Friday, December 7, 2007

PA's Odd Couple: Murtha, Altmire

PA's Odd Couple: Murtha, Altmire

"What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people [Americans] preserve the spirit of resistance?” (Thomas Jefferson)

It’s time for a political revolution in the districts, the 4th and 12th, of Democratic congressmen Jason Altmire and John Murtha. It will be a peaceful revolution that culminates in many voting booths next November. It will be a revolution against two Democratic politicians who treat their constituents like a huge crowd of dunces.

If you’re a Democratic candidate statewide or in a congressional district outside Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, how do you get elected? You run on the proposition that you’re a “conservative Democrat.” You’ll announce that you’re favor of the rights of the unborn and gun owners.You’ll also say regularly that you “support the troops,” although you’ll be very vague about how you can do so without supporting their mission. You’ll talk about the need for fiscal restraint, but that won’t apply to Bridge-to-Nowhere-type projects supposedly benefiting either your district or a political ally’s.

In most cases, you’ll proudly note that you’re a Roman Catholic (like Congressmen John Murtha and Jason Altmire, as well as yours truly). However, you will under no circumstances talk about how your religious faith has affected your personal or political life. (I will, but they won't.)When you cast a vote in Congress that your constituents might not like, you’ll remain silent about your reasoning on the subject. You’ll maintain extremely close relations with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Party’s far-left leadership, and you’ll vote with them on critical issues.

The exception occurs in cases where your vote isn’t needed, when they’ll let you cast a vote that appears to be “conservative.”You’ll look at your elected office as a lifetime position, and you’ll do everything necessary to retain it. If you’re in Congress, you will never, ever do anything to offend John Murtha, who has a long memory and likes to exact revenge.

If you’re very old (like Murtha), you’ll take younger Democrats under your wing. In fact, during his race against Melissa Hart, Jason Altmire declared that Murtha was his “campaign manager.” Murtha’s Political Action Committee funded a good chunk of money to Altmire, which helped to ensure his vote for Murtha as Democratic Majority Leader.

On an important issue in Pennsylvania – the sanctity of life – Murtha and Altmire must assume their constituents don’t pay much attention. They are both “pro-life,” mainly in the sense that they talk a lot about being . . . pro-life. I call such people "Pro-Life, Inc."It’s true that Murtha voted against the hideous process known as “partial-birth abortion.”

If Altmire had been in Congress, he probably would have done the same. However, when Congress considered a bill providing for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, pro-life Jack Murtha voted for it. So did “pro-life” Jason Altmire. The destruction of viable embryos was okay, as long it didn't come under the heading of "abortion."I

In 1996, Bill Clinton called up John Murtha and asked him to vote for full funding of “family-planning” overseas. Murtha did so. In Congress, “family planning” is a euphemism for abortion.It bothers me greatly that the 30 or so Democrat congressional representatives who claim to be pro-life seem to have absolutely no influence on the vast majority of Democrats in their Party.

Frankly, it also bothers me that other Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy, who list their religion as Roman Catholic can't even bring themselves to vote against something as objectionable as partial-birth abortion. To many Democratic politicians, being "Catholic" is about equivalent to being in the Rotary Club.

On military matters: In his campaign against hawkish Rep. Melissa Hart, Altmire was a hawk. He proclaimed he was against a “timetable” Iraq. He said he would rely on “our commanders on the ground.”

Yet when he got to Congress as a Democrat, Altmire found hawkishness was not exactly in vogue. Murtha voted for an Iraq War timetable, and so did Altmire.

In Franklin D. Roosevelt’s era, there was an a humorous political saying: “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.” In Congress, "as Murtha goes, so goes Altmire."

The porcine Mr. Murtha and his increasingly rotund younger colleague deserve not offices in Congress, but rather places at the buffet table.Isn’t it time send Melissa Hart, a superb human being, back to Congress in the 4th Congressional District? And isn’t it time to elect Lt. Col. William Russell to Congress in the 12th District.

They both need your help.

(A weekend column will be up about midnight on Friday. Thanks for visiting.)

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA 4th Congressional District
("For Murtha and Altmire, no more 'Mr. Nice Steve'")

No comments: