November 15, 2006

Remembering Abscam... and why Murtha shouldn't be majority leader.

Ruth Marcus reminds us:
"I'm not interested -- at this point," he says of the dangled bribe. "You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't, you know." Indeed, he acknowledges, even though he needs to be careful -- "I expect to be in the [expletive] leadership of the House," he notes -- the money's awfully tempting. "It's hard for me to say, just the hell with it."

This is John Murtha, incoming House speaker Nancy Pelosi's choice to be her majority leader, snared but not charged in the Abscam probe in 1980. "The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history," Pelosi pledged on election night. Five days later she wrote Murtha a letter endorsing his bid to become her No. 2.
I hadn't remembered that. My objection to Murtha as a leader is based on an opinion I formed watching him on "Meet the Press" back in June. I just don't think he's mentally with it at all. He was embarrassingly inarticulate and confused.

68 comments:

Der Hahn said...

A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives

November 14th, 2006

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

-big snip. Read the rest here.-

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

-snip-

Signed,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

MadisonMan said...

Geeze, he's not inarticulate at all for an 80-year old! I'm wondering how many small strokes he's had, and how many parts of his brain are dead.

This is a horrible choice. Where does a person go who is for small non-corrupt government that doesn't intrude into your house, and a strong defense?

The sandcastle hopes I had for the Democratic Party are slowly being eroded by the incoming tide of Democrats with Seniority. Thanks for nothing Nancy.

David said...

der hahn, bitte;

They were speaking of Republicans not Democrats!

Pelosi and Reid are predictable! Reid will have his Las Vegas deal hanging over his head for the next two years while Pelosi is dazzling in her ill-fated backing of disgraced Marine Murtha and Alcee (have gavel will travel) Hastings!

With $250 dollar a month haircuts at the spa can we really expect she will represent the hoi polloi who trim their own bangs and go to supercuts?

Moore is a putz!

Tim said...

Make the Democrats be Democrats.

Murtha for Majority Leader!

Corrupt defeatist for the price of one - handpicked by Grandmama Pelosi!

I'm with Menchen - democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

I agree Ann, he's not that sharp.

Here's an interview with him that I heard on NPR. You can just forward to the end, at about 6:30 minutes elapsed. He gets on a riff about how the "people have spoken" so the republicans need to lie down and be quiet. The interviewer mentions that this is not what democrats did any time they lost an election. It's kind of a softball, but you can practically hear the alarms in his head blaring "DOES NOT COMPUTE".

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6455096

Bruce Hayden said...

I find it interesting that there is a significant chance right now that the party that won power in the last election running against a Culture of Corruption has a decent chance at putting two of the more corrupt politicians as its two Majority leaders: Murtha in the House and Reid in the Senate.

Today's WSJ article by John Fund titled 'Meet the New Boss: John Murtha and Congress's "culture of corruption"' is must reading about Murtha and his claims that he is being Swiftboated. Of course, if you accept that the Swiftboaters were the ones telling the truth, then maybe he is right.

Fund paints a dark picture of Tip O'Neil shutting down the Abscam investigations in the House in order to protect some of his Representatives, notably Murtha.

Bruce Hayden said...

Der Hahn

We shall see how true Moore is to his words, if both Murtha and Reid are elected Majority Leaders. My guess is that this will be quietly swept under the rug by him and his supporters.

Doyle said...

He was embarrassingly inarticulate and confused.

Sounds like your favorite president.

I'm not a big Murtha fan. Anti-abortion, pro-pork, etc. But unless he's broken any laws recently, I don't see how Steny Hoyer is any great improvement.

Bruce Hayden said...

Doyle

That seems close to an admission that the Democrats' attacks on the Culture of Corruption were mostly psychological projection.

Richard Fagin said...

Did you also not remember that likely future House Intelligence Committee chair Alcee Hastings was a federal judge that was removed from office for acceting bribes in lopsided votes of both House and Senate.

The "culture of corruption" applies to both sides of the aisle.

Pogo said...

Corruption amongst the Democrats already? This must be a new record; they haven't even taken the reins yet, and they've gone straight to the bottom.

