Monday, February 19, 2007


Nancy's Consigliere

Bob Novak points out that, though Rep. John Murtha may have lost the majority leader election to Steny Hoyer, he is Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorite -- and the point man on the Iraq War political strategy:
Murtha has made clear the nonbinding resolution, whose merely symbolic nature infuriates anti-war activists, was only the "first step." Murtha, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on Defense, did not hide the point of setting standards for training, equipping and resting troops: "They won't have the equipment, they don't have the training and they won't be able to do the work."
Of course, that language -- which is about as "defeatist" as one can imagine -- helped energize the House GOP and was likely the major reason why Republican defections on the resolution were kept at 17, when many predicted as many as 30 would vote to disapprove of the troops surge.

Now, were I an anti-war Democrat, strategically, Murtha is someone I would want out there, figuring out ways to block Bush's plans.

Tactically, however, Murtha is a nightmare: He has this inability to keep his mouth shut. Thus, here he blabs to the MoveOn crowd that this resolution is a "first step" before they move to shut off funds in other areas.

The week before, in "support" of Pelosi's request for an Air Force plane to transport her to and from her district, Murtha blatantly waved the defense appropriations process as a non-subtle threat to the Pentagon.

Add this to his checkered career as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam scandal and his penchant for linking contributions and pork, and it is very easy for the average person to consider Murtha an elected thug and master shakedown artist. But this is the guy that Speaker Pelosi entrusts with coordinating the Iraq war policy?

The polls suggest that Democrats may be where the public is on trying chart a way out of Iraq, but John Murtha is about as horrific a front man as they could find.

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