Jack Murtha has issued a statement that is just bizarrely worded. In the same breath which he apologizes for calling Western Pennsylvanians racists, he affirms that he indeed believes they are.
October 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Murtha Statement on Comments made about Western Pennsylvania Yesterday
JOHNSTOWN, PA — Congressman John P. Murtha, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, was quoted yesterday in remarks made at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (www.post-gazette.com ) and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (www.pittsburghlive.com ). He issued the following statement today: “I apologize for making the comment that ‘Western Pennsylvania is a racist area.’
“While we cannot deny that race is a factor in this election, I believe we’ve been able to look beyond race these past few months, and that voters today are concerned with the policy differences of our two candidates and their vision for the future of our great country.
“Senator Obama has shown sound judgment and has presented us with a change from the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain. I believe he will win both Pennsylvania and the White House.”
He cannot help himself. He apologizes for saying that “Western Pennsylvania is a racist area,” and instead of simply affirming that people there are not racists, he praises them for putting their perceived racism aside for at least the last few months.
You can’t make this stuff up.
No one accused Pennsylvanian Jack Murtha of racism when he opposed Lynn Swann’s gubernatorial run in the Keystone State. Funny how that works.
No. It’s not. It’s right how it works on one side and appalling how it works on the other.
My wife worked for a major cable news network for about a decade. When the Republican National Convention came to New York City in 2004, she worked it with them. She asked me one night heading in if I wanted anything. I initially said no, to which she said, “No sign, not anything?” I replied that that would be fine. How often do you have so many Republicans – elected or voting – within a 5 minute drive of my home in the Peoples Republic, anyway?
“Want any autographs or anything?” she asked, trying to accommodate my passion for politics. I laughed. “No, no. No need for any of that business.” Then I paused. And gave her a longshot just because. “You know, if you see J.C. Watts, his I would take. That’s probably the one politician in the whole place I would go out of my way to shake hands with and thank. He’s my favorite Republican.” I am loathe to treat politicians as some sort of stars or heroes.
As fate would have it, my wife was returning home, with a Bush-Cheney 2004 sign in tow – in the middle of Manhattan mind you – and waiting for a cab. Who walks across the street? J.C. Watts. My wife almost fell over. “J.C. Watts? Oh you have no idea…” And she proceeded to tell him the story of how his, of all those at the convention, was the name I mentioned and how much I thought of him and why.
Ever gracious and genuine, as she later conveyed was just as I had described, he penned his name to the Bush-Cheney 2004 sign with as much enthusiasm as I took in describing him to my wife. It hangs in my office to this day.
No. The broad charges of racism are not funny – not from Murtha, not from news commentators, and not from the candidate himself. Nor is it funny that such false blanket charges never come from Republicans when referencing others’ opposition to their candidates (Swann, Steele, Blackwell, et al). It’s just plain right that it doesn’t. And just plain wrong when it does from Murtha and others. Not just wrong in principle, but wrong in fact.
And I am damn tired of being forced to defend against such outright garbage.
Shame on you, Jack Murtha. You disgust me.