Monday, August 28, 2006

Don't Even Joke About That

Blogging about Pittsburgh-area media coverage of John Murtha is as easy a taking a nap: Most of the time, it involves laying about doing nothing, because the local reporting is next to nil. Most stories about Murtha tell us about his ongoing efforts to bring pork to the PA 12th district.

When these papers report on Murtha's treasonous stance on current events, the stories are accompanied by editorials gushing with admiration for every sentence that comes out of the man's mouth. We see it in the conservative Tribune-Review as well as the liberal Post-Gazette.

This past weekend we learned what kind of support Murtha is getting in his district outside of the mass media -- and it looks like it's coming from a big money Republican. From yesterday's Whispers column in the Tribune-Review:

IMPRESSED. Federal legislators on both sides of the aisle apparently have left quite an impression on Fayette County Commissioner and 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy.

Hardy invoked the "p" word for both Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and Democrat U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha in separate events this month in Uniontown. Apparently, both would have Republican Hardy's support for the presidency.

"And it won't be too many years until we'll be saying he's president," Hardy said in introducing Santorum at an Aug. 10 rally for the two-term senator.

Last week, Hardy gave a ringing endorsement for Murtha after the congressman concluded his statements about Uniontown's makeover, which includes the development of the Storey Square park area and renovations to the State Theatre Center for the Arts.

"Jack for president," Hardy said, as Murtha walked from the microphone.

I hope he was joking about that. I really, really hope that it was the punchline for an inside joke that had Hardy and his friends laughing hysterically behind Murtha's back. It seems a strange thing to say casually after a Congressman from another political party has just finished speaking about urban renewal in a small city.

For the record, according to, Joe Hardy has contributed thousands of dollars to Republican candidates in the last three years alone. There are a few, shall we say, "blemishes", such as his $1,000 donation to Tom Daschle in 2004. Most glaring are the tens of thousands that he has given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the last three years. He hasn't contributed directly to Murtha, but then he doesn't need to; I'm sure he had John Murtha in mind when he made these soft money contributions.

Keep this in mind when you think about patronizing one of Mr. Hardy's several business interests.