Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sucklingstown

Congressman John Murtha certainly has become the darling of the anti-war movement this week, hasn't he?

The Moist-Towelette tells us how he has always been the darling of dependency drones in his city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. If he wants American troops to suddenly turn around and abandon Iraq right this very minute, the people of Johnstown are there with him. What is it about him that makes the ladies (and men) swoon with desire when he opens his mouth to utter his thoughts on any issue?

To many of his constituents, Mr. Murtha is a hero who deserves their trust, both for his military service and for all the jobs he has brought to the district.

"Those congressmen don't care if our guys are over there getting killed, but John Murtha does," said [some dude] of Richland, Cambria County, who operates a swimming pool company. "We ought to listen to him; he's a very smart man. If it wasn't for John Murtha, you know what this town would be right now? Nothing."

It may be a mere coincidence, because I just cooked bacon for breakfast, but I detect the scent of PORK in the air. How does a Congressman bring jobs to his district? Is the entire city on the payroll of the federal government? Who attributes an area's successes to one high-profile politician? Is he an elected representative, or some sort of generous nobleman who shares his personal wealth with the peasants?

Typically, this article raises more questions than it answers. Unless you are (like most Moist-Towelette readers) a Democrat, in which case this worshipful admiration of an elected official of your own persuasion is par for the course.

In a city that relied on the steel industry for decades of employment, Johnstown faced huge pressures when mills began closing in the early 1980s. Interest rates climbed to higher than 20 percent and unemployment almost reached levels only ever seen during the Great Depression. The city's population dropped by some 35,000 and family-sustaining jobs were hard to come by.

But Congressman Murtha helped turn that tide around. With his influence, Cambria County and the surrounding area have turned into a corridor for high-tech jobs and defense industries. Almost everyone here attributes that success to him.

As long as you're going to attribute the area's recovery to John Murtha, you might want to get specific about who
was responsible for the unemployment and high interest rates. It was someone with the initials JC who famously used the word "malaise" in a speech about the state of his country. And I don't mean Jacques Chirac, either. Easy enough for locals to blame his successor (as implied by the phrase "the early 1980s") when they are too dense to understand that the long-term effects of government policies do not become apparent overnight.

As for the lost tribe of 35,000 Johnstowners, who can explain their disappearance? Did they all die at once due to the 20% interest rates? More likely, they found a better place than Johnstown to live and work. I wouldn't call that a problem that government needs to solve. Those people solved their own problems.

Now let me translate ""high-tech jobs and defense industries" for you: "PORK, and PORK". Defense is vital, I grant you that. But a Congressman isn't thinking about the Constitutional admonition to provide for the common defense; he's thinking about how much money he can bring into his district. The more federal taxpayer money that he pours into his district, the more support he gets from his constituents, sucking at the public teat.

Voters can be such whores.

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