Chickens Before they Hatch

I know it's terrible luck, and that we shouldn't take anything for granted, but I can't help looking ahead. If the midterms were held today, the Democrats would most likely take back the House. That would mean that, for the first time in American history, the Speaker of the House would be a woman. It would also mean that the Democrats would have to elect a Majority Leader. The position of Majority Leader, while not always high profile, is of crucial importance. The Majority Leader, along with the Speaker, decide the legislative priorities of the House. So, who should be the Majority Leader?

At this point, there are two candidates: Congressman John Murtha and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Both of these men, if you ask me, have upsides and downsides:

Murtha --> If getting out of Iraq is the most important issue to you, chances are Jack Murtha is your guy. As a decorated veteran and longtime congressional hawk, he has credibility. Also, it's pretty clear that the guy doesn't take any B.S. I wouldn't mind watching Murtha body-slam that creep Boehner on "Meet the Press." The problem with Murtha for me has to do with his position on abortion rights. He consistently gets terrible scores from NARAL, and I'm not sure we should have a Majority Leader who doesn't believe in sticking up for a woman's right to choose. I'm not sure if a Harry Reid comparison is in order here. Certainly, Harry has turned out to be a hell of a leader, but can we count on the same kind of leadership from Murtha? And what kind of message does it send if we choose an anti-choice Leader?

Hoyer --> Oh, boy. Let's start with the downsides. First, Hoyer was complicit in the horrible, immoral bankruptcy bill the GOP pushed through the Congress. Secondly, he's one the biggest porkers in Congress - not exactly the kind of reform message we want to send to America. On the up side, Hoyer has been a hell of a whip. He's unified the Democratic caucus in ways no one thought possible, and has worked well with Pelosi. If discipline is our objective, then Hoyer might be our guy.

The real question is going to be how either one of these men fits into the Democratic strategy for the next two years. No matter which party controls Congress until 2008, nothing is likely to get done. If the Democrats take the House, Bush will veto anything we pass. If the GOP manages to maintain control, they would still have lost too many seats to pass anything. So, what should our objectives be for the next two years, and how do Murtha and Hoyer fit into these objectives?

Tags: 2006, Democrats, House, Hoyer, Murtha (all tags)

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