Pennsylvania Rep. John “Jack” Murtha dead at 77

Democrat Vietnam vet criticized Iraq, rolled pork barrels

Jack Murtha at a fundraising event. (Photo: lisaferris.com)

I noticed that a controversial figure in American politics has died. Jack Murtha, a former Vietnam war veteran who brought a great deal of heat to America’s efforts in Iraq, has rolled his last pork barrel. I don’t mean to be flippant about that last point; he was allegedly a master of securing pork funds for his district. As Fox News puts it in an opinion piece,

“He became the symbol of pork barrel spending in Washington but despite the criticism, Murtha always believed there was nothing wrong with pork and, in fact, it was your responsibility to get a much of the pork as possible.”

I follow the piggy logic

I have said things about lobbyists once or twice in this forum. In short, I don’t have a huge problem with them. The same thinking applies here to pork barrel spending for Jack Murtha in his Pennsylvania district. Despite the investigations for ethics violations, I don’t see much of a problem if all politicians look out for their constituencies in this way. It is why they were elected, is it not? Let’s see if other Congressmen can get an airport named after them.

Jack Murtha was surely undaunted, according to multiple media sources. Pork is thrown around when the federal government opens its wallet, and everyone is hungry. Of course that means our collective wallet, but why feign such outrage? If we continue elect pork-motivated politicians to fight for our new parks, sporting arenas and community centers, it’s because that’s what the majority wants.

Critical of war

I cannot agree with Jack Murtha regarding instituting a military draft, but he does have some interesting – high controversial – things to say about the Iraq war. That Murtha was a decorated Vietnam vet surprises people, in light of this. Yet his support of Veterans’ Administration bills puts him squarely back in his element – fighting for what the people want. I would be interested to see what his stance on payday loans was, before the fall.

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