Conservative Republican Melissa Hart was defeated for re-election to Congress in the PA 4th district. Her opponent, Jason Altmire, characterized her as a Santorum clone, using the standard 2006 talking points for the Dems ("rubber stamp"; "votes with Santorum and Bush 98% of the time!"), and is on his way to Congress. He's looking forward to some prime committee positions. To whom does Altmire look for guidance?
He could have an advantage if one of his mentors, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, is successful in a bid to become House majority leader. Mr. Murtha will compete with Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland for the top Democratic position behind Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, who will become House speaker.It's not just about Murtha belonging to the same party as Altmire, or that he is from a neighboring district. There is ideological common ground between the two:
"Mr. Murtha is my campaign chairman and has been extremely helpful, and I wouldn't be here today if not for him," Mr. Altmire said. "He's clearly my guy. He's a conservative Democrat, and politically, I think he would be a nice balance for Mrs. Pelosi."Well, if he's a conservative, that's alright, then. He'll be on our side!
Mrs. Pelosi, who symbolizes the liberal wing of the Democratic leadership, called the successful candidate at 1 a.m. yesterday to congratulate him. He congratulated her as well, even though he's a pro-life, pro-gun, socially conservative Democrat more in keeping with the values of the 4th district's constituents.So Altmire will team up with John Murtha to ban abortion, remove restrictive unconstitutional gun control laws, and protect traditional marriage, right? They'll be even better than Republicans, right?
Not bloody damn likely.
This is what we are going to see for the next two years in Congress: Democrats who stray from the party line just enough to be considered "moderate" or even "conservative" will be the public face of Congress in areas like the 4th and 12th districts of Pennsylvania. They will relentlessly try to scrape up as much Republican crossover support as possible.
Meanwhile, watch neophytes like Altmire and Kanjorski vote with Murtha at least 98% of the time and go around calling themselves conservatives and moderates.
Here's a project for this week: Go around and see how many of these Dems call Murtha a "balance" to Nancy Pelosi's liberalism. If two of them are saying it, then 100 of them are saying it. EVERYONE in the party should have gotten the memo.