November 14, 2006

Murtha Accuses Dems of "Swift Boating" Him

Hatched by Dafydd

This is almost too weird for the Weekly World News... but it's actually Associated Press:

[Rep. John] Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran who favors an immediate drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq, has fought charges for years of using his senior status on the defense appropriations subcommittee to award favors to campaign contributors. He voted against a Democratic package of ethics reforms earlier this year and was touched by but never charged in the Abscam bribery scandal a quarter-century ago.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Democratic-leaning watchdog group, accused Pelosi of compromising her ethical standards by endorsing Murtha....

"I thought we were above this type of swift-boating attack," Murtha said in a statement issued by his office, referring to unsubstantiated allegations about John Kerry's Vietnam War heroism from a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential race. [Well, that's a nice, unbiased way of describing the controversy.] "This is not how we restore integrity and civility to the United States Congress."

The brouhaha of course is about whether Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD, 95%), the Minority Whip -- which is the number 2 Democrat in the House -- should succeed to the title of Majority Leader (the equivalent position for the majority)... or whether it should be Rep. John Murtha (D-PA, 75%), hysterical anti-war fanatic and Pelosi's puppet [another unbiased description -- but one that at least has the virtue of being true].

I think we're finally zeroing in on the actual definition of "to swift boat":

Swift boat: verb phrase, 1 to level a damaging accusation to which the object has no good response; 2 to produce extensive documentation of same; 3 to beat any Democrat in any election -- general, primary, or leadership. Syn: question patriotism. Ex: You're trying to swift boat me. They're trying to swift boat me. He, she, or it is trying to swift boat me. Don't you dare try to swift boat me. I'll take your swift-boating attacks and cram 'em up your yin-yang. I only lost because the Republicans swift boated me and questioned my patriotism. We will never again allow ourselves to be swift boated.

But here is a very interesting tidbit, unrelated to the actual point of the article but far more momentous:

[110th Congress Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid told The Associated Press that a top priority for the remainder of the lame-duck session will be confirming Robert Gates as defense secretary, succeeding Donald H. Rumsfeld. "The sooner we can move it forward the sooner we can get rid of Rumsfeld," he said.

It looks as if it will be pretty smooth sailing for Gates; the Democrats appear willing to confirm anyone from John Ashcroft to Yogi Bear (or N.Z. Bear), if it will grease the skids beneath Don Rumsfeld. This is as fine a testimony to the value and effectiveness of the outgoing SecDef as any I can imagine.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MI, 91%) is challenging Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN, 88%) for the job of Minority Whip (the number 2 position after Minority Leader). Lott was ousted from being Minority Leader in December, 2002, after he said the following at a birthday roast for 200 year old Sen. Strom Thurmond, a veteran of the War of 1812 (he lied about his age to get into the Army):

I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.

As Strom Thurmond ran for president on the ticket of the States Rights (Dixiecrat) Party, whose major platform plank was racial segregation forever, some folks got the crazy idea that Lott was actually endorsing racial segregation. He did not explain what he meant by "all these problems," nor whether they had anything to do with lunch counters or drinking fountains.

However, a better explanation than "latent bigotry" is that Trent Lott is simply an insensitive, braindead yokel who doesn't know that his home state of Mississippi used to enshrine racism in the law. Or even that it used to allow slavery. Which of course raises the intriguing WWII-style question: is this Trent necessary?

Lamar Alexander, who has spent his entire adult life in politics, including (besides his current senatorship) eight years as governor of Tennessee, two years as Bush pere's secretary of education, and two subterranean stabs at the presidency, told reporters he was running for the whip job because "we need some new faces and some fresh themes."

Next week, Republicans are expected to fail miserably.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 14, 2006, at the time of 7:13 PM

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The following hissed in response by: nk

I hate it when you have these posts where the only sane comment is "Bravo". Still ... Bravo, excellent post.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 8:38 PM

The following hissed in response by: jp phish


  • Pelosi is acting more like a Sorority Chapter President than leader of the U.S. Congress; making appointments based on her relationships rather than performance.

  • If I were a Democrat I would be embarrassed by her backing of Murtha and Alcee Hastings, and rejection of Hoyer and Jane Harman. Murtha is a joke; an idiot derided by his fellow Marines. And both Murtha and Hastings are documented criminals.

  • The early confirmation of Gates is probably a necessary part of my prediction that a military force increase will be announced before January.

  • Gates will also be duly credited with getting a significant force contribution from NATO; I think he was selected for this purpose.

  • I have never liked Trent Lott; he comes across to me as used car salesman.


The above hissed in response by: jp phish [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 9:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: brotio

Senator Alexander is partially correct; we need some new faces who will act on the OLD themes of the Contract With America. I would suggest, Sen. Brownback, Sen. Coburn, or Sen. Kyl for any of the Senate leadership posts.

The above hissed in response by: brotio [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2006 10:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Excellent post, Dafydd. Excerpted and linked. If we were talking about anyone but Mad "Semper I" Jack I'd say he's entitled to a trial before we find him guilty of anything. But then, "Once a Marine always a Marine" and Mad Jack doesn't think Marines are entitled to trials.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 15, 2006 12:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: dasbow

Wait a minute. Lamarr! is still a senator? Good God, these people never go away, do they?

The above hissed in response by: dasbow [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 15, 2006 6:50 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Hey don't diss Lamar (or Lamer as I used to call him) He's a lot better than Lott.

Ouch. I have a better definition of swift boating - It is the crudity of using the actual words and deeds of an individual against them in a political arena. ex. "My opponent is using the fact that I am corrupt to derail my campaign for Majority Leader! The nerve!". Lying about your opponent - that is just politics.

So you campaign on ethics reform and are surprised that everyone is angry when you appoint ethics challenged individuals to leadership positions? Go Democrats! Go Queen P, our new insect overlord!

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 15, 2006 9:52 AM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

Of course Murtha is right in that he is being swiftboated. The only thing is that he doesn't understand just what swiftboating is. You are right in your definition of swiftboating, but I'm sure his definition is much different. Kerry now says he should have responded to the charges, but had he been able to respond to them adequately he would have done so, and I think it reasonable to infer from his lack of response that most of the swiftboat charges were true. I noted that Murtha didn't directly address the charges against him either, but instead offered the lame defense that he was being swiftboated.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 15, 2006 3:30 PM

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