Longtime Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Johnstown, Pa., is still revered in many circles for speaking out early against the Iraq war. But conservatives think he
Longtime Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Johnstown, Pa., is still revered in many circles for speaking out early against the Iraq war. But conservatives think he might be vulnerable this year because of his recent observation that “there is no question that Western Pennsylvania is a racist area.”
Murtha was explaining why he thought Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, faced a tough fight in that part of the state — though he expected Obama to win Pennsylvania. Later, Murtha inflamed voters even more when he noted that he actually meant to say people in his district were ” redneck” rather than “racist.”
Republicans were quick to jump on his remarks. Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee, cited Murtha’s remarks at a rally this week in Moon, Pa. McCain mangled his delivery a bit, but still managed to declare that “Western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most God-loving, most patriotic part of America.”
I have a particular interest in all this because my hometown is Johnstown, Pa. I wondered how all this was playing out there. So I tapped one of the smartest Pennsylvanians I know — my older brother, Mike. Here’s his reaction:
The trouble is Murtha’s statement was, in his own way, nuanced, and that
makes it easy to take out of context. Second, to defend him is to be on the
There are rednecks here like there are in Idaho and and
Minnesota (hello, insane congresswoman!) and elsewhere. Anybody could say
there are a lot of racists in those areas, but things are getting better, and
basically he was making a true statement. That’s why Murtha shouldn’t have said
it; Murtha is a lightning rod for the right-wing nutbags at this point.
But what do I know? I must hate America.
Last time I was home, I drove past the site in downtown Johnstown where Northrop Grumman is building a facility in a new technology park. Guess who brought that one home.
Despite the enthusiasm over at the National Review for Murtha’s Republican challenger, retired Lt. Col. William Russell, I wonder whether voters really would choose to send Murtha packing for his remarks. Or whether they’ll keep him around to hang on to the high-paying jobs he brings in.
Which, in its way, mirrors some of the conflicts at the center of this year’s presidential campaign.
Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole
John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’
Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?