Diane Santoriello, of Penn Hills stood in the bone-chilling drizzle Saturday in Johnstown's Central Park to show her support for U.S. Rep. John Murtha, the focus of a "dump Murtha" movement.
Her 24-year-old son, Brian, was killed in combat in Iraq in 2004. She turned out to support Murtha and his demand for an end to the Iraq war.
"I've been called unpatriotic because of my opposition to the war," she said. "Murtha is one of my heroes."
Santoriello stood with two other parents, Celeste Zappala, of Philadelphia, and Derek Davey, of Lowville, N.Y., who both lost sons in Iraq, and in support of Murtha, who is calling for a withdrawal or redeployment of U.S. forces.
I personally do not question their patriotism. I have had Gold Star mothers in my family, and their losses affected them for the rest of their lives. These parents may be airing their grief as well as their grievances in public, but at least they haven't allowed themselves to become psychotic tools like Cindy Sheehan.
There, don't you feel all warm and cozy about John Murtha? Let's keep going.
Zappala, whose son, Sherwood Baker, 30, was the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to die in Iraq, said Murtha telephoned her after her son's death in 2004.
"He was very kind when Sherwood was killed," she said. "He was very comforting to me."
Sure, it was a nice thing to do, but Murtha is a veteran politician. Everything he does is calculated.
So who else showed up?
Murtha brought out the brass for the rally.
He was backed by retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former commander of NATO forces; former senator and Navy SEAL Bob Kerrey, who won the Medal of Honor in Vietnam; Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam; and Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat.
Actually, that's kind of impressive. Murtha has support from decorated veterans and -- wait. Who was that last guy again?
and Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat.Just in case anyone forgot that this is all about politics, that would be the same Ed Rendell who, as DNC Chairman in 2000, did his damndest to disqualify US Military votes coming from overseas (and tried to do so again in 2004). His presence alone is proof that this isn't exactly a military friendly situation. It's a Democrat friendly situation.
The speeches were mostly boilerplate.
Murtha said the attacks against him are being orchestrated by administration officials "sitting on their fat backsides in the White House sending our young people to war when they don't understand the circumstances."DNC talking point: Bush administration folks have plump posteriors!
Shelton said "they just don't get any better than Jack Murtha."DNC talking point: Murtha is a great guy!
Kerrey said Murtha "had the courage to stand up and say the leadership was not telling the truth about the war in Iraq. What does Jack Murtha get for standing up? They slime him."DNC talking point: Criticism of Murtha is SLIME!
Clark, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, called Bush's leadership "incompetent" and "inept."DNC talking point: Bush is stupid!
Cleland likened the criticism of Murtha "to a mackerel shining in the moonlight. It shines and stinks at the same time."I'm not sure about that bizarre analogy, but Cleland's presence is a DNC talking point in and of itself.
Finally, from the great arse who presides over this Commonwealth:
Rendell criticized Murtha's opponents for interfering in the congressional race in the 12th District where Murtha faces Republican challenger Diana Irey, of Washington County, in November.
"How dare these outsiders come here to Pennsylvania and impugn the patriotism of one of our greatest sons ... Pennsylvania has ever had," Rendell said.
Did you say that with a straight face, Fast Eddie? Did you look at the out-of-state Gold Star parents who support Murtha and ask how they dare come to the 12th district to express themselves? Did you criticize Murtha to his face for going to other states and campaigning on behalf of Democrats?
Do us a favor, jackass. Lose. Lose your re-election bid and go back where you came from. While you're at it, take Murtha, too. You'd better hurry, because the liberators are coming today.