The Moose wonders what the incoming Speaker was thinking when she decided to meddle in the Majority Leader's race.
If there was one unmistakable message that the voters were sending last week is that they are sick and tired of the old Washington politics of pork, perks and corruption. That is why it is so perplexing that Congresswoman Pelosi chose as her first major public action to lend her support to John Murtha for Majority Leader.
Congressman Murtha, while a decorated patriot, is not going to win any awards from Common Cause as a stalwart congressional reformer - quite the opposite. He is the embodiment of the old guard pork-laden, back-scratching politics that was rejected last Tuesday.
Today's editorial in the Washington Post,
"Mr. Murtha would also be the wrong choice as majority leader after an election in which a large number of voters expressed unhappiness with Washington business as usual. Mr. Murtha has been a force against stronger ethics and lobbying rules. He was one of just four Democrats whose votes helped kill a strong Democratic package of lobbying reforms this spring.
"As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has been an avid participant in the orgy of earmarking, including numerous projects sought by a lobbying firm that employed his brother. During the Abscam congressional bribery investigation in 1980, Mr. Murtha was videotaped discussing a bribe with an undercover FBI agent. ("You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't, you know," Mr. Murtha said.) He wasn't indicted, but it's fair to say the episode raised questions about his integrity."
The Speaker-elect's misstep will hopefully be soon forgotten if Steny Hoyer is victorious in this race. However, it is not a promising opening act. Democrats must realize that the voters are desperately looking for a departure from business as usual.
The new boss must be clearly distinct from the old boss. --