Archive for September, 2006
John Murtha never met an ethical code that he couldn’t rationalize away. That wasn’t more in evidence than in the days leading up to the pro-Murtha Rally. In a Pittsburgh Tribune Review article, Rich Cholodofsky reports that the Westmoreland County Republican Party has uncovered some wrongdoing. Here’s the details on that:
Westmoreland County Republicans on Friday accused county government officials of promoting the campaign of U.S. Rep John Murtha using taxpayer resources. John Panichella, the director of the county’s Veterans Affairs Office, is coordinating a bus trip for this morning’s pro-Murtha rally in Johnstown and doing so from his fifth-floor office in the courthouse, according to Westmoreland GOP Chairman Perry Christopher.
“It’s not proper use of government and it’s not right,” Christopher said. “This is a partisan event, and I don’t think he can use his office like that. It makes it look like the department of Veterans Affairs supports Murtha, and I don’t believe the county can do that.”
Panichella did not dispute the allegations, but said he never viewed his efforts as political. He said representatives from Murtha’s campaign contacted him several weeks ago and asked that he coordinate the bus trip so local veterans could attend the rally. Panichella said no county tax dollars are being used to pay for the bus or any of his organizing activities. “I was organizing veterans in support of John Murtha. It didn’t matter if they were Democrat or Republican,” Panichella said.
On literature promoting the Murtha rally, Panichella is listed as a local contact for veterans who wanted to attend the campaign event. He is identified as head of the county’s Veterans Affairs Office along with a telephone number that rings through to his desk at the courthouse. Panichella said he never cleared his actions through the county’s law department.
Assistant County Solicitor Debra Nicholson said she had no information about the issue nor was she aware if Panichella had violated any county ordinances by promoting political activity while on the job. Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Balya, a Democrat and Murtha supporter, called Panichella’s actions a minor impropriety. “It was an unintentional mistake by Mr. Panichella and it won’t happen again,” Balya said.
How on God’s green earth can’t Mr. Panichella not think that this isn’t an FEC violation? It’s noteworthy that “representatives from Murtha’s campaign contacted him several weeks ago and asked that he coordinate the bus trip so local veterans could attend the rally.” They might’ve had a fig leaf of cover had Murtha’s representatives asked that the VA arrange transportation for both rallies. It wouldn’t have been legal but it would’ve had provided them with a modest bit of cover. They didn’t even do that, possibly because John Murtha thinks of the VA as a bought-and-paid-for arm of the Re-elect John Murtha apparatus.
Let’s hope that Mr. Panichella is fired for using his office to coordinate a major Murtha campaign event. It’s also telling that Murtha and Panichella didn’t hide the fact that “Panichella is listed as a local contact for veterans who wanted to attend the [Murtha] campaign event” and that he’s “identified as head of the county’s Veterans Affairs Office along with a telephone number that rings through to his desk at the courthouse.”
Why shouldn’t we believe that Panichella knew exactly what he was doing and that what he was doing was illegal? The fact that Mr. Balya said that “It was an unintentional mistake by Mr. Panichella and it won’t happen again” tells us that Balya immediately recognized that Mr. Panichella was busted. It’s also apparent that Balya tried downplaying the incident to the media.
Before it sounds like we’re ripping on just Mr. Panichella, let’s also make clear that the lion’s share of the blame belongs to Murtha’s campaign. Based on this information, it’s apparent that they’re the people that initiated the contact. They’re the people that gave Mr. Panichella his marching orders. The fact that Panichella did what he was told doesn’t absolve the Murtha campaign of its rightful share of the blame.
In fact, it shows that John Murtha thought that he’d paid for this service with his ‘pork machine’. Shame on John Murtha for thinking that. It’s just the latest reason why Murtha Must Go.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I just finished reading the transcript from Nick in Daytona’s call into Rush’s Friday show. I’ve gotta say that he’s got it exactly right. Here’s a collection of what “Nick in Daytona” said:
Listen, I am sick and tired of talking about Democrats taking over the Senate and the Democrats when we should be talking about burying these people! We should be talking about a ten-point race in Florida that Katherine Harris can win over Nelson and sending those people home. And the reason why I’m so upset, in about one or two hours, my daughter, the angel of my heart, is going to land in Baghdad, and she’s going to do guard duty. And you want to know something? She’s going to put on a bulletproof vest that Kerry voted against, that he voted against. My joy, the only child I have. That’s all I got to give.
And I’m sick and tired of these people who may sit in a seat in the Senate, but they just simply don’t care about this country. They don’t care about my daughter. They don’t care about me. They’re not willing to make the sacrifices! They want their power. You know what, if we send Bill Nelson home, he’ll have a job as a lobbyist in a month. We don’t have to feel sorry for the Democrats. We don’t have to feel sorry for the moderate Democrats. We need to start winning seats. We need to take more seats. We need to own more of it, because we’re the only people who are serious about fighting this war and winning it and saving our country.
We need to win seats, and we’re going to. America is tired of sitting back and have to go fight with itself and wrestle power in order to make decisions and to do the right thing.
People, I’m betting that that spirit is running through lots of you. I’m betting that you’re already volunteering in local Victory Offices to get your local slate of conservatives elected. I’m betting that you’ve already contributed to Republican candidates. I’m betting that you haven’t seen any of the disgruntled or dispirited Republicans that the Agenda Media has talked endlessly about.
You know why I’m willing to make that bet? Because we know that policy matters. We know that there’s a clear difference between Republicans and Democrats not named Lieberman on the issue of preventing terrorist attacks. We know that most Republicans believe in securing our borders. We know that that won’t happen with Democrats controlling either house of Congress.
Another reason why I’m willing to make that bet is because we know that Democrats aren’t to be taken seriously on the issue of defining the GWOT. How often have we heard the phrase “fight the real war on terror”? How often have we heard about shifting troops “into Afghanistan to capture bin Laden”? How often have we been told, incorectly, that Iraq wasn’t part of the GWOT until we invaded?
That last one is particularly annoying, especially in light of President Bush’s speech on Sept. 20, 2001, where President Bush said that al Qaida was found in 60 countries worldwide.
In light of that information, why should we give any credibility to Democrats who say that there weren’t terrorists in Iraq before we invaded? To believe Democrats’ claims, we’d have to believe that Saddam was an honorable man who wouldn’t know a terrorist if he saw one.
We’d have to not believe that Salman Pak wasn’t a terrorist training facility. We’d have to not believe that Ansar al-Islam was a radical Islamic group. We’d have to believe that Abu Nidal, the man accused of attempting to murder Col. Oliver North, really wasn’t “regarded as the world’s most ruthless terrorist leader” during the late 70’s and early 80’s. We’d have to believe that Abu Abbas, the man who shot Leon Klinghoffer after finding out that the man in the wheelchair was Jewish, then threw him overboard after hijacking the Achille Lauro wasn’t in Iraq at any time.
Forgive me if I don’t believe any of that.
Despite serious differences on immigration policy, does anyone think that a Democrat-controlled House or Senate would vote to build a border fence? There isn’t any doubt that there was a significant movement away from the GOP just prior to the nominating conventions. That’s when it was true that there were significant numbers of conservatives who were dispirited. Now that we’ve looked over that precipice, we’ve sobered up. We’ve decided that casting ‘protest votes’ would be disastrous to the conservative movement and to the nation.
At the end of the day, I think we’re in better shape because there’s more “Nick in Daytona” voters than there are of the moonbat fringe voters.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
The Democratic strategy thus far is heavily reliant on polling, not common sense, playing politics instead of advocating clear, and appealing, policies. Daniel Henninger says that that won’t work and I agree with him.
After the White House released the NIE summary late Tuesday afternoon, reporters reading it for the first time on the Web undoubtedly kept hitting the Page Down button on their PCs. This is it!? Three crummy pages that anyone could have boiled down from a Foreign Affairs “Wither Iraq?” symposium.
The Democrats’ problem is this: They are trying to beat policy with politics and weaken belief with polls. This may work for Social Security. I don’t think it works with war. Don’t be surprised if come November, Democrats are still on message, Iraq as failure, and still in the minority.
It’s telling that the Democratic Party has hitched its wagon so closely to such a nothing report. I’m guessing that they’re still thinking that their media allies will carry the ball after they’ve made the initial allegations. For that strategy to work, they have to rely on you not thinking for yourself, instead taking the word of the NY Times, Washington Post and CBS. That strategy worked before people tied into the internet but it’s an obsolete strategy now.
But at this late stage of the campaign, Iraq-as-failure has become the central narrative in the Democrats’ strategy. A memo sent out to Democrats last week by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a strategy group led by former Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg, discusses Mr. Bush’s “failure in Iraq, which energized Democrats and dispirited Republicans.” It urges Democrats: “On Iraq, stress Bush/GOP ‘mismanagement’ and need for a ‘new direction.'”
Not only have the Democrats hitched their electoral successes to the NIE report but they’ve also hitched their wagon to the hope that lots of people agree with their confusing menu of ‘Get out of Iraq’ policies. There’s a big chance of people voting Republican because of the Democrats’ increasing unseriousness on the terrorism issue. People might disagree with President Bush’s Iraq war policy but they don’t doubt that he’s serious in fighting terrorists. The same can’t be said about Democrats.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I used to think that Jane Harman was serious about fighting the GWOT, but, based on these quotes, it’s apparent that she’s been co-opted, too:
In his criticism, Mr. Bush also singled out members of the Democratic leadership. Referring to “a senior Democrat in Congress” without mentioning her by name, he recalled a recent comment in which Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said: “The president says that fighting them there makes it less likely weâ€™ll have to fight them here. The opposite is true.” The president pointed to Ms. Harmanâ€™s remark as an example of how “some in Washington, some decent people, patriotic people,” think that “we should not be on the offensive in this war on terror.” “History,” he said, “tells us that logic is false.”
Through a spokesman, Ms. Harman said Thursday evening, “If the president reads his own intelligence, he will see that his failed strategy in Iraq is making the terrorist threat more dangerous.”
I used to be impressed with Jane Harman but that changed when I saw her on Fox News Sunday with Newt Gingrich. Harman did her best John Murtha impression and Newt nailed her on it. Since then, Harman’s just gotten less trustworthy, less serious.
How can anyone read the NIE and say that it bolsters the Democrats’ claims without saying that it bolsters the President’s claims much more? Harman’s position is indistinguishable from the Democratic Party’s position, something I find quite telling. Harman says that the President’s Iraq strategy has made “the terrorist threat more dangerous.” For Harman’s statement to be true, we’d need evidence of that. Considering our going 5 years without another terrorist attack after 9/11, it’s impossible for Ms. Harman to offer proof that she’s right.
In fact, since this is an either/or question, not a multiple choice question, her inability to offer proof proves that she’s wrong.
Let’s see if she’s foolish enough to peddle that opinion when she appears on FNS tomorrow with Mr. Newt. If she does, look for Mr. Newt to hit it out of the ballpark.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Democrats walked into the trap that President Bush set for them yesterday by obstructing legislation that would create military tribunals and clarify interrogation techniques on the world’s worst terrorists. Here’s what Charles Hurt is reporting:
Senate Democrats are blocking Republicans from passing several of their top legislative priorities this week, including new border fencing, two of the Bush administration’s key counterterrorism programs and a drastic reduction in the estate tax. “The legislative corner they’ve painted themselves in is very difficult,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV), told reporters yesterday.
Let’s hope that Mr. Reid’s quote is his attempt to spin the subject rather than his belief. I’d hate to think that a US Senator would be stupid enough to think that border enforcement is a losing proposition. I refuse to believe that Reid believes that voters would view establishing military tribunals and codifying what is and isn’t torture as a negative.
Democrats, while accusing Republicans of presiding over a “do-nothing” Congress, are slow-walking legislation but appear unlikely to kill outright any of the security measures as elections approach. Asked yesterday whether Democrats will take advantage of Senate rules that allow lawmakers to demand 30 hours of debate on each bill, Mr. Reid replied: “Well, unless there’s some agreement, we’re going to go ahead and do the 30 hours.”
Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss the point. When they return home to their districts and their states, more people will ask them where they stand on the most important issues of the day than will cheer them for bemoaning a “do nothing congress.” I’d suspect that voters are far more concerned with knowing if a legislator would give the Commander-in-Chief everything he needs to prevent future terrorist attacks than anything else. I’d also bet a tidy sum of cash that more people would view a border fence as a positive than who view it as negative.
It must be nice for President Bush and Mr. Rove to be able to know that Democrats will say and do some really stupid things. Here’s Ms. Pelosi’s official ‘contribution’ to the national security debate:
“It’s been five years since 9/11, yet not one person who has been directly responsible for 9/11 has been prosecuted and punished. There’s something wrong with this picture. And this bill today, because it does violence to the Constitution of the United States, also could produce convictions that may well be overturned because the bill does not heed the instructions from the Supreme Court, a Supreme Court friendly to this Administration, which has directed it to go back to the drawing board.”
Ms. Pelosi’s omitting the most important details from the Supreme Court ruling, that the President couldn’t establish military tribunals without legislation. It didn’t mandate trials for terrorists.
UPDATE: The House just passed the Military Commissions Act.
The House approved an administration-backed system of questioning and prosecuting terrorism suspects yesterday, setting clearer limits on CIA interrogation techniques but denying access to courts for detainees seeking to challenge their imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere. The 253 to 168 vote was a victory for President Bush and fellow Republicans. Bush had yielded some ground during weeks of negotiations, but he fully embraced the language that the House approved with support from 34 Democrats and all but seven Republicans.
This is a stinging defeat for Democrats, who continue to whine about the legislation’s provisions:
The bill “is really more about who we are as a people than it is about those who seek to harm us,” said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD). “Defending America requires us to marshal the full range of our power: diplomatic and military, economic and moral. And when our moral standing is eroded, our international credibility is diminished as well.”
This isn’t the first time Democrats have complained about how our fighting the GWOT with everything that’s available is ruining “our international credibility.” If our choice is acceptance in the ‘world community’ or using techniques that the timid UN finds objectional, then I’m all for letting the world whine. Protecting America is our first priority.
The right way of defeating the enemy is to be more ruthless and barbaric than the enemy. We should resolve that our least important consideration in wartime is what our warrior ways “say about us as a people.”
Frankly, it really bothers me that Democratic politicians put a higher priority on getting along with the world community than they put on protecting the US. When did they take an oath to agree with the world community? Have they forgotten that they swore to protect and defend the US? This isn’t difficult stuff; it’s pretty straightforward.
But Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said: “This is how a nation loses its moral compass, its identity, its values and, eventually, its freedom…We rebelled against King George III for less restrictions on liberty than this.”
I can’t believe that Jerry Nadler said something this stupid. He’s saying that our not granting terrorists the same rights that we give criminals is as heinous as King George’s oppression of free people? This is what passes for thinking on the Democratic side of the aisle? Figuring out the thought process of a liberal is downright torturous. He’s essentially saying that passing this legislation puts us on a slippery slope to anarchy. To say that the Democrats’ thinking on this is breathtakingly alarming isn’t hyperbole.
Follow this link to read the Roll Call vote.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I’d imagine that this hasn’t been a good year for Hugh Hewitt’s considering how his Indians were crushed by the Minnesota Twins this season, Texas defeated Ohio State on their way to the national championship. Now he’s learned that the RNC has chosen the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center to host the 2008 Republican National Convention instead of Cleveland.
By choosing the Twin Cities for 2008, the GOP will ensure plenty of news converge in media markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, all battleground states in the 2004 election and ones expected to be competitive in the next presidential race. Minnesota had been seen by some as an unlikely host, with just 10 electoral votes and the nation’s longest streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates.
As Ms. Sidoti notes, putting the Convention in the Xcel Energy Center brings a major focus on the battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. President Bush won Iowa and came within 11,000 votes of winning in Wisconsin. I’m one of several bloggers who think this was actually much tighter than the vote shows because of the strong likelihood of a significant voter fraud operation by ACT in Wisconsin.
All kidding aside, I think this is a wise choice for 2008. The region has been getting redder with each passing day, partially because of the success of GOP politicians like Mark Kennedy, Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty, partially because of the Democrats’ pandering to the extremist left in their party.
I suspect that another major consideration is the Xcel Energy Center’s being a state of the art venue, often being touted as the premier indoor sporting facility in the nation. It’s also a nice setting for Sen. Coleman, who helped win state support for the building while he was St. Paul’s mayor. Sen. Coleman will be up for re-election that fall, too.
Congratulations to the RNC for picking the Twin Cities for their next national convention. They simply couldn’t have picked a better place.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Just when Democrats start mounting an offensive based on what they’d like the NIE to confirm, President Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani strike back at Democrats’ assertions. Here’s how President Bush hit back:
But at the White House, the president called critics who say the Iraq war was a mistake “naive.” “I think it’s a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe,” he said. He also took issue with the conclusion that the Iraq war is responsible for creating new terrorists, saying that those who “see a rosier scenario with fewer extremists joining the radical movement” if not for the Iraq war are ignoring 20 years of history.
“We weren’t in Iraq when we got attacked on September 11. We weren’t in Iraq when thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps,” Mr. Bush said. “We weren’t in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. We weren’t in Iraq when they bombed the Cole. We weren’t in Iraq when they blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.”
This fits nicely with Dr. Rice’s statement:
“Now that we’re fighting back, of course they are fighting back, too. I find it just extraordinary that the argument is, all right, so they’re using the fact they’re being challenged in the Middle East and challenged in Iraq to recruit, therefore you’ve made the war on terrorism worse. It’s as if we were in a good place on Sept. 11. Clearly, we weren’t.”
Logically speaking, Democrats’ assertions that we’re worse off now in fighting terrorists must be based on the assumption that Iraq and Afghnanistan were islands of tranquility. 9/11 tore down that illusion and have forced us to see things clearly for the first time in 30 years. As students of the international jihadist movement will tell you, jihadists declared war on the US in 1979. It just took 9/11 to bring us to the sober conclusion that they were a threat we could no longer ignore.
Here’s how President Talabani responded:
“The American presence has always prevented any kind of foreign invasion to Iraq,” Talabani said. “That’s one of the main reasons why we think that we need an American presence, even symbolical, in the country to prevent our neighbors attacking us,” he said at a forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think thank.
I’d defy Democrats to say that they won’t take Talabani’s words to heart, especially since he isn’t begging for thousands of troops to stay there indefinitely. He’s merely saying that having an American presence, even a symbolic one, gives the bad guys pause. I don’t think we can tell a steadfast ally that we won’t work with them in securing their country. That’s hardly the right signal to send to the region.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Am I talking about Amy Klobuchar’s answers on the Global Solutions questionnaire or am I refering to Pelosi’s and Reid’s statement on a “new direction”? The answer is C; all of the above. Let’s first examine Amy Klobuchar’s most egregious answer in the questionnaire:
6a. Do you believe that an independent bipartisan commission should be set up to investigate U.S. interrogation policies?
Yes. I’ve always believed in leading by example, we must ensure that the example we set for the world meets the highest moral, ethical and legal standards. Torture sets a bad example and puts our own troops in danger as a result. Furthermore, torture is ineffective, it produces faulty intelligence that may undermine our domestic security.
6b. Would you be willing to call for its creation publicly?
Does Ms. Klobuchar think that the legislation currently pending action before Congress is inadequate? Or is she saying that Democrats support endless investigations into this administration in hopes of creating a favorable political climate for 2008? Or is this simply what her Nutroots fringe puppetmasters demand of Democrats these days?
This raises other question like:
- How would Ms. Klobuchar’s policies would make us safer if she isn’t willing to let the CIA use their most effective (productive?) interrogation techniques? and
- Is she pandering to Global Solutions for a campaign contribution or if she agrees with them?
It’s hypocritical that Ms. Klobuchar would say that she “always believed in leading by example” in light of her secretive behavior during this current scandal. If she believes in “leading by example”, why hasn’t she fired all of her staffers that viewed the stolen Kennedy advertisement? Wouldn’t that be seen as handling lawbreakers “without fear or favor”?
In fact, wouldn’t answering the many questions about what happened set a good example of forthrightness? Wouldn’t that prove that she’s got nothing to hide? You can’t set a better example than that.
Now let’s look at the Pelosi-Reid statement:
Yesterday’s release of three pages of the National Intelligence Estimate that state plainly that the Bush Administration’s failed strategy in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism and made America less safe lays bare the need for a Congress that won’t simply rubber stamp failed White House policies.
How much longer will Democrats try peddling this nonsense? As I posted here, there’s more in the NIE’s key findings that strengthens President Bush’s belief that staying in Iraq makes us safer than strengthens Democrats’ claims that it’s making us weaker.
While it’s aggravating listening or reading this stuff, the upside to it is that it’s destroying their credibility on the most important issue of our generation, which can’t help them this November.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Howard Dean’s statements are nothing if not boisterous. Here’s an example of Dean’s rantings:
“Now that President Bush has heeded Democrats call to declassify the NIE report, the American people can decide on its merits for themselves. Facts are stubborn things.
“And unfortunately the Bush Administration has repeatedly chosen to ignore the facts when they’re inconvenient, and make them up when they don’t support their rigid ideology. This is no way to run a country or a war. It’s telling that President Bush failed to say whether there were White House meetings on Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks, but unfortunately this is one of many questions left answered about the lead up to the war in Iraq.
“Nothing changes the fact that President Bush’s failed leadership and war of choice in Iraq have made us less safe and hampered our ability to fight and win the global war on terror. Democrats want a new direction for our country and will fight the war on terror based on the facts and guidance from our military and intelligence officials.”
After skimming through the NIE’s key findings, it’s obvious that Dean’s yapping is more worrisome than the report. Dean says that President Bush ignores “the facts when they’re inconvenient” but I don’t hear him touting this from the NIE:
Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qaâ€™ida, could erode support for the jihadists.
In other words, the NIE thinks that democracies that have codified freedom of religion and freedom of speech into their constitutions would “alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit.” I wonder why Dean’s party doesn’t adopt as policy the creation of a pluralistic Iraqi democracy.
Here’s something else that the Democratic Party hasn’t mentioned:
The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
In other words, it’s the consensus agreement within the intelligence community that defeating the terrorists in the Muslim world would deal the terrorists a severe blow, both in capability, support and morale. Dean is right. Facts are stubborn things. Appearing on Special Report’s roundtable, Charles Krauthammer characterized the report as a “On the one hand, on the other hand” report. Based on what I’ve read, I’d say that’s exactly how I’d characterize it.
It’s far from being the smoking gun that Nancy Pelosi said it was. The only person who could say that this proves that Democrats are right and Republicans are wrong is someone spinning this beyond recognition.
Here’s another Dean ‘masterpiece’:
“The Bush administration said we need to take the fight to the terrorists ‘over there’ so they don’t attack us here at home, but this intelligence report essentially confirms what Democrats have been saying for months: the war in Iraq has actually made us less safe right here at home. The administration has not only repeatedly misled the American people about the war in Iraq; we now know their failed policies have exacerbated the terrorist threat around the globe. And as the midterm elections near, the administration expects the American people to trust them to handle the war in Iraq and the war on terror. What they don’t seem to understand is that they have lost all credibility with the American people.”
In one way, Dean’s got the easiest job in the world. No matter what the issue is, Dean can ignore facts and information and say whatever he wants because his diatribes are fact free. How would you like a job where you could make things up and not lose your job over it?
After reading the NIE’s key findings, it’s dishonest to say that the NIE “confirms what Democrats have been saying for months: the war in Iraq has actually made us less safe right here at home.” In fact, it’s far more condemnatory to the Democratic position of not seeing the mission through in Iraq. How can Dean read “Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit…” and tell us that this argues for pulling out of Iraq? Gov. Dean obviously hasn’t learned that facts are stubborn things.
For all his bluster, he’s no closer to convincing the American people that the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq is hampering the US’s ability to prosecute the GWOT. For that matter, he hasn’t convinced voters that the Bush administration’s decisions to implement the NSA intercept program and their use of the Patriot Act and other programs are “failed policies.”
Serious people know better than to believe Dean’s assertions that President Bush’s policies are that misguided. If the President’s policies were as misguided as Gov. Dean suggests, we wouldn’t have stayed attack-free for 5 years like we have. We wouldn’t have captured as many HVT’s as we have. We wouldn’t have thwarted as many terrorist plots as we have.
That isn’t opinion; that’s fact.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Diana Irey has asked the US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania to start an investigation to “determine whether or not Congressman Jack Murtha violated the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 by accepting campaign contributions in exchange for placing earmarked appropriations into legislation he is largely responsible for drafting and pushing to passage.”
Unfortunately, John Murtha isn’t the first congressman to get a campaign contribution after voting for a special interest group’s favorite earmark. That isn’t what this investigation appears to be about, though:
“Specifically, CREW cited a pattern of abuse regarding Congressman Murtha’s fundraising practices; essentially, they argue that he trades federal contracts, loans, and grants for campaign contributions, in violation of federal law. CREW cites two former Murtha staffers as key players in Jack Murtha’s triangle of influence, men who, after working for the Congressman for years on the Appropriations Committee, now engage in lucrative lobbying businesses, representing clients who seek federal contracts, loans, and grants.
If this information is accurate, then this is as corrupt as anything that Duke Cunningham ever did. That’s as corrupt as it gets. Unlike John Murtha’s convicting the Haditha Marines before the investigation is complete, I’ll wait to find out what the investigation determines before pronouncing judgment.
It’s one thing to vote for earmarks. It’s another to trade vote on those earmarks for campaign contributions. If that isn’t illegal, then that’s proof that incumbents like John Murtha have a slush fund mechanism constantly at their avail. I know there’s a saying that incumbency has its privileges but I’d hope that a legalized slush fund isn’t what they’re talking about.
Here’s something else that Diana Irey cited:
“‘Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for ten years,’ says the report. ‘After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the prominent Washington, DC defense lobbying firms. In the current campaign cycle, the PMA Group and 11 of the firm’s clients rank in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made contributions totaling $274,649. In the 2002 and 2004 cycles, PMA and nine of the firm’s clients ranked in the top 20 contributors, having made $236,799 in contributions and $279,074, respectively. ‘In turn, many of PMA’s clients have benefited significantly from Rep. Murtha’s earmarks. In the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill, PMA clients received at least 60 earmarks at a total of $95.01 million.’
“Stop and think about that for a moment. Over the last six years, officials and clients of the PMA Group have contributed roughly $800,000 to Congressman Murtha’s campaign fund. In return, they have received at least $95 million in federal contracts, loans, and grants. That’s a better than 100-to-1 return on investment.”
The more you learn about John Murtha, the more you realize about Washington’s corrupting powers. That’s just another reason why Murtha Must Go.
Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go