Murtha's Bought Himself A Challenger
Had Jack Murtha only kept his mouth shut, he would have won this November's election with no problem. He would not have been a lightning rod, he would not have generated much in the way of press, and would have remained a fairly conservative Democrat in the minds of voters in Pennsylvania's 12th District.
But in a strategic decision, he chose to betray the United States Military in which he once served, as a means of personal ascent and possibly to cover his own backside. That kind of unpatriotic talk may fly in Alameda (ask Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer), but it won't in PA-12.
That district is way more conservative than the voting trend of the state as a whole. And while the tide tends to favor the incumbent, that's only if the incumbent avoids bombastic behavior, visits constituents at various district functions, and sends home the typical selective list of good things done in Washington to make their constituents happy and proud. And making the national news on a regular basis is a very risky thing unless the coverage is glowing. But it is downright suicidal if the news is of a congressman in a fairly moderate to conservative district turning on men and women in the military in time of war, accusing them of murder, and demanding their pullout, to of all places, Okinawa, when we are actually winning.
And so Murtha's efforts to become a household name have generated for him a serious general election contender in the form of Washington County Commissioner, Diana Irey. Interestingly, Irey doesn't waste much time on her website ripping into Murtha, but rather, spends more time talking about what she offers. Mrs. Irey is a distinguished member of her community and was championed by the likes of former Pennsylvania governor and former Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge. Her ethical standards won her the honor of being the distinguished ethics speaker at Duquesne University in 1998.
And given that admirable ethics have been woefully missing from Pennsylvania-12's Member of Congress, perhaps it's time for a change.