The Kos Kops don't like that much at all:

This conservatism has not won him friends among liberal bloggers—who argue that Democrats should have the courage of their convictions on basic issues of war and peace and economic fairness. But if Democrats do indeed retake power next year, keeping the party united will be crucial to many of the tasks that they’ll confront—from working to fix disastrous Republican legislation to conducting the vigorous oversight of the Bush administration that has been all but non-existent over the last six years. Because many of the House’s more conservative Democrats—not to mention its Republicans—simply trust Hoyer more than they do Pelosi, he stands to play a crucial role in holding the often fractious party together, and in working with the GOP, where possible, to pass legislation and hold the president accountable.

But right now, they seem to be taking it okay. A lot of calls for moving on and coming together, fewer of the "Murtha was punished for being out of line on Iraq! Hoyer loves Bushitler!" comments.

But they do remain upset about these comments from Hoyer:

After the first of four recent speeches by President Bush on Iraq, I stated that a precipitous withdrawal of American forces from that country could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists, and damaging our nation’s security and credibility. I still believe that we can – and we must – achieve success in Iraq. Of course, we have succeeded in the initially stated objective of removing the Hussein regime, and providing a context in which a democratically-elected government could be put in place. Its ability to sustain itself is our last objective.


Hoyer's not perfect (remember the "slavish" comment?) but if the Dems had elected such a comparatively sensible guy without first trying to undercut him with a Murtha nomination, they'd have been much better off, much closer to acting like the reasonable Democrats Rahm Emanuel and the Blue Dog Dems gave the Dems the chance to be. So much for that.

Update: Fantabulous photo!



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