John Murtha

Charles Rangel, Charlatan
September 04, 2009

The most up-to-date on-line bulletin Congressman Rangel produces for his constituents has a photograph of him being patted on the cheek by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Its latest dated item is August 28. But Rangel is now in such deep doodoo that not even Ms. Pelosi, who has a very high tolerance level for shmootz (see Jason Zengerle's article about Murthaville and John Murtha in the last hard-copy edition of TNR or in this space), will not be showing her affections for Harlem's representative to Congress any time soon. Still, she also can't bring herself to dump him.

The City That Pork Built
September 04, 2009

In today's The Wall Street Journal, Tyler Grimm takes a trip to Johnstown, PA, where he reports despondently on the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, which services roughly 30 people a day and has received over $130 million in federal assistance over the course of 20 years thanks to earmarking efforts of Representative John Murtha. It's easy to condemn Murtha a corrupt pork-barreler. But as Jason Zengerle argues in his recent piece for The New Republic, Johnstown has become dependent on Murtha's earmarks and defense contracts.

September 01, 2009

Congressman John Murtha passed away today. Below, you'll find a recent magazine feature that we ran on him--and the town he represented for 36 years. One night last August, John Murtha, the U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania’s Twelfth Congressional District, paid a visit to the LBK Game Ranch, a private hunting camp in the hills above his home city of Johnstown. About 60 people had gathered in the ranch’s lodge--a luxury five-bedroom log cabin decorated with deer antlers and flat-screen televisions--to raise money for his 2008 campaign. There were two odd things about the event.

Murtha Caves On F-22
July 22, 2009

This would be akin to Henry Waxman declaring health care reform dead: “When the Senate said 58 to 40, I think that ended the debate,” said Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee. “We have to be realistic about this.” The vote on whether to extend money to the F-22 emerged as a crucial test for President Obama, who personally vowed to veto any defense bill that contained money to extend the fighter program.

If John Murtha Loses, Do We Care?
October 27, 2008

It takes terrible luck or astonishing talent for a congressional Democrat to be endangered this year. Still, there are a half-dozen Democrats who really could lose their seats a week from tomorrow. On the bad-luck end, there's Nick Lampson, the Texan who replaced Tom DeLay in 2006 and who'll probably get bumped out again thanks to the district's deep-rooted conservatism. There's Louisiana's Don Cazayoux, a conservative Democrat who won a special election only to see another Democrat enter the November race as an independent spoiler.

Knowledge Gap
April 30, 2007

Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. But, when Nancy Pelosi confessed last year that she felt "sad" about President Bush's claims that Al Qaeda operates in Iraq, she seemed to be disputing what every American soldier in Iraq, every Al Qaeda operative, and anyone who reads a newspaper already knew to be true. (When I questioned him about Pelosi's assertion, a U.S. officer in Ramadi responded, incredulously, that Al Qaeda had just held a parade in his sector.) Perhaps the House speaker was alluding to the discredited claim that Al Qaeda operated in Iraq before the war. Perhaps.

The Murtha Plan
February 14, 2007

The Politico gets wind of John Murtha's new plan to scale down the war in Iraq without actually cutting off funds: Murtha... will seek to attach a provision to an upcoming $93 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. It would restrict the deployment of troops to Iraq unless they meet certain levels adequate manpower, equipment and training to succeed in combat.

Character Flaw
January 23, 2006

Roughly three years, 2,000 American deaths, $200 billion, and no functioning government later, the Bush administration has finally laid out its plan for victory in Iraq. And the plan is ... humility. I'm not kidding. Last month, The Washington Post reported that top White House advisers have concluded that the key to regaining public support for the war is to adopt a more humble approach—for the president to be "more open in admitting mistakes" and to weave "the humility theme" into speeches.

December 12, 2005

Once upon a time, the Democratic family consisted of two basic types of politicians--those who supported the Iraq war and those who were against it. As the war dragged on and the political climate changed, however, varied new species began to evolve, with all manner of ideas and opinions about the occupation. For months, these different Democratic factions lived more or less in harmony. But Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha's dramatic call last month for a fast U.S. exit from Iraq was like a climate-altering asteroid event.