Jack Murtha has the votes

I've heard from a couple of different Hill sources that Murtha is ahead; that newly elected Democrats favor Hoyer by a 2:1 margin, but that Murtha is ahead by about 25 votes overall, which has come about from the standing members after Nancy Pelosi's letter. The vote is Thursday. Let's hope that sticks and Murtha becomes the Majority Leader.

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On Murtha and Hoyer

Over the past five days, I've become both more positive on Murtha as majority leader and more convinced that this vote does matter. I can't effectively speak to the politics or the records of both men, and I'm not super-comfortable with our Democratic leaders, as you may have noticed.  But the American people delivered a mandate on Iraq.  And on that issue, Steny Hoyer just has no credibility, whereas Jack Murtha is a voice and a leader.  We owe Murtha as much as anyone for our Democratic majorities.  The public voted for change in Iraq.  Only Jack Murtha represents that change.

At the end of the day, Democrats need clarity on the big stuff, and that means Iraq.  We just have to get that right.  Murtha was wrong at first on the war, but he revised his opinion and wisely used his credibility to change the course of the debate.  He inspired Ned Lamont to come into the race in Connecticut, and that moved us to where we are now.  Steny Hoyer just isn't clear on Iraq.  He has consistently undermined Pelosi on the war, and therefore, he has undermined the country's need for a real and clear debate.  Both men have political methods that I don't feel comfortable with, to say the least, but I believe that Murtha recognizes that business-as-usual has damaged the credibility of Congress.  Though he's a hard-working Democrat, Hoyer seems content with the status quo.  That's an honest disagreement, but it's a big one.

I don't expect Democratic House members to care hugely about what I say.  They know why they won their races, and they have their own consciences and their political calculations.  If Hoyer were Majority Leader, the world wouldn't end.  But if I were voting for a Majority Leader as opposed to scribbling on the internets, I'd vote for Jack Murtha.  I mean, in a lot of ways he's the reason that Democrat in Congress are able to vote for a Majority Leader.

If you feel as I do, that this election was a mandate on honestly dealing with Iraq, then I would encourage you to contact your Democratic member of Congress and encourage a vote for Murtha.

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Why I look forward to the 110th Congress

Currently, i'm reading a book titled Party Wars by Barbara Sinclair. In the book she talks about how the Democrats functioned as a minority party for so long (but no longer), yet kept party unity. This clearly shows the leadership that Nancy Pelosi is capable of displaying. I found this evident in the way the Democrats stood together on that horrible Medicare prescription drug bill in the past.

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CQ on Hastings/Harman

Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for...

A further indication from an apparently nonpartisan source that strife between (very broadly) the mods and the lefties in the Dem House party after its expected win may have already gathered a deal of momentum.

From one of the few bits of the Congressional Quarterly site that is outside the pay wall, Jeff Stein (National Security Editor, no less) takes on the dispute over whether Harman or Hastings should get the HIC chair.

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Pelosi is safe - CBC not so much - in leadership stakes

There's been fair amount of imaginative talk (as here, for instance) based on the Chuck Todd morning line on the Dem leadership-to-be.

Let's leave aside the clearly delusional notion that, under his Scenario II, a narrow Dem House win, the netroots will step forth to champion a Rahmbo bid for the Speakership. (That he put forward the notion might be thought to invalidate everything else he says. But, like I said...)

Shorn of the netroots nonsense, Todd's offering is this:

Will, say, 220 House Democrats stay united and elect Pelosi speaker, or will enough conservative House Democrats break and elect a compromise Democrat as speaker? Even the threat of Democrats peeling off and working in collaboration with the Republicans to do so might be enough to encourage a serious challenge to Pelosi inside the Democratic caucus.

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