I can see why people trusted them on Iraq.

Sloanasaurus said...

The sandcastle hopes I had for the Democratic Party are slowly being eroded by the incoming tide of Democrats with Seniority. Thanks for nothing Nancy.

The differences will be very pronounced if Republicans pick Mike Pence as their leader - a 45 year old who has only been in congress for 6 years. Contrast him with Pelosi/Murtha/ Dingell/Rangle/Conyers/, where the average age is 75 and the life spend in COngress is 35.

Then ask which party is for change.

Tim said...

Some pigs are more corrupt than other pigs, with apologies to Orwell.

Doug said...

Doyle, so this abscam involvement doesn't bother you because he wanted a bribe in 1980?

Besides, Dems blast republicans for doing things that are sleazy, but still legal. Murtha represents what democrats claim to be against, yet the election is only a week in the past and they appoint one of the most corrupt (according to a liberal watchdog group) members to the second slot.

If Murtha was this corrupt as a backbencher in the minority party, what the hell is he going to do with real power?

Tim said...

"Then ask which party is for change."

They don't want change in that sense; they want want change in higher taxes, more regulation of the private economy, marriage for all, socialized medicine and, most of all, defeat in Iraq.

Corruption? Small price to pay for that Demomas List...

MadisonMan said...

Then ask which party is for change.

The Republicans do seem to have learned a lesson from the election that the Democrats seemingly have not.

I'm still hopeful, though, that when the Legislation starts rolling out in January, Grandma Pelosi (sorry Ann) will show that she learned something.

knoxgirl said...

I was truly shocked when I heard he is a contender for the leadership, and that Pelosi is putting her weight behind him. Jeez, could they choose anyone worse, on so many levels...

knoxgirl said...

*Is the pledge from Michael Moore supposed to be taken seriously or was it meant in jest? Either way, thanks for the chuckle!

Icepick said...

The sandcastle hopes I had for the Democratic Party are slowly being eroded by the incoming tide of Democrats with Seniority. Thanks for nothing Nancy.

Those Dems with seniority were a large part of the "culture of corruption" that led to the Republican takeover of the house 12 years ago. I don't recall any of them having the proverbial "come to Jesus" moment of conversion for their past sins, so there's no reason for anyone to be surprised by this. Nothing's new, we've just traded one group of crooks and liars for another.

knoxgirl said...

I used to be against term limits, based on the logic of, well, let people have as much choice as possible. If they want to keep electing the same guy, it's their right.

In the last couple years, I've flipped and am totally for term limits because it seems like the worst of the worst are the ones who've been there the longest.

George said...

"Inarticulate and confused"?

That's what some have long said about the President.

I think if you're not confused and inarticulate about today's world situation you truly have not been paying attention.

Tim said...

"I was truly shocked when I heard he is a contender for the leadership, and that Pelosi is putting her weight behind him. Jeez, could they choose anyone worse, on so many levels..."

Shocked? Really? I'm sorry, but you must be awfully naive to think they'd do any better than this. And, respectfully, I think you're off by 180 - I don't think they are remotely capable of choosing anyone better, on so many levels.

The only two remaining things slightly interesting to be seen are how much does the media go after this (I'm betting not much) and what is his winning vote margin (I'm betting large enough to be embarrassing to those Dems capable of being embarrassed).

Then they'll get busy trying to force the President to withdraw from Iraq in defeat and hand our enemies a huge, undeserved victory in their war against us.

tjl said...

"Jeez, could they choose anyone worse, on so many levels..."

How about Alcee Hastings?

Bruce Hayden said...

Ruth Marcus points out that Pelosi is the one now in a lose-lose situation here. If she wins this, and Murtha wins the spot, then one of the first things that she will be seen to have done is to put one of the worst offenders in the 2nd spot in the House. But if Murtha loses to Hoyer, then she will be seen as weak.

