Nancy Pelosi may have gotten the kid-gloves treatment from the media during the election, but now the gloves are off. Her championing of Murtha for Majority leader (and her simultaneous abandonment of her former deputy, Hoyer) seems to have struck a nerve.
We expected her stand to offend Republicans; that’s not news. But it offended Democrats as well, not to mention Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, previously labeled “…probably the most anti-Bush reporter currently assigned to the White House by a major news organization” by John J. Miller of National Review.
Milbank doesn’t sound all that fond of Pelosi’s track record so far, either; he seems to think this Speaker might do well to do less Speaking and just STFU.
And it’s hard to blame him, or those Democrats who are angry that Pelosi’s misguided boosting of Murtha put a damper on their victory party as well as their party unity. And then there are statements by Pelosi such as the following, made after Murtha’s defeat; it’s almost beyond parody:
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with us. Let the healing begin.”
It’s a noble sentiment, but better suited to the pulpit than the Speaker’s podium. Perhaps she was speaking ironically? At any rate, it appears that nobody’s listening:
For Pelosi, who led Democrats back to a majority in the House after 12 years, yesterday should have been a coronation for the first woman to be speaker. Instead, her party had plunged into fratricide, and cable news was running nonstop clips of Murtha talking with FBI agents posing as sheiks in the Abscam sting.
Was this a great moment for Democrats, or “total crap”? “The latter,” Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider had to admit as she surveyed the melee outside the caucus room.
Personally, I don’t really care if the Democrats unite or not–what I care about is what they accomplish, or fail to accomplish. If they somehow, despite Murtha et al, refuse to cut and run in Iraq, and manage to force the administration into formulating a better plan for dealing with the situation in Iraq here-and-now–that would be a consummation devoutly to be wished. I’m interested in results, not who gets us there.
[NOTE: Why did Pelosi abandon Hoyer, despite his great popularity among fellow Democrats? Perhaps it's because he's too much of a centrist? And see this--those Blue Dog Democrats seem to be up for another Pelosi challenge. I wish them well; Hastings is a lousy choice, but Pelosi appears determined to strong-arm her candidates into place over the objections of many, rather than having learned the lesson of the Murtha defeat. "Peace on earth" indeed.]
[ADDENDUM: I mentioned the Pelosi-bashing in the Post; Tigerhawk notices something similar at the Times.]
[ADDENDUM II: It occurs to me that this honeymoon was so short and unsweet that some Democrats might prefer an annulment.]