Regardless of opinions on Murtha's past words and deeds, it is what Murtha is saying and doing now that have folks no longer supporting him.The legacy part of Murtha's record is fine, albeit a bit dull. Frankly, I heard of Murtha long before I actually heard Murtha speak. He was always a 'shadows' representative, meaning he didn't get much airtime until his immediate redeployment political ploy. Since then, he's been the military's worst supporter in terms of what he's said.
His playing politics now with our soldiers' lives was a common reason cited for no longer supporting him. His insensitivity to troops in the field and soldiers' now, who need to know that the family member's life and sacrifice had good purpose, was another reason for no longer supporting him.
The backlash is coming this November as the truth sinks in. Message to John Murtha: the past is the past. We don't like what you are saying and doing NOW!
The military voters in PA-12 resent his statements over the past year, whether it was the immediate redeployment proposal, saying that the "military is living hand to mouth", that they were the main targets in Iraq's civil war (I still can't figure that one out, btw.), that Marines killed innocent Iraqi civilians in the terrorist hotbed of Haditha and that they didn't have the proper equipment, specifically body armor for the soldiers.
The truth is that the soldiers didn't wear the body armor. Here's what Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson said:
"In many cases we found [the troops] didn't wear it because it was too heavy."Then there's these quotes:
- "We must not burden our soldiers with weight to the point that they become ineffective and susceptible to other dangers," explained Maj. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army's director of force development.
- Marine Sgt. Jared McNerney actually modeled the kind of up-armored uniform Clinton indicated she preferred. But Sgt. McNerney explained that if he was forced to carry that much weight, it could get him killed. "I'm climbing walls, I'm jumping through windows," McNerney complained. "What I need most is mobility." With the heavier gear, he said, "I can barely extend my arms over my head."
The reason you know it's plummeted is because you don't hear anything about his job approval ratings in the Pittsburgh/Johnstown press. If his popularity were strong, that's all you'd be hearing about him.
A couple of veterans I spoke with expressed loyalty to Murtha because he had helped them somehow along the way in the past; or they believed "he was a highly decorated honorable man." I appreciated their willingness to hear my reasons for not supporting Murtha even as I respectfully listened to them.Once people know what the activists know, their opinions change. Some might still vote for him but their opinion is changed.
Being a real constituent of District 12, I explained that I have family members who have recently returned from on the ground in Iraq, and how deeply concerned I am about Murtha politicizing the military and troops for personal political gain. Such talk puts our troops in even greater danger and demoralizes our troops. As our discussion progressed it became clear that we had much more in common, than not. This impressed both sides in the discussion.
Technorati: Murtha, Haditha, Military, Code Pink, Iraq
Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog