I have a hard time taking Nancy Pelosi seriously as a political leader. Granted, she’s the offspring of the powerful Maryland political machine headed by her former Congressman father, she’s connected to the Burton-Brown machine in Frisco, and a protege of the corrupt and influential Jack Murtha, but she’s dim. When the Democrats chose her to be Minority Leader it was more a marketing move than a political statement, as they are, after all, the women’s party. So it made sense to elect a female figurehead at a time that the party was powerless and she couldn’t do any harm. But now that Bush has handed the Congress back to the Dems, I fully expected her to be replaced by a speaker with skills. Perhaps because that would have been a public relations disaster, they’ve decided to allow her to be a figurehead speaker while the real reins of power are in the hands of political pro Steny Hoyer. This is the first bit of evidence that Pelosiï¿½s not really in charge:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 ï¿½ House Democrats chose Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland as their new majority leader today, rejecting the choice of incoming speaker Nancy J. Pelosi and straining the unity of the new majority party.
In an indication that rank-and-file members are be willing to break from Ms. Pelosi, Democrats chose Mr. Hoyer over Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania by a decisive 149-to-86 margin. Mr. Hoyer overcame a concerted push by Ms. Pelosi on behalf of Mr. Murtha, the combat veteran who became an influential Democratic spokesman against the Iraq war.
She publicly supported her puppet-master Murtha for the job, and the Caucus delivered a public slap to the face by rejecting him, something that would never have happened to a Tip O’Neill or a Newt Gingrich.
And no matter how hard some may try to turn this lemon into Kool-Aid, it’s a major loss of face for Pelosi that shows where she really stands in the Democratic pecking order: somewhere in the neighborhood of pages, approximately, fetching coffee and drinks for the boys.
UPDATE: Tim Noah, writing in Slate, argues Pelosi’s in deep trouble:
Here’s what I propose. Let Pelosi remain speaker for now. But let her know that, before the new Congress even begins, she has placed herself on probation. If she chooses Hastings to chair House intelligence, that’s two strikes. One more strikeï¿½even a minor misstepï¿½and House Democrats will demonstrate that they, unlike Speaker-elect Pelosi and President Bush, know how to correct their mistakes. If this scenario strikes you as unrealistic, I will only say this: Remember Bob Livingston.
But the netroots say she’s been mistreated by the corporate liberal media
There are no honeymoons for Democrats. Remember that. And “moral authority” is about haircuts and Hollywood, not torture and illegal wars. It is not merely a fight against the Republicans or a fight over politics and policy. It is a non-stop battle with the press to cover events with seriousness and responsiblity. For some reason, when Democrats are in power the press corps immediately goes from being merely shallow to insufferable, sophomoric assholes.
Of course. Here’s an example of the insufferable, sophmoric assholishness, from the New York Times’ editorial staff:
Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House. First, she played politics with the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee to settle an old score and a new debt. And then she put herself in a lose-lose position by trying to force a badly tarnished ally, Representative John Murtha, on the incoming Democratic Congress as majority leader. The party caucus put a decisive end to that gambit yesterday, giving the No. 2 job to Steny Hoyer, a longtime Pelosi rival.
Incredible. Don’t they know that cat fights and corruption are insignificant things next to what Pelosi represents to second- and third-generation political offspring throughout the nation? Somewhere in America there’s a party boss’s son or daughter daring to dream of taking over the family’s political office, and his or her hopes are going to be dashed by the catty, bitchy, assholish criticism St. Pelosi has to face. Oh, the arrogance of the corporate liberal media! Oh, the humanity!