Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reprimand Murtha

Republicans are demanding a reprimand for Rep. John Murtha, who hasn't denied that, when a Republican legislator tried to strike a $23 million Murtha earmark from a bill, Murtha told him, "you will not get any earmarks now and forever."

Democrats have apparently agreed to a vote on a reprimand, but they seem to be planning to vote no, although "some party members were unhappy about being pressed to defend a blustery colleague known for bare-knuckled politics."

I wish Democrats would see this as a golden opportunity. A big part of the reason they won last November is that people were fed up with the Republican methods of running Congress, particularly the House, which involved suppressing debate, strangling the opposition, and ramming through every non-public-spirited deal that pleased them. Here's a chance to show that the Democrats are serious about being different. Instead of reflexively protecting their own, why not use this as a "Sister Soulja moment"? It'll be somewhat annoying to have to reprimand a Democrat, but it could do so much good to show voters that Democrats are the party of free debate, fairness, and running the government in the public interest. I would go ahead and reprimand Murtha.

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