Pelosi on Hoyer/Murtha: too clever by half?
by skeptic06, Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 01:50:53 PM EST
There's not much here that makes much sense, to my little brain, at least - (figurative) square brackets all over the place.
We know about the Hoyer-Pelosi bad blood from the Whip contest in 2001 (and before, I suspect); and his open contempt for her shown during the bankruptcy bill brouhaha.
And that Murtha and Pelosi are close (since when?); his rather operatic announcement in June of his candidacy seemed choreographed from Pelosi's office.
What doesn't seem to make much sense from her viewpoint is nailing her colors so dramatically to Murtha's mast as she has by issuing the famous letter.
If she's sure her boy has the votes, he doesn't need her to drive home the fact that he is her boy.
If she fears it might be close, so he actually needs her to use her capital on his behalf, there must be a good chance that he'll lose. Which, after such an expenditure of capital, would clearly be a terribly start to her term of office.
Meanwhile, it's not too wild a leap to infer from such actions a personal obsession taking up time and attention that more sensibly would be devoted to matters more beneficial to the party.
(Ensuring that all the details of the promised 100 hour legislative blitzkrieg are honed to perfection, for instance.)
Plus - what exactly is the political upside she's shooting for?
Suppose she has an accurate whip count which puts Murtha miles in front; she needs to call in few favors, he sails to victory, it's a tribute to her party management skills.
What happens to Hoyer? Does he slide down the snake and get nothing out of the glorious victory of Nov 7?
How are his fellow mods supposed to react to that? (Especially if Harman is kicked off the HIC in favor of the odious Hastings.)
Isn't this most likely to exacerbate their general sense of grievance at their slim patronage pickings, and turn a vague and undirected sense of malaise into a desire for something approximating an organized caucus in opposition to Pelosi's rule?
Now, if she were sure that Hoyer would organize such an opposition caucus in any case, well, then she'd be right to deny him a position (of Leader) from which he could do so with maximum harm to the Dem House party.
But I just don't believe (lacking any evidence in support) that Pelosi had any justification for supposing that Hoyer has any such plan - at least, not before she gushed her billet doux to Murtha!
Failing such evidence of such a conspiracy being planned by Hoyer, I can't see how the gamble Pelosi is making with her own, and the party's, credibility before the 110th House has even been convened can be worthwhile.
Update [2006-11-13 19:57:41 by skeptic06]:
I've seen it suggested that boosting Murtha - with that glowing testimonial on Iraq - is a token of appreciation to the anti-war section of Dem supporters - on the strength of his Iraq pullout res, rather than his vote in favor of the original authorization res, natch!
I sense desperation - in the explanation, if not in the action: those who know about Murtha and his futile res are a small minority of geeks, whose ya-ya quotient can easily be boosted more constructively.
(Actually passing a minimum wage bill without GOP poison pills included would rejoice the geeks no end.)
And - although Hoyer is hardly a lefty sphere favorite, I haven't got the sense of any Joe-style movement to kick him out of the leadership.
The point - you doubted there was one? - is that, if the Murtha/Hoyer fight is merely for the tourists, Dem reps would presumably be told that the gushing letter was part of the charade: to put a bit of pep into two old guys trying to gum each other to death.
If a charade, and recognized as such by the reps, clearly the risk of exacerbating internal differences could be discounted. (Though the Hoyerites would have the option of putting Pelosi on the spot if things got out of hand: surely she wouldn't want to own up to having tried to dupe loyal supporters with a cheap gimmick?)
I just don't see it. We don't have much in the way of facts right now. But I think I'd need more, and more solid, facts to persuade me of a charade than to persuade me that, indeed, the Lioness has chosen to start what might turn into a long-running conflict before her reign as Queen of the Jungle has even begin.