A damn shame:
Veteran Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Pa.) has sent out a last-minute plea for $1 million to save his hotly contested seat, endangered by his own remarks describing his district as racist.
In an e-mail sent to potential donors, Murtha’s campaign asked his supporters to maximize all campaign contributions.
“We need to raise another $1 million to compete,” his campaign fundraiser Susan O’Neill wrote in the e-mail obtained by The Hill. “We need money immediately.”
O’Neill blamed Republicans from outside Pennsylvania for Murtha’s problems. Polls show Murtha, running for his 18th term, ahead of his GOP opponent by just a few percentage points.
“Congressman Murtha is in a brutal reelection campaign,” O’Neill wrote. “The Swift Boaters have put up a candidate from Virginia and have raised millions of dollars against Congressman Murtha. In addition, other 527s and the [National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)] have spent millions to smear Congressman Murtha on TV, radio and in newspapers.”
Smear the Congressman? He has picked up the tar bucket and repeatedly poured the contents all over his own constituents.
Murtha’s race appeared to tighten after he called his western Pennsylvania district a “racist area.” After apologizing, he added more fuel to the fire by saying the district was, until recently, “really redneck.”
Murtha’s comments have been widely repeated, and the congressman was even parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”
In a fundraising e-mail sent on Thursday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) asked her own supporters to help Murtha. “In Pennsylvania, my good friend John Murtha — a strong supporter for me during the primaries and an important voice against the war in Iraq — is depending on your help to win,” Clinton wrote.
Just when I was thinking somewhat kindly toward Sen. Clinton, in the aftermath of her regal shafting by the Obama campaign, she supports this embarrassment to our government? It gets better:
Murtha is the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee. He has been very successful in the federal earmarking process, ranking as the highest recipient of earmarks in the defense appropriations bill.
His earmarks have revitalized Johnstown, the largest city in his district, and defense companies have opened offices and facilities throughout the region he represents. source
Ah, yes, Johnstown. Famous for “500 year” flooding which has occurred in 1889, 1894, 1907, 1924, 1936, and 1977. Murtha can hardly take credit for the revitalization of Johnstown as the Pennsylvania taxpayers have been footing the bill for seven decades:
As a result of the damage from the 1936 flood, the Pennsylvania General Assembly imposed an emergency tax on all alcohol sold in the Commonwealth. The “temporary” 10% tax was initially intended to help pay for clean up, recovery, and assistance to flood victims. The tax was never repealed and in 1963 the tax was raised to 15% and again in 1968 to 18% (not including the statewide 6% sales tax). The nearly $200 million collected annually no longer goes to flood victims, however, instead going into the general fund for discretionary use by lawmakers. source
Oops. Welcome to the wonderful world of Pennsylvania politics, where earmarked “temporary taxes” never go away and instead are diverted to “discretionary use.” Where a candidate for office calls his constituents (aka voters) “racist” and “redneck” and the same candidate takes credit for the revitalization of an area that the taxpayers pay toward with the purchase of every bottle of wine or liquor in the overpriced and tiny state monopolized “Wine and Spirit” shops. Where, if you have a few dollars left in your wallet after paying federal, state, and local taxes, you might be able to afford a cheap bottle of wine – if you can afford the sales tax calculated on top of a decades old temporary tax. It’s long past time for change in Pennsylvania, starting with John Murtha.