It's not exactly the worst thing that could have happened. Although Hoyer is certainly of the corporatist wing of the party that I tend to distrust, he likely would have been my choice had I been given one.
I hate political corruption. I loathe it with every fiber of my being. Operation Tennessee Waltz was an enema hose that blasted a handful of corrupt lawmakers out of Nashville.
So as much as I like Jack Murtha's stance on the war in Iraq, I'm always troubled by his involvement in ABSCAM.
It's certainly true that he declined the bribe money he was offered. But it's also sadly true that he said "not at this time", and implied that the store might be open for business if they "do business for a while". He also violated House ethics rules by declining to report that he'd been offered a bribe.
Senator Larry Pressler walked into the same setup, turned down the money more decisively than Murtha did, and did the right thing by reporting the bribe offer to the FBI. Why could Murtha not do the same thing?
There was no single reason the American public voted to give us a majority in both houses of Congress. Iraq war fatigue, an unchecked president that could only charitably be described as a "boob", and gay baiting Republicans playing grabass with one another were certainly all factors.
But one of the biggest reasons is the overall culture of corruption that the Republicans carried with them. The overpowering aroma of filth that stained Congress when the likes of Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, and paymaster Jack Abramoff walked its halls.
Jack Murtha, to a lesser degree, carries that aroma with him. Caesar's wife must be beyond reproach.
Also, frankly, Hoyer votes the right way and does so consistently. Look at the compilation of his votes put together by the Washington Post. When I did, I suddenly became jealous of the people of Maryland's 5th District--- Their congressman votes like I wish the outgoing congressman from the Tennessee 9th did. When wiretapping was on the agenda, he voted for the Democratic amendments. When the amendments failed, he voted against the bill like every Democrat should have. That's the way business should be conducted on Capitol Hill. The amendments shouldn't be empty threats. They should be interpreted as "If you don't approve this change, I can't support your bill".
Hoyer's voting record isn't perfect. He voted for the Bankruptcy Reform Act. Then again, so did Jack Murtha.
But I'll take it.