Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What Have You Done, John Murtha?

Mr. Murtha really put his foot in it, I'm afraid. I would like to be elated that a Democrat finally stood up and took a very public stand against the Iraq War. Unfortunately, John Murtha went about it in probably the worst possible way. I cringed as I saw the clips of him having a nearly incomprehensible conniption into a microphone somewhere on The Hill... Rolling cameras caught every nuance of his ungrammatical, uninspired, raw emotional tirade. Later, on the PBS Evening News, he ranted, raved, interrupted and talked over reporter Margaret Warner as she attempted to steer the interview down some logical path.

And look what he started. Congress has once again erupted into one big screaming match. Adolescent name calling, cries of cowardice, finger-pointing, accusations of dishonesty are whizzing about, so thick that you need to belly-crawl through the hallowed halls to avoid being shredded by the shrapnel. There's not a pellet of merit to any of this folderol. It's not meaningful debate, it's not "working out the bugs" on the way to a compromise; it's not accomplishing anything for the war effort, the peace effort, our men and women in the line of fire in Iraq, or the American people at large. It's an emotionally charged tug of war, waged for the ultimate prize of...poll numbers. The President's are slipping, and the Democrats' aren't rising apace. So, let's start a war of words. Let's drag the American people around by their emotional hair and see which side's following can scream the loudest.

Mr. Murtha's passionate anti-war tirade gave the Republicans just the opening they have been looking for. They know what the Democrats have yet to figure out: that pure, raw emotion plays into the Republican battle plan every time. These are the people who were able to advance their war agenda and silence any meaningful objections, by digging an American flag out of the rubble of the Twin Towers, waving it like crazy, shaking their fists and roaring that anyone who wasn't with them was against them.

They've kept that tattered pennant in their back pocket; all they've needed to do is craftily caress it with the barest of touches, and chant the magic words--"terrorists...our shores...nine-eleven" to tap into all the fear, hatred, and other roiling emotions hidden just below the surface of the American psyche. It has worked like a charm for over four years. We've handed them everything they wanted, as long as they've pledged to lead us to glory, and keep those bad men from coming over here and blowing up any more buildings.

Over the last few months, the administration's struggle to competently address fresh problems--disaster relief, Supreme Court appointments, Plamegate--provided a small space of time for the public to pause, shake the hyper-patriotic fog from their minds, and take a hard look at what the Texas Cartel is actually doing for this country. The administration failed miserably to deal with natural disasters for which there was at least some warning. How, then, could we believe that they had the ability to protect us from the unpredictable catastrophe of a major terrorist attack? Then the President puts forth the name of his own woefully unqualified Texas lawyer for a seat on the Supreme Court. The entire nation--right, left and in between--scratched their heads at that one. Next, a White House staff member is indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. A little more of the Bush Administration's teflon coating flakes off and floats away on the breeze. Gasoline prices soar through the roof (because the Bush League can't resist milking every dollar of profit from yet another disaster), and families face the prospect of choosing between eating and heating this winter. Slowly, painfully, the American people begin to snap out of the emotional hypnosis under which the Republican administration had so easily manipulated them.

And then, along comes John Murtha. At a time when Republicans were sinking lower and lower in the polls, and were casting about for any handhold to stop the skid and reverse direction, Murtha plays right into their hand. He goes where the administration's detractors should by now fear to tread--the hooting, hollering, fuming, ranting world of tangled passions attached to the Iraq War. Surely the Democrats must realize that, in this arena, they are rank amateurs compared to the GOP. For some inexplicable reason, Murtha just couldn't leave well enough alone; he couldn't allow the government's recent obvious failures to continue to pour acid on the emotional chain that has bound the American people to the Bush Administration.

The distinguished Representative from Ohio's 12th Congressional District got the screaming started again. And the name calling. And the finger pointing. And the McCarthy-istic challenges to the "loyalty" and "patriotism" of the opposition. Back to that vicious war of words where the Republicans--by virtue of their fearlessness to create their own truth--have already demonstrated their superiority. John Murtha got us right back to square one. Bad show, Mr. Murtha.


  1. Your analysis sucks!

    Schmidt looks like a tool, crticizing a marine with two purple hearts and bronze star of cowardice.  This coming from a woman who never served in the millitary, let alone in combat!

    The whole situation only points up the lack of military credentials of this administration.

    Besides which the democrats have followed advice of losers like you for the last 5-6 years including the past two presidential elections.  And they still do unfortunately, witness the lack of public support Murtha's received from his colleagues.

    You're obviously a conservative who's waking up the fact that the party ain't all it's cracked up to be.

    Please don't vote for anyone, it's obviously not something you're good at.


  2. in my opinion ... Murtha's desultory ravings were more than offset by Schmidt's hysterical screed.    As far as i can see, the G.O.P. is still mired in the POST-KATIRINA morass.

  3. John--I hope you are correct.

    Schmidt DID get villified for her comments.  Think how that would have played out during the run up to the war, or even before the 2004 election.  She would have been canonized. Maybe the party in power really IS experiencing a reversal of fortunes, and they're just starting to get it.

    Mr. (Mrs.? Ms?) tsobu-- "Please don't vote for anyone...it's obviously not something you're good at..."

    You're only as good as the materials you're given to work with...  :-]

  4. I'm not great at political commentary ... but as I watched Murtha being interview my heart sunk.  He rambled and stumbled with emotion.  I had to change the channel I couldn't watch it any longer.  Pennie