Marcus goes on to say that she had thought that Pelosi's first big test was going to be Hastings. She admits that she was wrong. Of course, Pelosi can still screw that one up too, for her second big mistake. Not good for the first woman in this position.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that the concerns about the public impression of women in high office being diminished by Pelosi's first actions as Speaker-to-be were Ruth Marcus', not mine. This is not one of those things I stay up late worrying about.

Tim said...

"Ruth Marcus points out that Pelosi is the one now in a lose-lose situation here."

This might be right, but only amongst swing voters who pay attention and remember this two years from now. Otherwise, almost all Dems won't care, especially if she forces defeat in Iraq, and Reps don't count, as we all know now.

Goesh said...

- especially alarming are some of his ideas of deploying troops to far away places, shelving them there then embarking them on 'approved' missions as needed. Imagine the logistical costs of getting our troops to such places, away from their homes and families. Imagine the billions needed to build basic infrastructure and the billions needed to maintain them in a passive state. Imagine all the lost civilian jobs here in the states. One wonders how many of his own men he got killed in 'Nam and how many attempts were made to frag his dumb ass.

Tim said...

The snart move (yeah, I know, a reach...) for Pelosi and other Dems wanting to distance themselves from the obvious problems resulting from Murtha as Majority Leader would be for him to withdraw from the race.

But that won't likely happen, as she's too indebted to him for her position; she hates Steny Hoyer and working with him day to day would maker her Speakership miserable; Murtha is passionately adored by the "Let's lose in Iraq NOW!" crowd; Murtha has waited far too long to be first in line to feed at the trough.

So really, the only questions left unanswered are: will the media turn up the heat to save the dopey Dems from themselves and, failing that, how large will Murtha's winning margin be?

Tim said...

Strike the n and amend in m in the previous post.

Bruce Hayden said...

I always thought that Murtha's suggestion to reposition our troops to Okinawa should have disqualified him for anything. If he had looked on a map, he would have seen that that using the most direct flights, Europe would still be a lot closer, and if you consider that the direct flights would go over such allies as the PRC, Iran, etc., you soon realize that a plausible flight path would be almost equivalent to bringing them back to the U.S. Of course, he does have a point, they would still technically be in Asia.

But it also showed an amazing ignorance of the political situation in Okinawa. The people there aren't really happy with the level of the military that we have there now, and we are downsizing our presence there as a result. I am sure that another 140,000 U.S. troops there would play well in Okinawa, and, maybe more importantly, in Japan. Actually, the reality is that we couldn't do it, without burning up a lot of international political capital. And, maybe not even then.

Internet Ronin said...

According to a news report I read yesterday, Jack Abramoff continues to name names and is now singing like a canary about 6-8 Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

The more things change....

Anonymous said...

The Republicans do seem to have learned a lesson from the election that the Democrats seemingly have not.

No, I don't think they've learned anything either. They'll be choosing the same atrophied fossils to lead their party. The only hope now is for the emergence of a rational third party. The time is ripe, IMHO.

I'm still hopeful, though, that when the Legislation starts rolling out in January, Grandma Pelosi (sorry Ann) will show that she learned something.

Your unfounded yet boundless optimism is inspiring! I hope you're right, but I have serious doubts.

Anonymous said...

"Then ask which party is for change."

They both are -- 10s and 20s are preferred. Larger bills are too noticiable anymore.

Personally, I like the way Mike Huckabee is leaving the Governor's mansion in Little Rock. To help with his move into a 7,000 square foot home, friends created a "wedding registry" so they could legally stock the house with "wedding gifts" (which are conveniently exempted from donation rules).

That kind of corruption takes not only chutzpah but planning. Anyone can take a suitcase full of money; it's the little touches like this that show you care.

RogerA said...

I had hoped both parties would have gotten the message on corruption--The latest news squib has Jack Abramoff talking about 6 to 8 "seriously corrupt" democratic senators. On the Republican side, Trent (pork supporter) Lott is running for Whip and the Boehner/Hastert "leadership" team is making waves in the house.

And as a medicare card carrying old guy--whats with these damn length verification words! Its age discrimination!

