As the Wapo's Ruth Marcus points out in her editorial piece, Unfit for Majority Leader, the number of dead fish stinking up Murtha's closet seem to far outweigh the good he's done in the fight over Iraq. She reminds us of that nasty episode long ago - Abscam, for those of you old enough to remember - where Murtha was caught on tape talking to a Shiek who was trying to arrange shady credentials for some of his cronies to get into the country.
"I'm not interested -- at this point," he says of the dangled bribe. "You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't, you know." Indeed, he acknowledges, even though he needs to be careful -- "I expect to be in the [expletive] leadership of the House," he notes -- the money's awfully tempting. "It's hard for me to say, just the hell with it."Sorry, John, but to be the Majority Leader you really do need to have a squeaky clean slate and a background that won't bog you down. That one piece of tape should be enough to keep you out of the ML's chair. But there's more.
[E]verything in Murtha's post-Abscam life is of a piece with the back-scratching, dealmaking style on display in the video. In a story last month, the New York Times described how Murtha has operated "a political trading post" in a back corner -- the Murtha corner, it's called -- of the House floor, where Democrats and Republicans alike come to get Murtha's blessing for earmarks or his help on close votes. As Pennsylvania Democrat Paul Kanjorski told the Times, "nobody ever leaves completely disappointed."This is exactly the type of behavior which got the GOP in trouble this election cycle, and exactly the sort of thing we've been complaining about so loudly. Now we're going to put a guy that absolutely stinks of K-street cronyism into the Majority Leader's seat?
But let's face it, Hoyer is no picnic either. Mahablog has some interesting tidbits on him which we should all be reminded of.
Hoyer has undermined efforts by the Dems to form a united front against Bush’s War. He also has uncomfortably close ties to big business and K Street lobbyists; last year he split with Pelosi on free-trade votes and on bankruptcy reform.(Plenty more on Hoyer in the linked Maha post, so I suggest you read it all for a full background check.)
He panders to the Bush administration on Iraq, sold us out on the Bankruptcy bill fiasco, and apparently is in the pockets of K-street even more than Murtha. It will take no effort at all for the next Jack Abramoff in waiting to slide into Hoyer's pockets because he's already pretty much on the payroll. His support of the bankruptcy bill alone should be sufficient to keep him out of the Majority Leader's post.
I'm not sure at this point who would be a solid choice for ML, but the choices being offered up thus far are making it look like a long, painful two years coming at us.