As I live and breathe, it turns out that Tom Manion of Doylestown, a 53-year-old pharmaceutical executive and a recently retired colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, has decided to challenge Patrick Murphy for the U.S. House 8th district seat in PA (here, with Mikey cheering from the sidelines, of course).
I will give Manion the respect of acknowledging that he lost his son Travis, 26, in Iraq during his second tour, and we should extend our thanks to both of them for their sacrifice on our behalf and in particular to the father for enduring such a tragic loss.
However, if Manion intends to act in accordance with the foul boilerplate concocted by the Bucks County Republican Party (an example of which appears in the sign…these people live in their own particularly demented version of wingnuttia), then I can assure you that he will receive the same treatment Mikey did from your humble narrator.
Manion held a meeting with reporters at his house today at 2 PM, so I am sure that he has announced by now and more details will be forthcoming shortly.
But in the meantime, this Guest Opinion appeared in this morning’s Bucks County Courier Times from Harry Heavey of Bensalem, PA, a retired firefighter and a Democratic committee person (great timing, I must say)…
In a recent Courier Times article, Congressman Patrick Murphy was once more brought under the spotlight for his sponsorship of earmarks. Writer Brian Scheid stated, “I received many phone calls and e-mails, mainly from Republicans who all wondered the same thing: Why had the Courier Times ignored this critical story?”Yep (and as always, to help Patrick, click here).
There is a saying in law that you don't ask a question if you don't know the answer. Republicans wanted the Courier to do a critical story about Congressman Murphy sponsoring earmarks. The Courier Times published the story but there was no criticism. Why not?
To answer that question, you have to go back to the shenanigans of the prior Republican Congress where earmarks were standard fare. In that Congress, no one had to identify the sponsor of the earmark nor was there time to review it. Consequently, there were infamous earmarks like the Tea Pot Museum and the multi-million dollar bridge to nowhere.
Then the Democrats took over Congress, including Congressman Murphy. The earmarks were condemned for what they were — secret methods for wasteful spending to pad members' re-election.
When a congressman is sworn in, he has two major responsibilities. One is to do what is best for the country; the second is to do what is best for his district. Doing what is best for his country is best achieved by working with party members and the opposing party to pass bills that benefit the country as a whole. Doing what is best for his district is often achieved by inserting earmarks.
There are major differences in today's earmarks as opposed to the earmarks of the Republican Congress. The changes are as follows:
1. No more secretly inserting spending items into the federal budget.
2. Committees are required to disclose the sponsors of spending projects.
3. Trading of earmarks for votes is forbidden.
4. Members and spouses must certify they have no financial interest in earmarks.
5. Pay-as-you-go spending required new spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere.
Under the new benchmark rules, the sponsoring member identifies himself and there is time to review the earmark before voting. Congressman Murphy has identified himself as sponsor on any earmarks he introduced.
As stated earlier, earmarks are a way of meeting a congressman's obligation to benefit his district. Congressman Murphy sponsored legislation for the following purposes:
Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies: Lower Makefield, Bucks County Security Threat Group; Bristol, law enforcement equipment; Bucks County Law Enforcement Interoperability.
Department of Defense Appropriations: molecular switch vaccine for bio defense and cancer; skin/equipment chemical decontamination; strategic bio terror response for battlefield survival.
Energy and Water Appropriations Bill: Southampton Creek flood plain management services; Community College of Philadelphia Small Business Development.
Interior Appropriations Bill: Yardley Borough Sewer Authority
Labor, Health and Human Services: St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital; St. Mary Hospital Foundation; American Red Cross, Lower Bucks County Chapter.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development: Pennsylvania Turnpike / I-95 connection; Yardley, improvement of storm water systems; SEPTA, hybrid buses.
These earmarks aim at bettering our nation and/or our community. If you don't oppose these things, you should be supportive of Congressman Murphy's earmarks. Consequently, when you look at the disgraceful earmark practices of the Republican Congress, as opposed to the open and honest earmark rules of the Democratic congress, you can recognize how Murphy has used the benefits of a fair, open, honest system to serve his country and his district.
As previously stated, smart lawyers don't ask questions unless they already know the answers. Now that the Republican's question has been answered, any reasonable person would thank Congressman Murphy. Unfortunately, the Republicans who asked the question are not moderate or reasonable Republicans but those right wing extremists who find something wrong in everything except their own failures. These are the Republicans still supporting President Bush.