Given the lionization of Jack Murtha as a lightning rod for antiwar sentiment in recent months, and the demonization of House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer by people like purge-meister David Sirota, I figured Murtha’s announcement that he would challenge Hoyer for Majority Leader if Dems retake the House would ignite a widespread netroots campaign for the doughty Pennsylvanian.So I was pleased to see a post today at MyDD by Jonathan Singer reminding his colleagues of the right measure for this position:
Regardless of Hoyer’s propensity to diverge from progressive talking points — and indeed votes, at times — he has been more effective in this respect than any other Democrat in the position in recent memory. According to a report by CQ in January, House Democrats were more unified in 2005 than at any other point since the periodical has tracked votes. Likewise, House Democrats more strongly opposed President Bush in 2005 than in any other year….So unless Murtha can prove in some way that he would be more effective than Hoyer in wrangling together the disparate factions of the House Democratic Caucus, I just don’t believe the Democrats would be best served by getting rid of Hoyer, whether they’re in the majority or the minority.
Singer’s exactly right. Hoyer has been an extraordinary Whip; his legacy is a far more united House Caucus than anybody had any reason to expect, and that shouldn’t be an afterthought in determining whether he moves up in a Democratic-controlled House.