And his anti-war activism earn him an unwelcome association: Daschle-itis.
Novak notes that Murtha's district voted 51% for Kerry in 2004; Charlie Cook rates it 'Democrat +5.' That is, the average Democrat will beat the average Republican by 5 percent. So it is hardly a Democratic stronghold.
Ever since his glancing association with Abscam many years ago, Murtha has been the model of a noncontroversial, reasonable Democrat who is responsive to his constituents. This year that seems to have changed. People in good old Johnstown, PA have got to be wondering whether he's gone Hollywood on them:
Murtha's Anti-War Role Could Imperil Him at Home
by Robert Novak
Posted Jun 28, 2006
Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) appears to be suffering "Daschle-itis," a figurative disease which makes entrenched incumbents become national celebrities and, in the process, risk alienating the voters that put them in office.
Since seizing his party's anti-war mantle, Murtha has become a great draw for Democratic fundraisers, helping his party boost its prospects for a congressional takeover. Naturally, this helps his party-leadership bid as well.
But at the same time, his outspokenness made him a huge target for the Internet right. His district went for John Kerry with only 51% in 2004. What originally seemed like a long-shot bid by Diana Irey (R.) to unseat Murtha has taken on new credibility as she raises money from the Internet and as Murtha makes more and more outrageous statements.
Murtha's opposition to the war has never been the real issue. His assertion that the U.S. is the greatest danger to world peace is only the most recent and perhaps most striking example of his potentially dangerous venture into the great left. Even more offensive were his statements condemning Marines who allegedly participated in a massacre in Iraq, which gave no regard to the presumption of innocence or the existence of evidence (the Marines involved maintain their innocence).
In fact, by stating that he had high-level confirmation that a massacre occurred, Murtha may have set a trap for himself. As the court martial begins, he is likely to be subpoenaed in the pre-trial hearings to testify to allegations of inappropriate command influence on the trial. He risks having his high-level sources of information exposed, or exposed as flimsy -- or even non-existent.
This is getting interesting...
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