It looks to me that with respect to corruption, neither party learned anything. What a travesty.

hdhouse said...

ann wrote:
"My objection to Murtha as a leader is based on an opinion I formed watching him on "Meet the Press" back in June. I just don't think he's mentally with it at all. He was embarrassingly inarticulate and confused."

I don't remember Bush being on meet the press....oh you were talking about Murtha..hmmmm. Fooled me.

When you judge inarticulate and confused I can think of dozens who fit that bill...but of course, Ann has no agenda.

It bothers me that you are teaching...someone might publish a book about the 100 most dangerous professors someday...but of course you don't have an agenda in your classroom do you ann. ha.

SteveR said...

I still think the Republicans did a fine job losing the midterm elections all by themselves and it had very little to do with what the Democrats said they would do different.

They will do nothing different except being in charge, it will draw more scrutiny. Only a fool would expect anything better from Reid, Pelosi, et al.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the answer on corruption is that ultimately they will get the message. The Republicans lost this time partially because of the alleged "Culture of Corruption", just to see the Democrats put the same corrupt politicians back in positions of power. And in two years, this will likely come home to roost.

But, if the Republicans can't clean up their own house after their recent election debacle, they don't deserve to get power back, and most likely won't. They need to clean up their own side of the isle. And if they can, they can win in 2008, because more and more, this is what the voters are looking at.

Internet Ronin said...

Bruce: My bet: They won't. And they won't. But I'm an optimist ;-)

Jim Hu said...

Doyle:
But unless he's broken any laws recently, I don't see how Steny Hoyer is any great improvement.
Gee, it's pretty bad in the Dem caucus when you have to break the law to be viewed as competitive for the leadership. [wink]

RogerA said...

Jim Hu: you suppose the new standard for "non-corrupt" is to "not have broken any laws recently?" ;)

Anthony said...

Ach, Abscam won't hurt Murtha very much and neither will Hastings' transgressions. The media will point out loudly and often that it's all ancient history and that it's unfair to judge them on it now. They seem to have dropped Reid's problems pretty quickly.

No worries; the media will cover for them as usual.

Anonymous said...

Doyle:
But unless he's broken any laws recently, I don't see how Steny Hoyer is any great improvement.
.

Ironic, isn't it, that Doyle would be the first to bring up the 30+ year old allegations of Bush being AWOL from the TANG given the slimmest of opportunities. Clearly recency of the offense is yet another of his sliding standards.

Mike said...

"Vote for me! I haven't broken any laws recently!"

Has a nice ring to it.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

Meh...Hate to pull the plug on the gloatfest but we just re-installed Lott as Minority Leader.

So much for learning a valuable lesson.

Odds for Pence/Shaddeg look pretty long now.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

Apologies, That should read Minority Whip.

MadisonMan said...

Hate to pull the plug on the gloatfest but we just re-installed Lott as Minority Leader.

Democrats: Vote for Me, I haven't broken laws in a decade!

Republicans: Vote for Me, I haven't insulted a Minority Group lately!

What a bunch of idiots. Don't blame me -- I voted against the incumbent in the House and Senate races here in Madison.

johnstodderinexile said...

When you judge inarticulate and confused I can think of dozens who fit that bill...but of course, Ann has no agenda.

hdhouse, I assume you're a partisan Democrat who hopes for the party's long-term success. So why the hell are you defending the choice of Murtha? Do you not get that the entire reason Ann and others are bringing up Murtha's massive shortcomings is because he is being put up for an important job in the new Democrat House?

It's about Murtha's qualifications for that job. It's about his ability to effectively promote the Democratic agenda. It's about whether the furtherance of that agenda will be thrown off track by the distractions of Murtha's past corruption, sleazy earmarking habits and tendency to put his foot in his mouth. (Example: He wants the "strategic redeployment" of our Iraq troops to... Okinawa! Yes, he said that, on TV.)

If you were a Republican plant, a Rovian robot determined to deprive the Democrats of the fruits of their victory and to make sure it was not repeated in 2008, you couldn't serve your evil masters better than by seeing to it Murtha gets this job.

Garage Mahal said...

I just don't think he's mentally with it at all. He was embarrassingly inarticulate and confused

Certainly no more confused and inarticulate than our last SecDef. Murtha was being regularly fed info from our military, on what was happening in Iraq. Why was that?

Americans didn't vote on the mushy talking points of Steny Hoyer, that's for sure. By the way, Mutha is the biggest national security hawk in the Democratic caucus.

Mike said...

MadisonMan: "Don't blame me -- I voted against the incumbent in the House and Senate races here in Madison."

Me too. In fact everybody and everything I voted for (or against, as in the the case of the referenda) lost. I must be out of the mainstream, as they say.

Anonymous said...

Let's put this in the 'depressing but entirely predictable' file, shall we? Murtha and Perlosi might be ideologically on different planets on every subject except Iraq, but he's been a reliable ally and it's certainly one way to defuse criticism that she's a ultra-leftist dingbat. She's quite happy to hand out the patronage to useful idiots and scumbags on an entirely bipartisan basis. :)

Bruce Hayden said...

Garage Mahal

I think that you have to define national security hawk a bit better. If you mean that Murtha hasn't found a defense bill he wouldn't sign onto, then fine. I am sure that he believes that pork is pork, and that is what he is known to be the best in the House at acquiring.

But there is a big difference between backing any defense spending bill that comes through, and backing the government and the troops in harms way. And that is where IMHO Murtha strikes out.

hdhouse said...

I'll have to look back thru this blog to see all the handwringing about Tom DeLay. Must be here somewhere...no?

I just wonder if the handwringing isn't just a bunch of bent out of shape neo-cons who got what they so richly deserved - minority status.

johnstodderinexile said...

One more time: The trope "Murtha is no more confused and inarticulate than (fill in the blank with a political figure we're all supposed to despise)," is useless. He can be as confused and inarticulate...and corrupt!... as he wants, all day and night, in Murtha's corner or naked in Times Square. But not as a leader of the House Democrats! Not if the Democrats want to win again!

Revenant said...

I have a hard time being outraged at the Abscam thing because I took it for granted that no intelligent person really believed the Democrats cared about corruption. They didn't when they controlled Congress before -- why would they start now?

I'm more concerned with Murtha's cut-and-run view on Iraq and his habit of acting like his status as a veteran makes him an expert on military strategy.

Garage Mahal said...

Bruce

Fair point about Defense spending, but Murtha is hardly an anti-war dove, wouldn't you agree?

RogerA said...

As a poster upthread noted, the Senate republicans learned nothing and forgot nothing: Trent Lott for number 2. Ouch. I honestly hope the Democrats show better judgment.

Anonymous said...

They didn't when they controlled Congress before -- why would they start now?

Because they said they would.

When, exactly, are we going to start holding these pompous, arrogant asses (and I include both sides of the aisle) to their words? How long are we to be made fools of by these over-privileged gasbags?

Revenant said...

Because they said they would.

Yeah, but I knew they were lying. The only people who should feel angry are people who were actually stupid enough to believe them, and that's not a group of people I feel any sympathy for.

hdhouse said...

knoxgirl said...
I was truly shocked when I heard he is a contender for the leadership, and that Pelosi is putting her weight behind him. Jeez, could they choose anyone worse, on so many levels... "


Well, actually, Knoxgirl, they could. There are a whole lot of displaced republicans with not a lot to do now that Jack's restaurant closed. We could call Jeff Gannon and have him interview them and pass so tips on to Nancy so she can put the "least crooks among them" to work.

Oh how much I am going to enjoy the little time Bush has left.

Just makin' me soooooo happy.

Juliet said...

I don't remember Bush being on meet the press....oh you were talking about Murtha..hmmmm. Fooled me.

You know, hdhouse, if you're going to make yet another "Bush is inarticulate" joke, you should at least be the first person on the thread to make it.

I'd be awfully interested to see you reply to johnstodderinexile.

downtownlad said...

Was Murtha convicted of anything related to Abscam? If not, I fail to see how this is an issue. Last time I checked, people were innocent until proven guilty in this country.

