Last autumn, she said, Mr. Murtha's call for American withdrawal from Iraq lit a fire. At the same time, she had been marginalized on the commissioners board, the only Republican there, serving with two Democrats. Add a dash of ambition and the timing was right. "Jack Murtha's been in office for 32 years, and that's too long," said Mrs. Irey, 44, the mother of three teens. "I believe he's lost touch with the beliefs of the people in the 12th District...He no longer is voting the conservative values of the 12th District. He's voting more like he's the congressman from liberal San Francisco than conservative southwestern Pennsylvania."Diana Irey is right on the money when she says that John Murtha isn't "voting the conservative values of the 12th District." I'd bet that more than a few people took a disliking of Murtha after 'partnered' with Code Pink this fall. I'd guarantee that they'd have a visceral, negative reaction if they knew that Code Pink called our military "killers", especially considering the military population in PA-12.
Murtha's a perfect example of someone who's gotten too big a taste of being a celebrity. He's chosen to become a fundraising 'rock star' of the Democratic Party when PA-12 needed someone to vote in their best interests. The biggest thing that gets public officials in trouble is when they stop listening to their constituents, instead believing that they can do no wrong simply because they've gotten re-elected a bunch of times. Politicians like Murtha think all that's necessary is a recitation of the pork they've dropped into their constituents' trough.
That might work in peace time but people expect serious people tackling serious issues in wartime. John Murtha isn't offering serious solutions to the serious problems that the nation is facing, especially as it pertains to the GWOT or Iraq. No serious people gave Murtha's 'immediate redeployment' plan a second's worth of thought. Once a politician is seen as either incapable of making wise policy decisions or in not taking problems seriously, they're history. Mr. Murtha is inching nearer to that line each day, if he hasn't already catapulted over it.
With more than $2.5 million raised and $1.8 million on hand, Mr. Murtha is financially better off than his foe. Mrs. Irey had raised $305,000 and had $159,000 in cash on hand as of June 30, the most recent Federal Election Commission reporting deadline.No amount of money can save a politician if he isn't taken seriously. I remember reading a George Will column about an Oklahoma congressman in either 1996 or 1998. The Will column told about how close the Republican challenger came in one election where his opponent outspent him like 8:1 or 9:1 one year, then beat the incumbent the next time despite being outspent by a nearly 4:1 margin.
She's also been supported by a vociferous Internet-based anti-Murtha campaign, organized by a group known as Vets for the Truth, which has rallied opposition to certain Democratic candidates who have served in the U.S. military. Presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry was the group's most notable victim.VFTT should change their name to the Terminators because they're on the verge of terminating John Murtha's incumbency.
Technorati: Election 2006, Murtha, Diana Irey, Code Pink, anti-war activists
Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog