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Nice work, if you can get it

By Michael J. Smith on Monday October 2, 2006 07:43 PM

We've speculated here before about what drives the Democrats. Are they, as conventional Poli Sci suggests, a vote-maximizing enterprise? Or are they something else?

A delightful hatchet job on John Murtha in the New York Times paints in some vivid evidence for an alternative theory:

A gang of about two dozen Democrats mill around [Murtha's] seat. A procession of others walk back to request pet spending projects, known as earmarks. And Republicans come by, asking him to enlist some of those Democrats to join them on close votes. “Whether they get what they want in the bill or they get the votes they are looking for, nobody ever leaves completely disappointed,” said Representative Paul E. Kanjorski, a Pennsylvania Democrat often found in what is known as the Murtha corner.

As the top Democrat on the House military spending subcommittee, he often delivers Democratic votes to Republican leaders in a tacit exchange for earmarks for himself and his allies.

In the last year, Democratic and Republican floor watchers say, Mr. Murtha has helped Republicans round up enough Democratic votes to narrowly block a host of Democratic proposals: to investigate federal contracting fraud in Iraq, to reform lobbying laws, to increase financing for flood control, to add $150 million for veterans’ health care and job training, and to exempt middle-class families from the alternative minimum tax....

Mr. Murtha can punish lawmakers, as well. Those who do not support the defense spending bill, for example, discover their next earmark requests go nowhere....

“He delivers Democrats for key votes, which increases his clout and ability to get more earmarks, which then increases his ability to get Democratic votes,” said Steve Ellis, a vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense....

Mr. Murtha has used his influence in the caucus to place friends in strategic positions on appropriations committees and other House panels. Representative Nancy Pelosi, a California liberal who is the current Democratic leader, is a close Murtha ally. He put her on the appropriations committee early in her career and managed her campaign to be leader.

Well, read the whole thing. I hate to say anything good about the New York Times, but this is a very revealing item. Jack Murtha doesn't need a majority in the House -- he's doing just fine as it is, thank you.

In fact, looking at this story alongside the juicy details of the Foley scandal, I'm tempted to withdraw my earlier harsh comments about the seraglio of pages. The more time these guys spend buggering the pages, the less time they have to fuck the public.

Comments (4)

js paine:

this looks to be a typical ny times
attack on some one they (and btw ...israel )don't trust

"tip o'neill with a brass hat"

this log rolling expose
is shall i say
in the nature of the place

the currency of house
is of course votes

and their trades

like cigarettes in p.o.w. movies
blocks of votes and their trades
tend to accumulate around
the powerful handful of "brokers"

murtha be one ...indeed


right now
my hunch
the times head noodles
are positioning
their paper of record
cultural artillery
to blast dough faced john murtha

why ??

cause they and theirs
want big john
to lose in his bid to oust

steny hoyer

after the november elections
as party leader

yes that steny

corporate tractability incarnate

steny "i'll go with any one
who's got board room clearance "hoyer

the rubber stamp half
of the rahm and steny show

should we care should we take sides...

well i want the patriots to beat the dolphins this weekend

put it on that level
and i suspect if you ain't a junkee
you 'll say

f this

Jesus Reyes:

"Charlie Wilson's War" by George Crile is an interesting book. It is a case study of how this kind of politics is applied to a major and covert war. I highly recommend it. A small group of people basically run the government out of their back pocket.

John Murtha is tangentially featured in this book as a power piece. Charlie Wilson, as a favor to Tip O'Neill, pulled John Murtha's bacon out of the Abscam fire.

Murtha was powerful in the 80's, I can only imagine what he is now.

I am sure the book is disinformation but the best disinformation is 95% true and I suspect this book is some of the best.


JSP -- I share your hypothesis about the Times' motives.

js paine:

jesus R
the charlie wilson story
makes a few good
points don't it

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