David Sirota delivers the funniest, most creative spin yet on the Pelosi-Murtha debacle:
Hoyer vs. Murtha: A Pelosi Win-Win
...this was, in fact, a win-win situation for Pelosi, no matter what the outcome. If Murtha had won, she would have had a close ally as her number 2. With Hoyer winning under these circumstances, she has also won because she has let him know that his disloyalty to the Democratic Caucus in the past on major issues has created a strong block of opponents to him - and that the only way for him to mollify those opponents is to stay in line in the future, rather than continue publicly undermining the Democratic Caucus as he has many times before...
...She has also won today because she has sent a message to the entire Democratic Caucus by letting every Member know that there will be unpleasant consequences to Hoyer-esque Democratic disloyalty. Though Hoyer won the election, you can bet he didn’t enjoy having a spirited opponent. Every single member of the Democratic Caucus now knows that when they behave the way Hoyer behaved in the past, they may face similar pain.
This is the same dynamic that happened with the Lamont-Lieberman primary. Some Washington insiders say the whole contest was a waste because Lamont lost the general. But what they don’t say - and probably don’t understand - is that the spirited challenge was a victory unto itself, because it sent a message to every other lawmaker in the country that they are not able to ignore the public without facing consequences.
Uh huh. Hoyer and Lieberman are really suffering now. For a more conventional take, try Howard Fineman, Carl Hulse of the NY Times, the LA Times, the NY Times editors, the WaPo, or Howard Kurtz. The WaPo editors had checked in earlier with their disapproval of Murtha.
Other than Mr. Sirota, Nancy Pelosi swept the board.
Meanwhile, I eagerly await the panel presentation by Messrs. Murtha and Lamont tentatively titled "It's All About Iraq". And as the LA Times noted, the next Pelosi Pile-up will be on the Hastings-Harman scuffle.