Rule one when taking office: make your first battle a winner, even if you have to pick it yourself. The key to political power is picking a battle you can win and winning it. Hard. Right out of the gate. It creates the perception of power and success, and it makes adversaries think twice about taking you on so early in the game. It builds up good credit in the PR stakes, and it gives you a springboard to approach the more difficult issues down the line. Clinton forgot that lesson and that's how he got pummelled for "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the whole healthcare discussion in 1993, however well-intentioned those efforts were.
It's f'ing Politics 101.
Which of course is why Nancy Pelosi created a lose-lose situation for herself and for the Democratic membership when she came out in support of Murtha for Leader. Her first effort as Speaker of the House was to start an internal battle among her own troops? And all in favor of Murtha, who is as scandal-tainted as many of the 'Pubs to whom she just said good riddance? It boggles the imagination how her staff let her do this, how she will get anything done in partnership with Steny Hoyer, the victor in the Murtha-Hoyer race, and all of the members who supported him.
I was going to write, "I'm astonished," but I'm not. I'm just bummed that we have been given this golden opportunity to demonstrate our ability to govern, and the first thing our "leader" does is start a pissing match among her own troops, thereby causing the press to focus on this rather than on positive stuff, creating doubt about our ability to govern from the word Go, and in general looking like a total incompetent.