10 May 2009

The Murtha we know and the Washington fairy tale

MARK PASQUERILLA | The Murtha we know and the Washington fairy tale

For The Tribune-Democrat
April 19, 2009 11:25 pm

— Jack Murtha is the ultimate UPS man – he has humbly delivered for us for more than 30 years.
Our western Pennsylvania region has been spared some of the harsh reckoning of this recession, largely due to Mr. Murtha’s work to transform the economy in our region.
When I moved back to town in 1981, we faced a tough economic decline.
Ten thousand steelworkers were put on the street, and you could meet them in Central Park waiting to be called back to work. These jobs left the area forever, and only through hard teamwork did we build a new economy. While our nation fights this current recession, we face a more unique challenge – sinister extremist forces of the left and right want to pick your congressman.
I love fairy tales, but not Washington fairy tales. Here is the fairy tale: That only our congressman takes campaign donations from lobbyists and defense firm employees and PACS, and that only our congressman writes earmarks.
First of all, an earmark comes from the basic constitutional rights of congressmen, and 90 percent of congressmen asked for earmarks in the current budget. Do you believe in the Constitution, our sacred law that insures your rights to carry a gun, own property and freedom of worship? Then you should want your congressman to appropriate and do earmarks, as guaranteed by our Constitution and the Founding Fathers, as a check against an imperial presidency.
Here is the other side of the Washington fairy tale. Many of our biggest local employers are involved in defense and government contracting. The biggest firms, such as DRS, employ a government-relations person (usually a former House or Senate staffer) and several lobbying firms. How can local firms such as Concurrent Technologies Corp., JWF Industries and L. Robert Kimball compete nationally if they do not retain lobbyists like the big guys?
Well the high and mighty in Washington, New York and Boston have no faith in our local work force. They believe nothing of any good can come from here. When something exceptional is produced in our region, they believe it must be a fraud.
I am sick of Washington fairy tales.
Most of Mr. Murtha’s caucus took donations from the defunct lobbying firm PMA. In fact PMA, during the 2007-2008 election cycle, according to Opensecrets.org, was the largest contributor to U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle of Pittsburgh, Micheal Capuano of Boston, Carolyn McCarthy of Long Island and Norm Dicks of Washington state. Dicks is the second-ranking member on Mr. Murtha’s defense appropriations committee.
Mr. Murtha’s caucus is no profile in courage. Why won’t Mr. Doyle go on the record to defend his mentor, Jack Murtha?
So the time has come for us to stand by our man – the ultimate delivery man, the man who has helped transform our economy and protect us from recession. Can you trust the people in Washington, the same folks who gave us the banking collapse and the bailout to protect your interests? Can you trust the Washington elite media, New York billionaires and the Rockefeller foundation with this region’s economic future?
No – you can only trust Jack Murtha.
Lastly, to my right-wing friends: I am a card-carrying Republican and neo-con. Maybe under George W. Bush, those interested in our nation’s defense could take Mr. Murtha for granted. Under Barack Obama, those who believe we need a strong defense to protect us from our enemies absolutely need to support Jack.
The ultimate aim of those left-wing extremist forces that want to hurt our congressman and his committee may be to cut our nation’s defense budget and therefore weaken our nation’s defense.
You may not agree with every statement he has made, but Mr. Murtha has spent his long career working for nothing more than jobs in this district and to build up our nation’s defense.
Jack deserves our bipartisan support from these sinister forces.

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