Thursday, October 19, 2006

Well, Here's A Big Surprise

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 19th edition) endorses Jack Murtha for re-election. Really, could anyone not see this coming? It's always a lot of fun reading a PG endorsement. The editorialists are very clever about buttering up the reader by making nice with both candidates before hitting you with the reasons that CANDIDATE B IS UNWORTHY OF CONSIDERATION, then urging the readers to please give your support to Candidate A.

It starts out well enough...sort of:
In any other year, a vigorous challenge to Johnstown Democrat John Murtha, who has represented the 12th Congressional District for 32 years, would be a welcome wake-up call for the too-long-secure incumbent.
All incumbents need "a welcome wake-up call". No politician should be allowed to get too comfortable in office for a long period of time. Some need to be evicted. Like you-know-who.

In our corner, we have:
Republican Diana Irey of Carroll Township, Washington County, is certainly a sincere and plausible candidate. She was the first woman elected as a Washington County commissioner back in 1995 and has served on boards such as the Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. Voters may well be attracted to a candidate who combines firmness of principle with a friendly manner.
Yes, and that's why we like her. We would support her no matter who she were running against. But not the Psychosis-Gazette. The sweetness and warmth ends here:
On the issues, Ms. Irey, 44, is boilerplate conservative, sometimes tending to the extreme, but Mr. Murtha, 74, is socially conservative too. Her fiscal instincts lead her to criticize the congressman as a porkmeister of the first rank, and in this she is undoubtedly correct. But she can't bring herself to admit that bringing home the bacon has helped a district that needs jobs. the PG saying that pork is good if you're a Democrat, but not if you're a Republican? It sounds that way to me. Be aware that the PG's Editorial FAQ claims that its editorial position is "generally liberal on social issues and more conservative on economic issues". As Jim Quinn would say, "That's Bullship -- the large metal vessel that brings the bulls to market". The PG is doing a bang-up business in the metaphorical livestock market.

Since the PG can't bring itself to admit that it has much in common politically with Diana Irey, if the FAQ is to be believed, it turns to defending Murtha against legitimate criticism:
Perhaps that is why she is playing up Mr. Murtha's role in Abscam more than a quarter-century ago to suggest that the incumbent is corrupt. Mr. Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in that FBI-run sting operation, but he never took any money. Moreover, to dredge this up now, after the voters have pronounced on Mr. Murtha's fitness to hold office at least a dozen times, says more about the muck merchants in Ms. Irey's corner than it does anything else.
It could also say a lot about the effectiveness of the Democratic Party in Murtha's district, or the ineffectiveness of the Republican Party until recently. In any event, even if Murtha had taken money in the sting, it would have been okay -- he would have been doing it for his district!

Oh, and people who oppose Murtha are anti-military:
In a sense, Abscam and all the other issues are irrelevant to this race. The sinister political forces who have come out of the woodwork to support Ms. Irey are unnerved by something else: Mr. Murtha's stand on the Iraq war. The Democrat, a retired colonel of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, had a 37-year military career and was decorated for his service in Vietnam. In Congress, there has hardly been a greater friend of veterans and those still in uniform than this representative.
"Sinister political forces who have come out of the woodwork..." So those of us who vocally support Diana Irey and oppose John Murtha are evil termites? Another Bullship just pulled into port.

Check out the Vietnam-esque keyword in the next paragraph:
Mr. Murtha, who supported the Iraq war at first, has become disillusioned and has called for a U.S. pullout, arguing that the fighting has evolved into a civil war with Americans caught in between. For this supposed heresy, which to most Americans increasingly looks like stating the obvious, Mr. Murtha's undoubted patriotism has been slandered, as if complicity in a failed policy is the only patriotic response.
The policy can be considered "failed" when the United States surrenders to the terrorists and turns the country over to al-Qaeda et al. But if the Psychosis Gazette harps on it long enough, people will be convinced that we have pursued a "failed policy" in Iraq. Let's be clear about something, now: Dissent is patriotic. There has been dissent in American politics as long as there has been a United States of America. Making outlandish statements about the alleged criminal element in the US military, suggesting nonsensical alternatives for redeployment away from Iraq, and demonizing patriotic Americans are another thing. It's insane. Whatever service Murtha performed in the past is now irrelevant; we are opposing the John Murtha of 2006.

And we're doing it like we did to Kerry in 2004. Here's that familiar simile again:
The Swift Boat-like attacks on Mr. Murtha are a perverse compliment. He is attacked because of his stature. He must be put down as a "Defeatocrat" for suggesting that we are fighting the wrong battle in the wrong place, and that this is actually weakening us in the war on terror. The problem for Ms. Irey is that Mr. Murtha has been proved right by events, and every grim passing day brings reinforcement of the point.
In other words, dead Americans in Iraq are good for Democrats. A high body count equals more votes for Murtha and his comrades in Congress! And they help by speaking out to destroy our troops morale. Think I'm kidding? Just last week I was driving in my car with a hardcore Dem relative. The vehicle in front of us had a bumper sticker that said, "Half of my heart is in Iraq". My passenger said, "Aw, that's sad because they're probably not coming back". She could have said, "Let's hope they're keeping safe over there", or something similarly supportive. But no.

Let me say it again: Democrats want American soldiers to die in Iraq because it helps them score points politically back home. Think about that if you're considering voting for them this year.

Meanwhile, Diana Irey is criticized for her honesty:
Ms. Irey thinks "supporting the troops" means uncritical backing of the president's choice to keep them in this war, which even she concedes is "not going as well as we hoped." She said "things need to be changed somewhat," but offered no suggestion for what to do now.
Unlike Murtha, Diana is not an armchair general. Who's the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces? Not some veteran Congressman from southwestern Pennsylvania.
This is not just any other year in the 12th district, which includes parts of Allegheny, Armstrong, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties and all of Greene County. As a referendum on U.S. policy in Iraq, Rep. Murtha is the brave challenger to the failed status quo and Ms. Irey is its apologist. Our endorsement goes to John Murtha.
You're right about one thing: This isn't like any other year. In any other year, John Murtha would be re-elected handily. We can't let that happen this year. Voters, do the right thing: Send Diana Irey from "little Wooshington" to the other Washington.