Dirtbag then, dirtbag now
My woman-to-woman advice for Nancy Pelosi today: To clean a house, you take the garbage out, not in.
“It is long past time for the Congress to address the systemic Republican culture of corruption that has undermined the American people’s confidence in this institution,” Pelosi said. “I am proud that some of the best minds in our Caucus will be leading the Democratic effort to clean up the corrupt Republican Congress. These great leaders will work to restore truth and trust to the People’s House.”
Oct. 13, 2006: Pelosi: It will take a woman to clean up the House
“Maybe it will take a woman to clean up the House and a new speaker to restore civility,” Pelosi said.
Nov. 13, 2006: Pelosi and Hastings
As noted in my column today:
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know spic from span. She’s conducting Beltway business as usual, just like the good old boys she demonized throughout the campaign. (Madame Pelosi just happens to do it in an Armani aqua blue-gray pantsuit that gets thumbs-up from obsequious Washington fashion writers.)
Well, a back-scratching corruptocrat in pastel is still a back-scratching corruptocrat. Case in point: Which congressman is Mrs. Clean considering as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence? Impeached federal judge Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., who took bribes, lied under oath and was kicked off the bench.
And which colleague is she backing for House majority leader? One of Congress’s leading dirtbags: Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.
As if his extremist cut-and-run war strategy weren’t bad enough, Murtha’s (un)ethical record is enough to make even liberal apologists blush.
Unfortunately, Murtha’s defeated opponent, Diana Irey, couldn’t get folks to pay enough attention to his Abscam past during the campaign. But now that he is poised to assume the speakership and all its attendant perks and privileges, the Abscam scandal is front and center.
In 1980, Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive bribery probe — in which undercover FBI agents videotaped Murtha entertaining a $50,000 bribe from agents posing as emissaries for Arab sheiks trying to enter our country illegally. Democrat defenders of Murtha scoff that the story is “old news.” (Liberal math: Abscam story from 1980 equals “old news.” Bush National Guard story from 1973 equals “new news.”)
But only recently have we been reminded of Abscam transcripts that paint an even uglier picture of Murtha than the short snippet of publicly available FBI video in which Murtha turned down the bribe. As noted by The American Spectator, an old Jack Anderson column reported these little-noticed parts of Murtha’s conversation with the undercover agents:
“I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period. . . . After we’ve done some business, well, then I might change my mind. . . . ”
. . . “I’m going to tell you this. If anybody can do it — I’m not B.S.-ing you fellows — I can get it done my way.” he boasted. “There’s no question about it.” . . .
But the reluctant Murtha wouldn’t touch the $50,000. Here on secret videotape was this all-American hero, tall and dignified in a disheveled way, explaining why he wasn’t quite ready to accept the cash.
“All at once,” he said, “some dumb [expletive deleted] would go start talking eight years from now about this whole thing and say [expletive deleted], this happened. Then in order to get immunity so he doesn’t go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people. So the [S.O.B.] falls apart.” . . .
“You give us the banks where you want the money deposited,” offered one of the bagmen.
“All right,” agreed Murtha. “How much money we talking about?”
“Well, you tell me.”
“Well, let me find out what is a reasonable figure that will get their attention,” said Murtha, “because there are a couple of banks that have really done me some favors in the past, and I’d like to put some money in. . . . [“]
(Full video here.)
So much for restoring cleanliness and civility, eh, Nancy?
Remember when Pelosi called the GOP leadership a “freak show?” We’ll see how the Democrat collection of grotesqueries stacks up at the end of your two years, babe.
In 1992, Bill Clinton pledged to run the most ethical administration in history. We know how that went. Fourteen years later, Nancy Pelosi has recycled the pledge — and is now well on her way to recycling the same old soiled legacy.
The Washington Post isn’t happy:
Mr. Murtha’s candidacy is troubling for several reasons, beginning with his position on the war in Iraq. A former Marine, Mr. Murtha deserves credit for sounding an alarm about the deteriorating situation a year ago. But his descriptions of the stakes there have been consistently unrealistic, and his solutions irresponsible. Just last week he denied that the United States was fighting terrorism in Iraq, though al-Qaeda is known to play a major part in the insurgency. He said the United States should abandon even the effort to train the Iraqi army and should “redeploy as soon as practicable,” an extreme step that most congressional Democrats oppose. He claimed that “stability in the Middle East, stability in Iraq,” would come from such an abrupt withdrawal; in fact, virtually all Iraqi and Middle Eastern leaders have said that it would lead to a greatly escalated conflict that could spread through the region.
Mr. Murtha would also be the wrong choice as majority leader after an election in which a large number of voters expressed unhappiness with Washington business as usual. Mr. Murtha has been a force against stronger ethics and lobbying rules. He was one of just four Democrats whose votes helped kill a strong Democratic package of lobbying reforms this spring.
As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has been an avid participant in the orgy of earmarking, including numerous projects sought by a lobbying firm that employed his brother. During the Abscam congressional bribery investigation in 1980, Mr. Murtha was videotaped discussing a bribe with an undercover FBI agent. (“You know, we do business for a while, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t, you know,” Mr. Murtha said.) He wasn’t indicted, but it’s fair to say the episode raised questions about his integrity.
That’s an understatement.
Sorry, but I’m not buying Murtha’s argument that he’s the victim of a “Swift-boating attack” over “unfounded allegations that occurred 26 years ago.” On its own, Murtha’s Abscam conduct is disqualifying.
Even if it weren’t, though, everything in Murtha’s post-Abscam life is of a piece with the back-scratching, dealmaking style on display in the video. In a story last month, the New York Times described how Murtha has operated “a political trading post” in a back corner — the Murtha corner, it’s called — of the House floor, where Democrats and Republicans alike come to get Murtha’s blessing for earmarks or his help on close votes. As Pennsylvania Democrat Paul Kanjorski told the Times, “nobody ever leaves completely disappointed.”
John Fund has more: Meet the new boss.
Bloomberg News analyzes: Murtha’s Bid for House Post May Weaken Democrats’ Ethics Image
Patterico scrutinizes the Murtha Abscam tape and the MSM’s coverage of it:
The guy is dirty.
He’s a perfect choice for Majority Leader for the Democrats.
P.S. If this were a Republican, do you think we’d get more detail on this from the L.A. Times than a tepid statement that some ethics watchdogs are upset, even though he was cleared of wrongdoing??
Much more at Memeorandum.
One last, helpful house-cleaning tip for Nancy–think Dyson. Powerful suction and bag-free. Best. Vacuum. Ever: