Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hoyer, Clyburn, Pelosi

I just sent an email to Josh Marshall. Why not make it a blog post? BTW, I feel like I absorbed some of the pacing of Josh's writing style (which I like) as I was writing it.
Dear Josh,

I appreciate your coverage of the Hoyer-Clyburn leadership contest. But especially where it concerns potential problems for Pelosi, I think your commentary is making mountains out of molehills.

There's no reason to think that Pelosi is risking anything valuable by tacitly supporting Clyburn. Let's accept the premise that this is Murtha II, as you put it. Did Murtha I actually have any bad consequences? Not as far as I can see. Pelosi worked very well alongside Hoyer this session. Passing health care reform was the acid test for our House leadership. Things went beautifully.

The title of your post, "Don't Strike If You Can't Win" assumes that Pelosi is striking. I'm not sure. My thought is that Pelosi is just doing whatever is consistent with old favors and allegiances. The way Clyburn is acting, it seems that he's the prime mover here. Probably he thought he could win this and leaned on his allies to help out.

I saw the old Murtha-Hoyer fight the same way. Pelosi owed Murtha for taking the lead on Iraq withdrawal. After the election, Murtha thought he had a shot at the Majority Leadership, and he cashed in his chips. Turned out they weren't enough. But looking back, I'm sure Pelosi thinks that successfully repositioning her party on Iraq was worth the cost of backing a loser.
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