Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Murtha hardly a role model

I'm not all that sure why the death of Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha was big news, or why the Register felt compelled to do an editorial about him. It's probably because in addition to his role as a wheeler-dealer he was one of the first Congresscritters to come out against the Iraq war, in 2005, and he had his own military history and a history in Congress as an advocate for those in uniform. Thus he had more than average credibility as a war critic.

At least we resisted the impulse not to speak ill of the dead. He was also a legendary pork-barreler and earmarker, and utterly unapologetic about it, taking campaign contributions from contractors and faciuli9tators he directed federal projects to. It was just the ordinary corruption that is much of federal spending, done on a slightly more flamboyant scale. If he had lived much longer he might well have been caught up in an FBI investigation of no-bid military contracts. He was a target of the Abscam sting in the early '80s; He declined a bribe but kept the channel open, so he escaped indictment.

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