The Politico carries the story of an earmark requested by John Murtha for an entity that apparently does not exist -- at least, not yet:
Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, the fiscal crusader who's never met an earmark he likes, questioned Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana on the House floor Tuesday about whether the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure actually exists - since, hey, it's getting like a million bucks or something.It has been pointed out -- in the tacit defense of those I criticize on this site -- that I am a partisan. Guilty as charged.
Visclosky, who chairs the spending subcommittee responsible for the project, had to admit that, well, he didn't have a clue.
After a lengthy back-and-forth, Flake, complaining that his staff couldn't find a website for the center, asked Visclosky, "Does the center currently exist?"
"At this time, I do not know," the Indiana Democrat replied. "But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it."
And who could possibly be the sponsor of such an earmark? Yes, you guessed it, the man Republicans love to hate, Pennsylvania Democrat John P. Murtha.
But getting beyond that, John Murtha has achieved critical mass, and is now an official target for lampooning, like a junior level Ted Kennedy or Newt Gingrich. By the time the 2008 elections roll around, Murtha will be one of the millstones that challengers try to tie around the neck of Democratic incumbents. That by itself, ought to motivate House Democrats to keep him on a short leash.