Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Power struggles unravel Democrats' unity - Los Angeles Times

David Seaton's News Links
In domestic disputes and "crimes of passion" the offended person often picks up the first object at hand and hits the offender over the head with it; however improbable that object might be. Frying pans, ashtrays, icepicks, chairs you name it. In this case the American people, enraged by Bush's infidelities in Iraq, have hit him "upside the head" with the only blunt object they could lay their hands on... the Democratic Party. The great question is: is the Democratic Party still "the right tool for the job"? After Clinton(s), does it still stand for anything? DS

Abstract: Democrats returned to Capitol Hill on Monday to prepare for a transfer of power in Congress, but their postelection emphasis on unity quickly dissolved into power struggles and jockeying over the spoils of victory. Much of the squabbling stemmed from the decision over the weekend by presumed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to endorse a longtime loyalist to be her second-in-command. In backing Iraq war critic Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania for the post, Pelosi, of San Francisco, turned her back on another Democrat who is in line for the job and is favored by many of her party's more moderate members. In her first high-profile move after the election, Pelosi signaled that she can be expected to prize personal loyalty as she oversees the fractious party.(...) As the crop of freshly elected Democrats — including many younger ones who campaigned to the right of the party line — came to Capitol Hill for orientation Monday, they encountered a leadership dominated by mostly liberal, old-school Democrats. Cardoza, a leader of the conservative coalition in the House known as the Blue Dogs, warned that Democratic cohesion would suffer if the liberals in line to head many of the chamber's key committees don't take party moderates into account. "We have to try to build a consensus, and it's not going to be an automatic, top-down way, or we'll have conflict on the floor," Cardoza said.(...) Emotions and tensions are running high in the battle between Hoyer and Murtha. As in most congressional leadership elections, the outcome hinges largely on personal relationships, not ideology. But divisions over the war in Iraq are playing a part. Murtha, known as a strong supporter of the military, emerged as a hero of the left when he became a leading critic of the conflict a year ago; Hoyer has been more hawkish. READ ALL

No comments: