I’ve heard alot of stupid excuses made in the process of justifying excessive abuse of the earmark system. Some are mildly amusing. Others are outright howlers. Such is the case with earmark apologist extraordinaire Rep. John Murtha. Here’s how the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted the King of Earmarks:

Mr. Murtha, a 76-year-old Marine veteran schooled in the blunt-knuckle deal-making that defined politics here, is contrition-free when it comes to his success.

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,” Mr. Murtha said. “My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary. Not the bureaucrats who are unelected over there in whatever White House, whether it’s Republican or Democrat. Those bureaucrats would like to control everything. Every president would like to have all the power and not have Congress change anything. But we’re closest to the people.”

Rep. Murtha isn’t close to “the people.” He’s close to the lobbyists. What happens the minute Rep. Murtha stops representing PA-12? Will Pittsburgh’s economy ruen to shambles? I suspect it might.

It’s true that he’s brought short term relief. It’s doubtful, though, whether he’s helped western Pennsylvania develop policies that lead to sustained prosperity. Their prosperity seems to exist only to the extent that the federal government keeps dumping money into the district.

I’ll further take issue with the notion that he’s corrupt only because he’s trying to help the people of PA-12. He’s corrupt because he isn’t a man of integrity.

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