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June 10, 2006
Murtha, The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Rep. John Murtha inadvertently provided a rare moment of unity last fall when he demanded an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. House Republicans took him at his word and introduced a bill to that effect, and the measure only gained three votes -- none of them Murtha's, as it turned out. He later complained that the bill misrepresented his position and that he meant to give the Pentagon six months to leave, although even the most precipitous retreat would take nearly that long to organize and execute, given our deployment throughout Iraq.

Now he apparently intends to provide that kind of unity again, among Republicans at least, by throwing his hat into the ring for a key Democratic leadership post -- that doesn't even exist yet:

Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), one of the Democrats' leading antiwar voices, startled his political colleagues yesterday by announcing he would seek a senior leadership position if the Democrats win control of the House in November.

In a letter that he circulated on the floor during a series of votes, Murtha said he is eyeing the No. 2 position. "If we prevail as I hope and know we will and return to the majority this next Congress, I have decided to run for the open seat of the Majority Leader," Murtha wrote.

The presumed favorite for that job had been the current No. 2 House Democrat, Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), with whom Murtha has long had testy relations. Hoyer, like many of his political colleagues, greeted Murtha's announcement with annoyance and exasperation, given that the election remains five months off and a Democratic victory is by no means assured.

Somewhere, somehow ... Karl Rove is behind all of this. I know it!

We have seen a lot of pre-election hubris from the Democrats lately, talking about all of the investigations they want to pursue and the rules they want to change once they take control of the House. What we haven't seen is an election agenda that gives voters any reason to put them in charge. Now we have John Murtha demanding a party war over a position that the Republicans currently hold, threatening to tear the caucus apart while they need to prepare for the upcoming midterms.

Needless to say, this could not come at a worse time for Democrats and a better time for Republicans. The Democrats already face a party split on the war and on domestic policy, one of the reasons why they have yet to put forward any kind of coherent agenda other than gainsaying the GOP. This only underscores the confusion and lack of direction of their caucus. For Republicans, it gives them yet another talking point about the war effort and the necessity of keeping Democratic hands off of it. While Steny Hoyer may be more liberal than Murtha, Hoyer doesn't get the GOP base as restive as Murtha, and expect Republicans to use it for leverage in the midterms.

This reflects poor leadership on the part of Nancy Pelosi, and the same kind of rank opportunism from Murtha that we saw last year. She apparently had no clue that Murtha would attack Hoyer's position, and apparently for personal reasons. Now that Murtha has decided to start undermining Democrats rather than the war effort, one might expect to see his lionization dim somewhat in the coming weeks.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 10, 2006 8:12 AM

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» Murtha Wants to be House Majority Leader from Morning Coffee
From CNN  Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq, announced Friday that he would run for majority leader if the Democrats take over the House in the fall elections. "If we prevail as I hope and know we will, and return to... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 9:56 AM

» I had to laugh from The Real Ugly
Captain Ed also has the biggest laugh line of the day.This reflects poor leadership on the part of Nancy Pelosi, LOL good one Ed! Poor leadership? How about anti leadership. How about superman like bizaro world type leadership? She has been so horrendo... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 12:42 PM

» One Bad Murtha from Whither The Fool?
If this analysis by Clarice Feldman at American Thinker turns out to be a correct assessment of things, then I want to know from the House Republican leadership (and I use that term loosely) what they are going to do to censure and punish Rep. John Mur... [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2006 8:59 PM


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