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The incoming majority


"If the Hoyer camp's head count was correct going into yesterday's secret balloting, Pelosi and her allies may not have swayed a single vote for Murtha," reports the Washington Post. 

The Post's Milbank: "For Pelosi, who led Democrats back to a majority in the House after 12 years, yesterday should have been a coronation for the first woman to be speaker.  Instead, her party had plunged into fratricide, and cable news was running nonstop clips of Murtha talking with FBI agents posing as sheiks in the Abscam sting." 

"Some Democrats said that an ally like Mr. Murtha in the No. 2 spot would give Mrs. Pelosi unchecked power," per the Washington Times.  "But most Democrats said they opposed Mr. Murtha because they had run campaigns on a promise to clean up corruption in Washington." 

Although Democrats tried to suggest they were unified after the election, the New York Times has this nugget: "Some supporters of Mr. Murtha … were disgruntled and said they were trying to identify lawmakers who had broken pledges to support him.  'We won't trust them on issues like this the next time,' said Representative James P. Moran, a Murtha ally from Virginia who said Mr. Murtha had been betrayed." 

"The rejection of Pelosi's favorite stood in sharp contrast to the ability of House Republicans to march largely in lockstep behind their leaders and in support of [Bush's] agenda in recent years," Bloomberg says.  "The fact that Pelosi backed Murtha" despite his ethical issues "even as Democrats accused Republicans of fostering a culture of corruption raises questions about her decision-making." 

Some of the Blue Dog Democrats, whose membership is now 44 strong, are now lobbying Pelosi to keep Rep. Jane Harman in the top slot at the House Intelligence Committee.  "Pelosi will have the authority to appoint the Intelligence Committee chair without consulting the Democratic Caucus.  House Democratic insiders have repeatedly said they expect Pelosi to remove Harman from the Intelligence post."

Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean huddles with his fans among the party's state chairs in Jackson Hole, WY.

Incoming Senate Finance chair Max Baucus "said yesterday that he wants to hold hearings on looming insolvencies in the Medicare and Social Security programs but that President Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security is dead."