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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Hoyer Cruises Past Murtha

So, House Democrats voted today, and elected Steny Hoyer Majority Leader over John Murtha by a big 149-86 margin. I´m happy with that result, and not terribly surprised, given the dues Hoyer has paid, the broad support he had across the usual factional lines, and various issues raised by Murtha´s non-Iraq voting record over the years.Nor am I surprised that the Washington Post reported the vote as a big setback for Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi. I still don´t understand Pelosi´s reasoning in publicly endorsing Murtha, attributing the entire election victory to Murtha, as she did, was weird, as was her suggestion that his election as Leader would magically end the war in Iraq.Whatever the impact of this result on the internal dynamics of the caucus, I don´t think this should be interpreted as some sort of ideological Gotterdamerung among Democrats. Sure, a lot of progressive blogospheric types basically endorsed Murtha or said negative things about Hoyer. But they sure didn´t go to the mats on this (beyond the predictably shrill David Sirota), and have quickly moved on to other topics. I don´t know if this was just a matter of counting votes more accurately than Pelosi, or a sign that many threatened post-election intraparty fights just ain´t happening.

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