It's clearly time to send people to Congress who actually have first-hand knowledge of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russell, Egland, and Hunter do.
Air Force veteran and former Rhodes Scholar Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico is running for the U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. She's the only female veteran ever elected to Congress. Heather is a staunch supporter of the military and an expert on foreign affairs, especially in the Middle East. She's exactly the kind of person we need to improve the quality of government in DC. You can find her site at:
Every conservative in America needs to look in the mirror, and then reach into his or her wallet and contribute to these fine individuals.
A Vets4Russell web site will be appearing soon, and I urge everyone to visit it. Veterans are a critical constituency for Murtha opponent William T. Russell. There are approximately 50,000 veterans in Russell's 12th Congressional District of PA. We won't get all of them, but we will get the vast majority of them. The damage Murtha has done with his irresponsible comments about Haditha is incalculable.
I'll be one of the contributors to the site.
I also urge everyone to visit the Web site of the only female veteran ever elected to Congress -- Air Force Academcy graduate and Rhodes Scholar Heather Wilson. She's running for the New Mexico Senate seat to replace Sen. Pete Domenici. You can find her at: http://heatherforsenate.com/.
The absolute best way we can "support our troops" is to elect quality people like William Russell and Heather Wilson. Contributing to these fine people is the best step we can take to improve the quality of our government. Please do so today!
The absolutely critical challenge in the Russell Campaign are how to "detach" conservative Democrats from the Murtha column. In the 12th District, there are twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans.
However, many of those Democrats -- up to 45% -- have shown themselves willing to vote for Republican candidates. In 2004, President Bush -- not the most popular figure in PA -- got 49% of the vote against John Kerry. In fact, Bush won Murtha's home county (Cambria).
Murtha's recent statement that "The Surge is working" reflects the fact that he's feeling the "heat" from the Russell Campaign. Many veterans in the district look at Murtha's disgraceful statements about the Haditha Marines and wonder, "Gee, what's wrong with good ole John?" The Russell Campaign needs to convince such people that Murtha has "lost it," that he's more concerned with preserving his own political power than protecting the troops. Many Democrats are beginning to recongize that but they're not quite willing -- yet -- to vote against Murtha.
Of course, Murtha gets conservative votes because many people in the District believe "He brings home the bacon!" As I've pointed out previously -- using Bureau of Labor Statistics data -- Murtha DOES NOT bring home the bacon.
Yes, he does use taxpayer dollars to bring some "captive jobs" to the Johnstown area. However, most of the District remains economically depressed. The median household income in the 12th is one of the lowest in the state -- about the same as inner-city districts in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Do conservative Democrats in the 12th know these things? A growing number do, but a majority still believes that Murtha has done great things for the District.Murtha's focus in the 21st century has been to raise huge amounts of cash for his campaigns.
Until the year 2000 -- and you can find this in OpenSecrets -- his campaign funds were about average, even though he rarely even had any opposition. He's had strong opposition only once in this century, but every two years he raises Brobdinagian funds that are double the congressional average.
In other words, if you want tens of millions in federal handouts ("earmarks") from John Murtha, you'd better be prepared to pony up with huge "donations." Apparentely, the funds get distributed back to various supporters, including his former aide Paul Magliochetti (of the PMA lobbying Group). Magliochetti makes millions from Murtha's actions -- and returns hundreds of thousands in campaign gifts. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has received tens of millions in federal dollars via Murtha.
UPMC, also the former employer of Rep. Jason Altmire, is known for wildly overcharging patients and their insurers. This supposed "non-profit" generated a surplus (i.e., profit) of $460 million in the first nine months of 2007. UPMC has given more than $300,000 to Murtha in this century -- including $100,000 in 2007.
Are most conservative Democrats aware of the strange goings-on with campaign funds?
Apparently, very few of them are. The notion that Murtha is "a good guy" is one of the abiding myths in the 12th District. But grown-ups eventually stop believing in myths.
There are real opportunities here for the Russell Campaign. Murtha's past electoral successes are based on illusions about who he is and what he does.