Speakers of Houses Face Similar Rebellions

Article excerpt

Separated at birth -- Tom Murphy and Newt Gingrich?

Perhaps that's a stretch, but the two speakers, the

Georgia version and his D.C. counterpart, find themselves

facing twin rebellions.

If the gods of politics believe in dispensing their justice

poetically, surely that is why the two hated adversaries,

Democrat Murphy and Republican Gingrich, find their fates

shackled together this summer.

Even though both appear secure for the moment, their

predicaments illustrate how hard it is in today's fractious

political climate to hold together a bare, working majority.

Gingrich, who represents Cobb County's 6th District in

Congress, and Murphy, a state House delegate from Bremen, are

party animals. They're inside players who thrive on the hero

worship of their followers, but flounder when their orders are

questioned.

For Gingrich, the week's crisis played out publicly, with a

meeting of about 50 House members in various stages of

disaffection over the budget and the much-delayed Midwest

disaster aid bill.

The sharks began approaching from the left, moderate

Republicans wondering how their leaders let the president

position them against flood victims just 18 months after they

were similarly snookered into shutting down the government.

But then, storm clouds started gathering on the right. GOP

Young Turks agree the disaster aid showdown was mishandled, but

for different reasons; they want their leaders to take a more

confrontational stand with the White House and stick to it.

Murphy's tableau unfurled behind closed doors at a strategy

session of House Democrats in Macon. …