[Marxism] Whither Iraq, whither the Democrats #2
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 16 11:36:19 MST 2006
Dems pick Hoyer as majority leader
Lawmakers select him over Speaker Pelosi ally Rep. John Murtha
The Associated Press
Updated: 12:27 p.m. ET Nov 16, 2006
WASHINGTON - House Democrats on Thursday chose Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to
be House majority leader over Rep. John Murtha, the choice of Rep. Nancy
Pelosi, in line to become speaker.
Hoyer was elected on a vote of 149-86.
The balloting marked a personal triumph for him, but also a snub to Pelosi,
moments after the rank and file selected her unanimously to become speaker
when the House convenes in January.
We made history and now we will make progress for the American people,
Pelosi told the party caucus moments after her selection.
She vowed that after 12 years in the minority, we will not be dazzled by
money and special interests.
Pelosi also called for unity in the party, but within moments she put her
prestige on the line by nominating Murtha for majority leader.
Murtha is powerful lawmaker on defense matters, and he gained national
prominence last year when he called an end to U.S. military involvement in
He and Pelosi have long been close, and when Pelosi issued a statement
supporting Murtha on Sunday night, it raised the stakes in a leadership
election within a party that is taking control of the House in January for
the first time in a dozen years.
Pelosi and Hoyer have long had a difficult relationship. The two ran
against each other in a leadership race several years ago. Pelosi won, but
Hoyer rebounded more than a year later when he was elected the partys whip.
The intraparty battle had preoccupied Democrats, overshadowing Pelosis
promotion to speaker a position that is second in line of succession to
Many Democrats were dismayed that the family feud had broken out in the
first place and objected to heavy pressure placed on longstanding Hoyer
Democrats Fear Backlash at Polls for Antiwar Remarks
By Jim VandeHei and Shalaigh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 7, 2005; A01
Strong antiwar comments in recent days by House Minority Leader Nancy
Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have opened
anew a party rift over Iraq, with some lawmakers warning that the leaders'
rhetorical blasts could harm efforts to win control of Congress next year.
Several Democrats joined President Bush yesterday in rebuking Dean's
declaration to a San Antonio radio station Monday that "the idea that we're
going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."
The critics said that comment could reinforce popular perceptions that the
party is weak on military matters and divert attention from the president's
growing political problems on the war and other issues. "Dean's take on
Iraq makes even less sense than the scream in Iowa: Both are uninformed and
unhelpful," said Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), recalling Dean's famous
election-night roar after stumbling in Iowa during his 2004 presidential bid.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.)
and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the second-ranking House Democratic leader,
have told colleagues that Pelosi's recent endorsement of a speedy
withdrawal, combined with her claim that more than half of House Democrats
support her position, could backfire on the party, congressional sources said.
These sources said the two leaders have expressed worry that Pelosi is
playing into Bush's hands by suggesting Democrats are the party of a quick
pullout -- an unpopular position in many of the most competitive House races.
"What I want Democrats to be discussing is what the president's policies
have led to," Emanuel said. He added that once discussion turns to a formal
timeline for troop withdrawals, "the how and when gets buried" and many
voters take away only an impression that Democrats favor retreat.
Pelosi last week endorsed a plan by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to withdraw
all U.S. troops in Iraq within six months, putting her at odds with most
other Democratic leaders and leading foreign policy experts in her party.
Democrats, who have not controlled the White House since 2000 and the House
in more than a decade, have tried over the past year to put aside deep
philosophical differences and rally behind a two-pronged strategy to return
to power: Highlight the growing number of GOP scandals and score Bush's
unpopular war management.
While the party is divided over the specifics of Iraq policy, most
Democratic legislators are slowly coalescing around a political plan,
according to lawmakers and party operatives. This would involve setting a
broad time frame for drawing down U.S. troops, starting with National Guard
and reserve units, internationalizing the reconstruction effort, and
blaming Bush for misleading the country into a war without a victory plan.
The aim is to provide the party enough maneuvering room to allow Democrats
to adjust their position as conditions in Iraq change -- and fix public
attention mostly on Bush's policies rather the details of a Democratic
alternative. A new Time magazine poll found 60 percent of those surveyed
disapproved of Bush's handling of Iraq.
Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) embodies this cautious
approach. He has resisted adopting a concrete Iraq policy and persuaded
most Democratic senators to vote for a recent Senate resolution calling
2006 "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" and to
compel the administration "to explain to Congress and the American people
its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq." While
Republicans introduced the resolution, it was prompted by a Democratic plan.
Democratic Reps. Jane Harman and Ellen Tauscher, both of California, plan
to push House Democrats to adopt a similar position during a closed-door
meeting today that is to include debate on the Pelosi position.
Despite Pelosi's claims that she echoes the views of most members in her
caucus, plenty of Democrats are cringing at her new high profile on an Iraq
withdrawal. Not only did she back a position that polls show most Americans
do not support, but she also did this when Bush is trying to move off the
defensive by accusing Democrats of supporting a de facto surrender.
"We have not blown our chance" of winning back the House but "we have
jeopardized it," said a top strategist to House Democrats, who requested
anonymity to speak freely about influential party leaders. "It raises
questions about whether we are capable of seizing political opportunities
or whether we cannot help ourselves and blow it" by playing to the liberal
base of the party.
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said that while Pelosi estimates more than
half of House Democrats favor a speedy withdrawal, she will lobby members
in today's meeting against adopting this as a caucus position.
Without naming Pelosi, Vice President Cheney told troops yesterday that
terrorists will prevail "if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission,"
saying such precipitous move "would be unwise in the extreme." Cheney,
addressing Army units at Fort Drum, N.Y., said that "any decisions about
troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground and the
judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timelines set by politicians
in Washington, D.C."
In his comments Monday, Dean likened the president's optimistic assessment
to those offered by the government during the Vietnam War. Bush fired back
yesterday. "There are pessimists . . . and politicians who try to score
points. But our strategy is one that is -- will lead us to victory," Bush
said in response to a question about Dean's comments after a meeting with
Lee Jong Wook, director general of the World Health Organization. "Our
troops need to hear not only are they supported, but that we have got a
strategy that will win."
DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said Dean's comments were taken out of
context. Dean, she said, meant the war was unwinnable unless the Bush
administration adopts a new strategy. Still, a number of Democrats
distanced themselves from Dean. "I think Howard Dean . . . represents
himself when he speaks," Tauscher said. "He does not represent me."
Democratic candidates said their biggest concern is that voters will
misconstrue comments by party leaders about Bush's handling of the war as
criticism of U.S. troops who are fighting in Iraq. "I absolutely disagree"
with Dean, said Patrick Murphy, a Democrat who is running for the suburban
Philadelphia House seat now occupied by GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick.
Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.), who represents a district Bush won easily in
2004, said he disagrees with Pelosi and Dean but does not see that as a
problem. "The national press is playing up the fact that Democrats do not
speak with one voice on Iraq," he said. "We should wear it as a badge of
honor because it shows we are not playing a political line with war and peace."
More information about the Marxism