It wasn't even close.
Honestly, I'm just glad it's over. And I hope Hoyer and Pelosi can put their differences behind them. We can't afford a divided caucus. Pelosi made a mistake in endorsing Murtha, but she was elected unanimously, and Hoyer was not, so I don't think anyone should see Murtha's loss as an opening to challenge Pelosi, whom I think will do a great job in uniting all camps in the party. Encouraging words to this effect were spoken by Rep. Dave Obey, who will chair the Appropriations Committee: “There’s such universal respect and affection for Nancy. She’s gutsy as hell and she’s willing to take a chance..., push the envelope. It was bitter between the two candidates, I suppose, but it wasn’t bitter among the members of the caucus. People get over this stuff.” God knows we have more important things to do!
As for Murtha, I will reiterate that despite not being the best choice for majority leader, I think he's still an important voice in the party, especially on the war. He had the courage to stand up last year for a change in the the war policy (as opposed to just criticizing the results of that policy). Even if you didn't agree with his plan, he changed the debate on the war and allowed the Dems to finally get their voice on the issue. Certainly in light of the election results, I think we owe him a debt of gratitude for that.
Murtha will now chair the powerful defense subcommittee with responsibility for the war in Iraq and the Pentagon budget. “Nancy asked me to set a policy for the Democratic Party. Most of the party signed onto it,” he said, referring to pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Also of note, Democrats selected James Clyburn of South Carolina as majority whip, their No. 3 post. Clyburn will become the highest-ever ranking African American member in Congress. DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel of Illinois was rewarded for his role in the midterm elections with the caucus chair post, the No. 4 position for Democrats.