Make no mistake about it, this is a major embarrassment for Nancy Pelosi.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) was elected House majority leader this morning, defeating Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi's candidate, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).
Hoyer won the No. 2 leadership job easily -- 149 to 86. But the showdown divided the Democrat House caucus only a week after its party won a majority of seats in the Congress that begins meeting in January, and prompted numerous complaints that Pelosi and her allies used strong-arm tactics and threats to try to elect Murtha to the job.
As Nancy about to lead her fellow House Democrats over the next two years, the results of this election is less of a reflection on Murtha as it was a vote of no confidence in Pelosi. This election between Hoyer and Murtha is likely to be a bellwether of how House Democrats will respond to her "leadership," and could be the cause of much tension between Pelosi and Hoyer.
Had Murtha won, the obvious analysis would have been that Pelosi's influence had won over House Democrats and would be a sign of her eventual effectiveness as House Speaker. Hoyer may have been the heir apparent, but just as President Bush's endorsement of Mel Martinez as RNC Chairman virtually ensures his victory, Pelosi's endorsement of Murtha should have seen him victorious... or atleast narrowly losing.
All things considered,Pelosi has seen better days. This will cast a shadow over her tenure as House Speaker. In more ways than one.