Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How To Embarrass Your Boss. IF She Has the Requisite Embarrassment Bone.

Roll Call's John Bresnahan has the scoop:


Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) told a group of Democratic moderates on Tuesday that an ethics and lobbying reform bill being pushed by party leaders was "total crap," but said that he would work to enact the legislation because Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports it.

Murtha and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are locked in a battle for the House Majority Leader post, and both men made presentations for to the Blue Dog Coalition on Tuesday in a bid for their votes.

"Even though I think it's total crap, I'll vote for it and pass it because that's what Nancy wants," Murtha told the Blue Dogs, according to three sources who were at the meeting.

Pelosi has made enactment of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act the cornerstone of her legislative agenda for the 110th Congress, and she is preparing to make it the first bill introduced under her reign. Murtha voted against the legislation earlier this year on the House floor.

Congressional corruption was a major issue for voters in the recent midterm elections, and Pelosi has pledged to clean-up the Congress as part of her efforts to reform the House.

A Democratic lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was "surprised" by the tone of Murtha's comments, especially Murtha's repeated claim that he would back any proposal that Pelosi favored. This lawmaker has already declared for Hoyer.

"'My agenda will be Nancy's agenda' -- he kept saying that," the lawmaker said. "The performance was stunningly awful."

Another Democrat who was in the room said Murtha's remarks, especially on the ethics and lobbying reform bill, "were not the right thing to say in front of a roomful of Blue Dogs."

Murtha's office did not comment for for this article.

So. Let's review.

Nancy Pelosi promised to make the 110th Congress the "most open and accessible in history." She follows that up by promising to introduce as H.R. 1 the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, and to push it to passage on Day One of her reign.

Then she chooses to back Jack Murtha for the position of Majority Leader, despite his numerous and varied ethical failings -- a "one-man wrecking crew when it comes to policing congressional corruption" was how one liberal congressional watchdog put it.

In Day Five of what will be his seven-day campaign, Mr. Murtha trashes the Speaker-To-Be's numero uno legislative priority, referring to it as "total crap" in front of a room full of key House Democrats.

And yet Nancy Pelosi is, by all media accounts, actually making phone calls and twisting arms for him -- to the extent that one incoming House freshman Democrat reported being asked in a private meeting by Ms. Pelosi who she was backing for Majority Leader, and THEN asking what committees she'd be interested in joining. (Ms. Pelosi has been called many things. "Subtle" is not one of them.)

Embarrassed by Mr. Murtha's behavior? Ms. Pelosi? Not at all.

The question here is, just what kind of embarrassing pictures of Ms. Pelosi does Jack Murtha have, anyway?


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