June 28, 2006

PA - 12

Robert Novak:

    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.


One of the downsides of a vocal leadership role for Congressman is that the local voters still have to cast their ballots.

Inside the 12th district, opinion is mixed.

    Ruth Ann Biesinger-Sliko, 55, a physical education teacher who came to see a fellow teacher and six of her former students return from Iraq, said Murtha has lost her vote because of his negativity about the war.

    "I think that makes the guys feel terrible when he starts, you know, bashing. I think you need to support the guys," Biesinger-Sliko said. "I think it's created a lot of bad feelings for the people whose families are over there."


and
    "I just believe everything he says is very true," said Cindy Saylor, 49, whose 19-year-old son was among those who returned home. "I think we need to get out of there. People are getting killed needlessly."

.. and finally.
    Tom Geiger, a 79-year-old World War II veteran, said he thinks Murtha is "50 percent right and 50 percent wrong."

    "Maybe they should have searched a little bit more" for weapons of mass destruction, Geiger said. "But once you're into it, you're stuck with it."

Congress Pennsylvania Posted by AlexC at June 28, 2006 5:13 PM