Murtha's Thuggish Threats
Perhaps the flap over Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plane wouldn't be so bad - had she and her trusty sidekick, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), not reacted so obnoxiously.
When the Pentagon didn't immediately honor the request of the self-proclaimed "most powerful woman in America" for a top-of-the-line Air Force passenger jet, Pelosi deployed the "s"-word: sexism.
"As a woman, as a woman speaker of the House, I don't want any less of an opportunity than male speakers when they have served here," she said.
Pelosi then implied that the Pentagon was getting even with her:
"Why are they [the Pentagon] feeding the flames? Of course, I have been a constant critic - for nearly three years, I've called for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, who still has a desk at the Department of Defense . . ."
Then the thuggish, ethically challenged Murtha weighed in - saying it would be a "mistake" to deny her request, "since she decides on the allocations for the Department of Defense."
He'd be the expert.
Murtha's history of manipulating defense appropriations for personal gain is long and distinguished. In a 1989 defense bill, then-Speaker Tom Foley was shamed into redlining a Murtha-authored provision requiring the speaker have a C-20 jet available at all times.
The Pennsylvania Association for Individuals With Disabilities, a charity founded by Murtha's longtime aide, has a board of directors largely made up of lobbyists and contractors who've received millions off Murtha-directed government largesse. In turn, notes The Washington Post, those same officials "have kept Murtha's campaigns flush with cash."
Despite such egregiously hamhanded behavior, Murtha now chairs the House Defense Appropriations Committee, a position he evidently envisions using in the same invidious fashion.
"I don't need to pressure them. I just tell them what they need to do," Murtha said of his efforts to secure from the Pentagon a plane for Pelosi.
Like we said: thuggish.
Was somebody saying something about a "culture of corruption"?