Post-Election Politics (Democratic Leadership Edition)
Via WaPo: In Backing Murtha, Pelosi Draws Fire
Murtha, a longtime senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, has battled accusations over the years that he has traded federal spending for campaign contributions, that he has abused his post as ranking party member on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, and that he has stood in the way of ethics investigations. Those charges come on top of Murtha’s involvement 26 years ago in the FBI’s Abscam bribery sting.
“Pelosi’s endorsement suggests to me she was interested in the culture of corruption only as a campaign issue and has no real interest in true reform,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a Democratic-leaning group. “It is shocking to me that someone with [Murtha’s] ethics problems could be number two in the House leadership.”
There are several interesting aspects to this situation.
1) It is an intra-Democratic conflict at the moment. Even the interest groups that are the most vocal at the moment are more in the Democratic camp.
2) This the collision of the two main issues of the campaign: the war and corruption.
3) It indicates that Pelosi may have a character trait in common with President Bush: loyalty. Part of the argument for Pelosi favoring Murtha over Hoyer is that Murtha helped her in an earlier leadership race and Hoyer opposed her. A similar manifestation of part of this trait is the fact that she apparently has problems with Jane Harmon and hence is willing to ignore seniority rules on the Intelligence Committee (in this case this is perhaps what happens when one isn’t viewed as loyal).
Of note is the fact that this particular character trait/traits of Pelosi are getting her in trouble right out of the gate. It will be interesting to see how this manifests over time.
If anything, I suspect we are going to get quite the education on ABSCAM over the next week or so…
[Cross-posted at PoliBlog]