This blog features information about the political campaign nationally and in the state of Pennsylvania. it will discuss congressional races western PA, but it won't restrict comments to those jurisdictions. On many occasions, it will feature humor, but its main purpose is to "cut the legs off" political jihad. This is a site for political grown-ups of all ages.

Location: Ambridge, Pennsylvania, United States

I have a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester (English and American Literature). I taught for 10 years at various educational institutions (Univ. of Rochester, my alma mater, College of William and Mary, and University of Georgia, where I was also Asst. Ed. of the Georgia Review. Later, I worked as a speechwriter and "thinker" at various large companies, including Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, Aetna, Merck (consultant), and Eli Lilly (consultant), among many others. I'm a full-time writer and political commentator/analyst. Favorite company: AudioTech Business Books. Favorite female: my wife, Patricia Ann Maloney. Favorite politcal candidate: Diana Lynn Irey (PA's 12th congressional district)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Joe Biden, John Murtha, and Jason Altmire: Brothers Under the Skin

A national reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was kind enough to respond to my remarks on Senator Joseph Biden, who was unfortunate enough to praise Barack Obama for being not only "good-looking," but also -- supposedly unlike previous Black candidates for President -- being "articulate" and "clean." The P-G journalist informed me that the Biden comments were in fact getting fairly heavy play in the media (including the Times and CNN). Here's a slightly amended version of my response . I've left the journalist's name out because corresponding with me is not really a career advancing move at that particular newspaper.

Dear X:

You make some good points. But I believe the Biden story will die quickly, which would not have happened if the comments had been made by a conservative Republican.

It won't be a "macaca," which was certainly NOT any sort of racist remark. George Allen's remark was something the Wash. Post, which is NOT a legitimate manifestation of a free press, could use to defame a candidate for whom it had extreme hostility.

Diana Irey told me that when she went for her interview at the P-G, she was under no illusion about whom the paper would endorse. But she wasn't ready for the contempt expressed members of the editorial group who confronted her. One P-G worthy, to his credit, apologized to her all the way to the Blvd. of the Allies.

Also, when the Kerry quote about the dumbos in Iraq came out, the press, including the P-G, leaped to his defense, saying that "of course it was a joke." I pointed out (and was not totally alone, I admit) that Kerry had been making similar comments since the late 1960s about servicemen and servicewomen. Granted, this may have been the final nail in Kerry's coffin, which was already awaiting the pallbearers, but if George Bush had said it, I assure you we'd still be hearing it on CNN today.

I thought the real news in your recent John Murtha-Jason Altmire story was the Prince of Pork praising his young colleague for giving a speech advocating a position that Murtha (supposedly) opposed, embryonic stem cell research. Did Murtha try to argue Jason out of his position? If not, why not?

Jason ran as a pro-life candidate (way back a few months ago). Is he recanting his position already?

Jason's mentor, John Murtha (famously) suggested once on "Meet the Press" that the U.S. should redeploy the troops in Iraq to . . . Okinawa! That's 4900 miles away from Baghdad, and I never really understood what their function would be in such a place, one where they're certainly not wanted.

Yet I don't see the media enquiring seriously into what Jack Murtha means -- or what he's up to. The Okinawa redeployment is ridiculous, absurd, worthy of . . . well, Joe Biden. Does Nancy Pelosi really view Murtha as a key advisor on Iraq? On what basis? The fact that he served in Viet Nam four decades ago?

Moreover, what does Cong. Murtha think about the unanimous vote naming David Petraeus as the top (operational) military man in Iraq? Does he see any problem in total support for the military proponent of the surge and widespread opposition to the surge itself?

Mr. X, I'm hearing on our beloved CNN that the "American public" is against the war in Afghanistan by 52% to 44%. Murtha obviously believes in poll-driven politics, because he cites the polls in every speech. Does he believe we should redeploy the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, perhaps to Okinawa?

Back to Jason Altmire (pardon my organizational problems): he fancies himself an expert on health care. I fancy myself an expert on health care. I worked for Aetna (a huge health insurer), The Hartford, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (now PhRMA), Merck, Lilly, and many other companies and associations. I'm a critic of many practices of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

I wish you'd quote some good ole Pennsylvanians, particularly me, when Jason speaks out on health care. Alternatively, I wish you'd contact Dr. David Gratzer (author of The Cure) at the Manhattan Institute for an alternative view on health care. He's a licensed physician in both Canada and the U.S.

Mr. X, I think you're one of the better journalists working in the field.

However, there's a lack of balance built into the culture of political journalism. As the head of the Christopher's organization used to say, "I'm trying to light one little candle rather than to curse the darkness." I'll send you a candle. :-)

Good luck and God bless.

steve maloney


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