Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Regarding the Murtha-Irey race...

CQ Politics has this take:
PA12: GOP Seeks Traction Against Murtha
By Lauren Phillips 4:05 PM; Jun. 19, 2006
Pennsylvania Rep. John P. Murtha may be a national whipping boy for Republicans who argue that Democrats want to cut and run from Iraq, but the GOP faces a tough battle in its efforts to hasten Murtha’s retreat from Congress.In his 32 years in the House, the Marine Corps Vietnam veteran has seen few significant challenges to his seat.

The ranking Democrat of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee won at least 58 percent of the vote in every one of his winning general election campaigns.

But after Murtha called in November for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as soon as possible, he sparked the campaign of a Republican challenger in the 12th District who is focused on speaking out against him.

Diana Irey, a Washington County commissioner for 10 years, said she was moved to run for the seat after becoming disheartened with Murtha’s statements on the war. “I started taking a look at his voting record - and it was very little I had agreed with what he stood for,” she said.
National Democrats aren’t too worried about losing the seat, citing the district’s safe Democrat rating, Murtha’s record, and his long-term incumbency.

Murtha’s campaign is not commenting about the election at this time, and Murtha could not be reached for comment.Both candidates were unopposed in their primaries, heating up the race this summer as both camps focus on November’s general election.

Jon Delano, a one-time Democratic congressional candidate who is now a political commentator for KDKA TV in Pittsburgh, said beating the 16-term incumbent would be tough for any candidate, adding that controversy over Murtha’s views on Iraq hasn’t made as big a splash at home.

“Most of his time isn’t spent in the district talking about the war in Iraq, he’s handing out checks,” Delano said. “Because of his national image, people outside this region might think all Jack Murtha talks about is the War in Iraq. Locally, he’s identified far more with helping entities, institutions, and groups get federal money.” (emphasis added)
This appears to be the prevailing conventional wisdom regarding this race; but, as illustrated in the 2004 Daschel-Thune race in South Dakota, voters are ultimately willing to sacrifice pocketbook issues when their sugar-daddy proves to be a two-bit bum. The article goes on to say:
And even if constituents disagree with his views, they respect his military experience and hawkish views on defense. “No one is going to suggest that Murtha is anti-American or anti-defense; it doesn’t play. People out here know him too well,” Delano said. (emphases added) (read the rest)
This is where you're wrong, Mr. Delano. Describing Murtha's military views as "hawkish" flies in the face of his failed cut-and-run strategies when it came to such situations as Lebanon and Somalia, and now in Iraq.

I cannot confirm this, but my sources indicate that there is a large contingency of military members and families in the PA 12th CD who aren't exactly taking kindly to Murtha's surrender-monkey rhetoric, nor to his throwing our troops under the bus (i.e., Haditha) without the benefit of due process. Like the Swift Boat vets never forgot Kerry's betrayal, you can be sure that the Veteran Marines will likewise never forgive Murtha's betrayal.