In PA’s 4th congressional district (represented by Democrat Jason Altmire) and PA’s 12th congressional district (represented by Democrat John Murtha), most voters see them as “conservative Democrats.”
Of course, if most voters didn’t see them that way, they’d soon be ex-congressmen. So, they both do their best to keep the ideological fiction alive.
Admittedly, Jack Murtha opposed Steny Hoyer of Maryland for the post of Majority Leader. Then, Hoyer’s advocates leaked stories to the press about ABSCAM and Murtha’s other examples of ethical deficiency.
Murtha accused his critics of “Swift-boating” him. In fact, they were “Truth-boating him, and he lost badly. His colleagues know he’s a crook, even if some of his constituents find that hard to comprehend.
Steny Hoyer is a piece-of-work. He likes to vote no – except when it comes to raising taxes.
He voted no on banning partial-birth abortions, no on Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (which saves me, my wife, and other senior thousands of dollars a year. He also voted no on banning same-sex marriages, no on banning human cloning, no on the Bush Tax Cuts, and no on restricting weapons makers’ liability.
Actually, Steny and Nancy Pelosi are a good team. She voted no on all the same things.
It makes you wonder why Murtha, the supposedly “conservative” Democrat, voted for Nancy Pelosi, the militant liberal, as Speaker of the House (she won unanimously). It makes you wonder why Jason Altmire, the other “conservative” Democrat also voted for her.
Of course, the Speaker of the House – with advice from the Majority Leader -- determines critical committee assignments. In other word, she doles out the real power in the House of Representatives. A Jack Murtha has one vote, powerful as he is in other ways, but the Speaker has the equivalent of many.
One wonders, given the conservative nature of their districts – I live in the 4th – how Murtha and Altmire can justify voting for her. She, along with Hoyer and many other Democrat leaders in the House, is totally out of step with Murtha’s and Altmire’s constituents. She’s influencing policies and legislation that goes against everything most people in western Pennsylvania believe.
Of course, Murtha’s explanation – which is no explanation – would be “That’s the way we DO BUSINESS here.
One other way he does business is to provide votes for his Party leftists when he can – as he did when he voted for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Supposedly “pro-life” Altmire voted the same way.
Another strange vote was Murtha’s against the Prescription Drug Plan, one that’s probably saved seniors in his district roughly a hundred million dollars. Altmire also opposes prescription drugs for seniors for reasons which aren’t clear.
Murtha voted for the Iraq War timeline – in line with Pelosi and other anti-military types. Altmire also supported the timeline – after saying in his campaign that he would not.
Murtha and Altmire will vote “pro-life” (except when they can get away with not doing so) and pro-guns, but when they vote for leaders who are neither pro-life nor pro-Second Amendment.
Generally, when they can, they vote with leftist Democrats.
When they need political cover – for example, on abortion and guns – they are apparently allowed to vote “conservative.” Eventually, their skillful balancing act gives them so much power and access to campaign money that they don’t have to pay much attention to what their constituents think.
Hopefully, that’s going to change – and soon. If you don't like what's going on, let me direct to someone who's an agent of change: http://williamrussellforcongress.com.