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Colonel John Patrick "Jack" Murtha, Jr. (D) June 17, 1932 – February 8, 2010
February 8, 2010 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Earlier today, the first Viet Nam veteran ever elected to congress, died. John Murtha (as of this past Saturday, Pennsylvania’s longest serving congressman) was the 19 term representative of Pennsylvania’s 12th district, most notably the home of Johnstown, and which for most of his service included Shanksville. He was a hawkish, conservative Democrat, infamous for his involvement in the Abscam controversy, and most recently the FBI’s inquiry into the lobbying firm PMA. He could be said to have been very representative, and certainly very supportive of his blue collar district—Pro-gun, anti-abortion, and at first a supporter of the invasion of Iraq, but eventually one of its greatest critics. But that criticism came at a price. John Murtha was 77. posted by Toekneesan (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Madamina at 8:22 PM on February 8, 2010


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 8:34 PM on February 8, 2010


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posted by Joe Beese at 8:35 PM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


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posted by The Potate at 8:41 PM on February 8, 2010


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posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:42 PM on February 8, 2010


Ohio Congresswoman and reptoid Jean Schmidt, telling Murtha that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.

It is the highest honor for a human warrior to be insulted and attacked by the underground scale-people and live to tell the tale. The mead-halls will be full tonight, Congressman Murtha, and we shall tell your tales of battle! Skaal!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:48 PM on February 8, 2010


It has been said that John Murtha was the best friend a soldier had in Washington. Everyone else says, "Nothing it too good for our boys" but, thankfully, they haven't figured out how to give them less than nothing yet.

I don't know if Jim MacDonald coined that phrase or was just quoting it, but it perfectly sums things up all too often.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:49 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know Mr. Beese, I'll have to admit that kind of cracked me up. But have you ever been there? Folks refer to that part of the commonwealth as Pennsyl-tucky for a reason. He brought an impoverished, poor, exploited, rural district a lot of relief for almost forty years. Yeah, we all paid for it. But for his service to his country, to his fellow soldiers, and from the perspective of his community, he's a Hero. I frankly don't care what it cost.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:54 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The Democratic congressman recently underwent scheduled laparoscopic surgery at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to remove his gallbladder.

The procedure was "routine minimally invasive surgery," but doctors "hit his intestines," a source close to the late congressman told CNN."
posted by HopperFan at 8:58 PM on February 8, 2010


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posted by wierdo at 9:07 PM on February 8, 2010


I'm glad that he ended up against the Iraq war and that he supports our troops and all, but none of that really changes the fact that he was an unimaginably corrupt public official who literally stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the public coffers.

It shows you just how far down America has gone that we should mourn and weep over a criminal just because he also happened to hold a few sensible, sane ideas in his head from time to time.
posted by Avenger at 9:07 PM on February 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


Dude stood up when it was not popular to step up. He gets props for that.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:21 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm glad that he ended up against the Iraq war and that he supports our troops and all, but none of that really changes the fact that he was an unimaginably corrupt public official who literally stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the public coffers.

It shows you just how far down America has gone that we should mourn and weep over a criminal just because he also happened to hold a few sensible, sane ideas in his head from time to time.


I don't know the details other than the investigation was just getting going. But that seems pretty strong wording for someone who was never indicted.

Having said that, our history is filled with the corrupt politician who continued to fight for the causes he believed in. Pictures are rarely black and white.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:24 PM on February 8, 2010


He was as corrupt as they come. The fact that some people find him honorable because he sold out his Corps makes me sick.
posted by TDavis at 9:32 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact that some people find him honorable because he sold out his Corps makes me sick.

Cite?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:45 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ohio Congresswoman and reptoid Jean Schmidt, telling Murtha that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.

Watched that shit live on C-SPAN. That was really the turning point in my mind. That is when I knew they were doomed to lose it all, both houses and the presidency. It was a slow-motion shark jump moment of monumental proportions. It was a strange and wonderful feeling.

And for once I will give Harold Ford credit. He knew it was a violation of the biggest rule of the House. He jumped up shouting and running towards her. He was truly incensed.

Delay and the boys dragged her back into a cloakroom and worked her over, no doubt explaining in no uncertain terms that she was going to go out there and withdraw her words from the record.

She came out and did just that. They always say the other party starts controlling the agenda before it actually wins and that was indeed true. Nov. 2005, I started to really beleive.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:47 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


The fact that some people find him honorable because he sold out his Corps makes me sick.

Cite?


Michelle Malkin doesn't have permalinks.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:58 PM on February 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, it doesn't endear him to me that he turned against the war in Iraq. It matters that he supported it at the start, so it happened. That he turned against it hasn't stopped it, so that has no meaning in my thoughts, or in the universe as a whole. If the universe cared that he repented, the dead would get back up and walk out of their graves.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:08 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Murtha, of course, having been a Marine. This is a classic example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, no?
posted by dunkadunc at 10:09 PM on February 8, 2010


This is a classic example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, no?

It's a classic example of argumentum ab anus. Schmidt didn't know what the fuck she was talking about, or who she was talking to.
posted by fatbird at 10:22 PM on February 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


That made me laugh involuntarily out loud, F-bird.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:27 PM on February 8, 2010


Ohio Congresswoman and reptoid Jean Schmidt

I always remembered the lines of joyless hatred carved into her face. Just a pure, soulless mean. It still takes my breath away to this day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:42 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by mfoight at 3:54 AM on February 9, 2010


Murtha's district is one of the poorest in the state of PA, mostly little isolated mountain farming villages and dying mill towns and coal mining towns. For whatever his failings, Murtha always served his district well which was his job.

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posted by octothorpe at 4:17 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the NY Times obit:

In October 2008, for example, he was criticized for saying that some of his own constituents were “redneck” and “racist” and might have trouble voting for Barack Obama for president.

Trying to explain away his remarks, Mr. Murtha told reporters that change was difficult for some people, “particularly older people” — this in a state that had at the time the second-highest population of elderly people in the country, after Florida.

But Mr. Murtha won handily anyhow, defeating a political unknown. On Election Night, he told his supporters, “You keep sending me back regardless of what I say.”
posted by ekroh at 5:08 AM on February 9, 2010


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posted by Halloween Jack at 5:40 AM on February 9, 2010


Father Beese was a Stevenson Democrat, I believe - though he had stopped voting by the time I was old enough to chide him for it. "What difference does it make what they say?" he shrugged. "They do whatever they want once they're elected." He certainly never said a word in support of a Republican politician, as best I can recall.

And yet he admitted a grudging admiration for G. Gordon Liddy, of all people. [Though this was before Liddy's second career as a radio hate-monger.] "He never squealed," he explained. "He shut up and served his time."

After Murtha got videotaped discussing the appropriate timing for a $50,000 bribe from "the sheikh", he agreed to testify against two other Democratic Congressmen - one of whom ended up serving the prison sentence that, by rights, Murtha should have served as well.

Among criminals who don't wear neckties to work, this is known as being a rat.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:46 AM on February 9, 2010


[A few comments removed. Let's not go diving headlong for the bottom of the barrel, Sukiari.]
posted by cortex at 6:15 AM on February 9, 2010


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posted by kinnakeet at 9:00 AM on February 9, 2010


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posted by Scoo at 10:00 AM on February 9, 2010


Ah the ole being a rat is worse than participating in the exercise of justice theory!
posted by spicynuts at 10:46 AM on February 9, 2010


[meaningless period] (amidoinitrite?)
posted by coolguymichael at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2010


Since it isn't meaningless to the people doing it, I'm going to say no, you aren't doing it right.
posted by Stunt at 11:27 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


He knew it was a violation of the biggest rule of the House.

Which is?
posted by telstar at 3:21 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The Democratic congressman recently underwent scheduled laparoscopic surgery at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to remove his gallbladder.

The procedure was "routine minimally invasive surgery," but doctors "hit his intestines," a source close to the late congressman told CNN."


Hmmm...
posted by millardsarpy at 6:34 PM on February 9, 2010


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