I saw Murtha on TV the other day and he was extremely well-spoken. And as he's pro-life, I think it would be good to get a conservative Democrat in a position of authority.

hdhouse said...

ahhh for you Juliet

"johnstodderinexile said...
One more time: The trope "Murtha is no more confused and inarticulate than (fill in the blank with a political figure we're all supposed to despise)," is useless. He can be as confused and inarticulate...and corrupt!... as he wants, all day and night, in Murtha's corner or naked in Times Square. But not as a leader of the House Democrats! Not if the Democrats want to win again!"

Frankly Bush is Murtha's joke and Murtha is Bush's jester. As far as I know Murtha is a congressman who serves his district and obviously pretty well as he keeps getting re-elected. Actually that district is "the decider" and they somehow or another pass the judgment the country lives with..or at least they are the first judges and they send him back (of course texans sent delay back so the people are not always wise).

Murtha is being rewarded for a certain expertise, a certain loyalty to the party and most certainly for taking the heat for standing up to President Decider in Chief. His points were valid then and proving to be the proverbial chickens home to roost now.

Do I think he is inarticulate? yes. Does he represent my views? not really but he represents his district and his courage, to put himself in a place where an absolutely psychotic congresswoman from greater cincinnati calls him a traitor on the floor of the house, that takes something special to believe deeply enough to speak his mind knowing that every bushbot from schwartz to sean will take shots at him until the end of time.

and yes, bush is inarticulate and confused. is it an act? can anyone actually be that goofy and be president? i don't know but it wore thin on the body politic and given two more years of his version of bedlam, this country will be democrat and thus democratic for a generation.

Hail to the Chief.

Juliet said...

So you do know where the shift key is! Well, that's more of an answer than I expected, so props for that.

and yes, bush is inarticulate and confused. is it an act? can anyone actually be that goofy and be president? i don't know but it wore thin on the body politic and given two more years of his version of bedlam, this country will be democrat and thus democratic for a generation.

Don't count your chickens, etc...

1. Give the Democrats a chance to prove they can govern. I don't want them to be less bad than the Republicans; I want them to be good. You're not really making a persuasive case that they are, especially when you keep comparing them to Bush and the Republicans who just left office. What, so we should be setting the bar that low? Come on, have some real standards.

2. Bush will be out of office in two years. You can only run against him for so long. That's why your anti-Bush schtick is not only unclever and annoying, it's shortsighted. When you don't have Chimpy McHitler to kick around anymore, what's your strategy going to be? Are you going to come up with a whole new slate of eighth-grade insults if McCain is the Republican nominee?

Kev said...

"I used to be against term limits, based on the logic of, well, let people have as much choice as possible. If they want to keep electing the same guy, it's their right.

In the last couple years, I've flipped and am totally for term limits because it seems like the worst of the worst are the ones who've been there the longest.
"

I'm with you on that idea, knoxgirl. I commented about that on this post (scroll down to 12:17 p.m., Nov. 12), but I was late to the party, so a lot of people may have missed it.

hdhouse said...

Hello Knoxgirl. You wrote:

2. Bush will be out of office in two years. You can only run against him for so long....

Dear one, republicans have been running against Bill Clinto for 6 years now. It is pervasive on this board as well...heck, you (editorial "you") even try and drag Jimmy Carter into the mix.

Bush is fair game. I, for one, will never get tired of trotting him out and I plan on living for a while.

Juliet said...

I wrote that, not knoxgirl.

I'm not particularly interested whether the Republicans keep running against Clinton. I think that's a bad idea, for a lot of reasons, not just because he's no longer in the White House (although he might be again in a different capacity). Again, are you better than them, or not? I guess I have my answer.

hdhouse said...

I think Bush is fair game while in office. When he leaves office I will feel the same that I do about certain segments of the GOP who answer every question "yes..but Clinton....".

I think it isn't appropriate for Bill to interject himself into the politics of the moment. I also think it isn't a good thing that George Sr. has sent in the troops to get Jr. back on the right page.

It is, Juliet, as you observe, not a good thing. Mr. Bush, however, has 2 more LONG years as chief executive and it is the duty of the people to call him into account when appropriate.