1. Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi has endorsed John Murtha for Majority Leader, according to The Hill. Murtha is a a southwestern Pennsylvania Democrat with a long-standing A rating from the National Rifle Association. Hoyer is a Maryland Democrat, with a long-standing and well-deserved F rating, although he has sometimes worked to procure federal military contracts for Beretta USA, a firearms manufacturer in his district.
Murtha is, of course, known as a prime advocate of
cut-and-run in Iraq strategic redeployment to Okinawa, whereas Hoyer is merely a supporter of cut-and-run a rapid exit from Iraq, but not necessarily to Okinawa. And it is even more obvious that Pelosi's preference for Murtha has much to do with her desire to take revenge on Hoyer (a rival Democratic leader) and absolutely nothing to do with Murtha's pro-gun voting record.
Nevertheless, it the odds have increased that the Senate (with usually pro-gun Harry Reid) and the House (with inflexibly pro-gun John Murtha) will both have Majority Leaders who will be receptive to the argument that the gun control issue is a loser for the Democratic party.
2. The Rocky Mountain News (Nov. 11) chalks up the winners and losers of the 2006 election. First on the list of losers is "Gun control advocates. Democrats see this as a radioactive issue for them, have to wait for now."
3. In The New Republic, Thomas Edsall suggests that pro-gun "pragmatic, culturally conservative, libertarian" Democrats from the Rocky Mountains hold the key to the party's salvation.
4. During election-night blogging on this site, and in a follow-up on National Review Online, I suggested that about half the R to D shifts in the House had involved the election of pro-gun, Blue Dog Democrats, while the other half had involved the replacement of pro-gun Republicans with anti-gun Democrats. Gun Owners of America points out that several seats in which one Republican replaced another Republican (in Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio), which I had not written about, resulted in a strongly pro-Second Amendment Republican replacing a mediocre Republican. Accordingly, my estimate that the pro-gun side lost a total of 14 votes in the House should be revised to a loss of 12.5.
The loss still leaves intact the pro-Second Amendment majority in the House. More significantly, the fact that fervent gun control advocates Charles Schumer and Rahm Emanuel won a Democratic congressional majority by deliberately recruiting so many pro-gun Democrats suggests that the party has outgrown the mistakes of the Clinton/Columbine era, when party leaders lost the Congress (1994) and then the Presidency (2000) on the mistaken belief that gun control was a popular issue.
UPDATE: Here's the opening of the Monday issue of National Journal's Hotline, which was delivered to subscribers at approximately 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time:
"What signal is Pelosi sending by backing Murtha over Hoyer? It depends on how you choose to view the maj. leader's race. -- Viewed through the prism of Iraq, Pelosi is embracing her party's lefty protest crowd. But on many other issues, from abortion rights to gun control to ANWR, Murtha is decidedly to the right of Hoyer (check out their Nat'l Journalratings ). Pelosi's move could endear her to the Heath Shulers and Brad Ellsworths of the 110th, who are leery of backing the liberal Speaker. It could also help Hoyer among those Blue Dogs, who are itching to say they're bucking Pelosi.A few commenters on this post, and on some of my previous posts, continue to push that the Democrats' new-found respect for the Second Amendment had nothing to do with their wins on Tuesday, or on their governing plans. National Journal, a well-respected source of the conventional wisdom of Washington, obviously disagrees.