Thursday, August 03, 2006

Murtha's Bedfellows On The Campaign Trail

The 2006 tour to re-elect Congressman John Murtha rolls on. Yesterday the Murtha bandwagon stopped in the heart of his district, Cambria County. From the Johnstown Tribune Democrat:
Gov. Ed Rendell might have been the marquee name on a swing through Cambria County on Wednesday, but fellow campaigner John Murtha was center stage.
That would be the same Ed Rendell who, as DNC chairman, sought to disenfranchise voters serving in the armed forces during the 2000 presidential election. Now here he is, shoulder to shoulder with the guy who claims to care about our troops.
With little input from the campaign of the congressman’s opponent, Diana Irey, Murtha this week has come under heavy fire for his positions on the war in Iraq.
This shows that MMG, Rightroots, etc. are successfully getting the message out. We are more than happy to make the Irey campaign's job easier.
Wednesday, he fought back – enlisting the assistance of Rendell and former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., a disabled Army veteran of the Vietnam War.

Cleland lost three limbs in Vietnam when he went to examine what turned out to be a live grenade on the ground. By doing so, he may have saved the lives and limbs of other soldiers, so for that he should be respected and honored as a soldier and as a man. Politically, however, Max Cleland jumped the shark at least two years ago. Keep in mind that, at present, he is (like Murtha) first and foremost a politician.
And, nine months after Murtha first spoke out against the war, veterans groups are turning up the rhetoric in both defending and disputing his comments. In response to harsh criticism from a veterans group earlier this week, other former soldiers are rallying to support the embattled lawmaker. “This man knows more about military, war and the national security of our nation than anybody on Capitol Hill,” Cleland said.
That's arguable, and even if it were true, it does not mean that Murtha is using that knowledge to make the right choices.

Cleland said the “Veterans for the Truth” organization – modeled after the Swift Boat veterans crusade used during the 2004 presidential campaign against Democratic candidate John Kerry – said the opposition against Murtha should stop. “It’s a new band, with a new band leader, but it’s the same old crowd,” he said. “Don’t let them ‘swift boat’ Jack Murtha.”

Well. Pro-Murtha organizations are "a new band, with a new band leader". They only know one tune, and it's called "Swift Boat!". That's nice. The substance of their argument is "people who oppose Murtha are liars!". Where's the beef?, as Walter Mondale would say.

Getting back to today's events:
Today, opposing veterans groups are scheduled to rally outside of Murtha’s Johnstown office, 647 Main St. Rendell said the anti-Murtha faction will meet opposition at today’s press conference. “Boy, are they in for a surprise,” he said. “If they attack Jack Murtha, they are going to be attacked back.”

Given Rendell's history of associating with leftist organized labor thugs going back to his days as Mayor of Philadelphia, this sounds like a threat of violence. Look out for baseball bats and 2x4s when the pro-Murtha faction arrives.
Terry Menear, from the Somerset Vietnam Veterans Association, will be there. “I think they ought to stay where they belong,” he said. “I am all for John Murtha.”
He makes a good point. Perhaps he could kindly suggest that Max Cleland turn around and go back to Georgia.
Murtha said critics are trying to take attention away from his mission to redeploy troops away from Iraq. “I try not to be distracted from my mission, which is to change the direction of our country,” he said.
Seriously? Do you know what you are saying? We, your critics, are directing attention to your misguided "mission". We don't like the direction that you want to steer our country, so please do stay on message, Mr. Murtha.

“It’s great to see so many people support me in my district.”

It's great to see so many people oppose you in your district, too.
Dot Helsel, a resident of Stonycreek Township, supports Murtha and believes most residents in Johnstown still do. “I think he’s done an outstanding job for the Johnstown region,” she said. “You don’t always agree with somebody, but I would say most people in this area like him.”

What can I say? Pork sells. This just makes our work that much harder.
Helsel said she does not think protesters or negative attention will affect Murtha’s campaign. “He’s been there too long now,” she said. “You can disagree with somebody but you don’t have to be disagreeable.”

Not being disagreeable means being passive, and passivity, in politics, is impotence. That gives Murtha a free ride to re-election, and we can not stand for that. Welcome to the world of politics.
Mary Miller of Johnstown, national president for the Association of Vietnam Veterans of America, said Murtha protesters have taken his words out of context. “A lot of these people who are outing him have never served in the military and they don’t understand what it’s like,” said Miller, whose group is a service organization for the Vietnam Veterans of America. “It’s just upsetting, really. He’s always been for the veterans and the families. He’s done a lot.”

Done a lot? In recent months, he's done too much. I have never served in the military, but I know people who do and the last thing they need is media and politicians who make the enemy's job easier. My father was a World War Two veteran, and he told me during the 1980s that if the contemporary media had been around in the 1940s, they'd have given it all away to the Axis. We don't need that in the 2000s, either.

Note Ms. Miller's use of the term "outing". This implies that John Murtha has something to hide. Would she care to tell us what that would be?
Today, Murtha is scheduled to be in Clarks Summit, outside Scranton, campaigning for Democrat Chris Carney, who’s running against incumbent Republican Don Sherwood in the 10th district.
John Murtha: Coming to a town near YOU.