I wish I could say that (unlike the PG endorsement) this one was a surprise...but it's not. The Trib has long supported John Murtha, a conservative enough Democrat who rarely has had to deal with any sort of opposition during his long career in public service. Murtha's turn from (alleged) hawk to Code Pink shill this past year was followed by a similar move on the part of the Trib. What is the basis for this endorsement?
Leadership -- often challenging, occasionally controversial -- is a hallmark of John Murtha's 32-year career in Congress. It's a record distinguished by standing tall when others wouldn't and putting principle ahead of partisan politics. Mr. Murtha's exemplary service qualifies the Johnstown Democrat for re-election in the 12th Congressional District.Lest you think that the Trib is being lazy and backing Murtha solely on his past record, look at what the paper says next:
In wartime and peace, no member of Congress has been a stronger, more steadfast voice for this nation's military than Murtha. Yet when he challenged the U.S. course in Iraq and called for troop withdrawals last year, many dismissed him as a know-nothing. In reality Jack Murtha was well ahead on the learning curve. He recognized the fallacy of pursuing Iraqis' welfare through U.S.-supplied warfare. Eleven months later, U.S. officials now are finally talking about a timeline for Iraq's self-determination.The Trib is throwing its support to the John Murtha of 2006, a John Murtha who is a visionary, a sort of de facto populist Commander-In-Chief if the editorialist's words are to be believed. In any event, Iraqi self-determination was always part of the plan. Why give this man the credit for dictating administration policies?
Closer to home in a sprawling district that cuts through nine counties, Murtha, 74, has been an outstanding representative of the people, securing the means to promote economic growth and prosperity for jurisdictions big and small. His record speaks for itself.With that statement, the Trib's reputation as a fiscally responsible, anti-pork barrel spending conservative newspaper is shot to hell. This paper has used a lot of ink over the years printing op/ed pieces decrying wasteful public spending and showboating megalomaniacs. This morning, the editors are using an entire tube of lipstick to pretty up a big fat pig.
I can't help wondering if there is some kind of close friendship between Trib Publisher Richard Scaife and the "Big Man" that influences editorial policy. I have no proof of this, but it is suspicious that the editorial stance changes when the subject is John Murtha.
Murtha's challenger, Republican Diana Irey, 44, a Washington County commissioner, is an up-and-comer. We urge her to run in the future. But we find no reason to replace the experienced incumbent, especially at this critical juncture.No reason? NO REASON????? Someone give me a bottle of whatever the Trib is using to make Murtha's record look so spotless. I'd love to look that clean.
Look, it's nice that the Trib doesn't have anything bad to say about Diana Irey, but to brush her off as some kind of "nice little nobody" shows that the paper is ignoring the whole point of her campaign. She knows that Murtha is doing the troops a great disservice with his words and deeds. She has been saying a lot about Murtha, and about her reasons for running, while Murtha remains aloof and barely acknowledges publicly that he even has an opponent in this race.
Shall we,then, begin ignoring the Tribune-Review for its devotion to the cult of St. Jack?
The 12th District, and certainly America, needs John Murtha.I'm glad I canceled my subscription a few years ago, because I need the Trib as much as America needs Murtha -- which is to say, not at all.