The rise to Speaker didn't go without a hitch, however, as Pelosi's choice to replace her as House Majority Leader didn't go so well. Pelosi backed John Murtha, the big bear of a guy from Pennsylvania who became the leading anti-war Democrat, while all of her co-horts backed the previous #2 Dem, Steny Hoyer. After much back and forth and salivating from the press, Hoyer beat out Murtha. Cue stories about Democratic backbiting and infighting.
Now Hoyer and Pelosi go way back as not really liking each other. At one point, Hoyer tried to wrestle Pelosi's position away from her. They made nice for awhile but then Nancy went for Murtha over Hoyer. Most pundits thought it an interesting choice as Murtha is known for pretty much nothing other than rolling in pork and getting bribed by the FBI during ABSCAM. The thinking is because Pelosi used Murtha as cover the past year over Iraq and it was some sort of back-scratching type thing. And they apparently actually respect each other.
Now things like this happen-- Newt Gingrich had the same thing happen to him in '94 and the result was Tom DeLay. But as we all know, the Democrats are the infighting party so this falls according to script. We don’t' remember any sort of negative stories about Gingrich back then about all this the same way there's stories about Pelosi. In fact, the chattering classes are already saying it'll cost the Dem's some sort of approval point. It should also be said that the Republican Senate had a fractious debate over a new Minority Senate person, with Trent Lott winning and not only is anyone debating it, but nobody seems that upset that the Republicans once again moved somebody into a leadership position who loves those gold old days of segregation.