Blue Dogs Bark about Murtha strategy Posted by: McQ
on Sunday, February 25, 2007
Sometimes it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
John Murtha has discovered a variation on that theme. Instead of keeping his mouth shut and running his slow-bleed plan through the legislative process, after discussing it with leadership and gaining their approval, he found it necessary to brag, before the fact, about how incredibly smart he was for having come up with the strategy and announce it on a left-wing website.
If you're unfamiliar with the "slow-bleed" strategy, Murtha planned on hobbling the ability of the Bush administration to feed troops into the "surge" by making readiness demands that he knew the military couldn't meet and then trying to make the Republicans defend sending the troops without the "required" training or equipment.
However he just couldn't keep himself from telling everyone how freakin' clever he was. And now, it's all rounding on him. As the Washington Post points out, Murtha alone has managed what no one else could do. He's "united the Republicans and divided the Democrats". And the Blue Dog Democrats aren't at all pleased with Murtha or his plan:
"If this is going to be legislation that's crafted in such a way that holds back resources from our troops, that is a non-starter, an absolute non-starter," declared Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah), a leader of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats.
A lot of this is the result of Murtha's ego and plain old political miscalculation:
From the beginning, Murtha acted on his own to craft a complicated legislative strategy on the war, without consulting fellow Democrats. When he chose to roll out the details on a liberal, antiwar Web site on Feb. 15, he caught even Pelosi by surprise while infuriating Democrats from conservative districts.
Then for an entire week, as members of Congress returned home for a recess, Murtha refused to speak further. Democratic leaders failed to step into the vacuum, and Republicans relentlessly attacked a plan they called a strategy to slowly bleed the war of troops and funds. By the end of the recess, Murtha's once promising strategy was in tatters.
[As an aside, what does the author mean by "once promising strategy?" Is that a technical assessment or an opinion?]
And leadership apparently wasn't particularly happy with Murtha's conduct either:
"He stepped all over Speaker Pelosi's message of support for the troops," said Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.). "That was not team play, to put it mildly."
Leading sure is harder than sniping from the wings, isn't it?
Anyway, it appears that "slow-bleed" is kaput for the time being. You can always tell when something such as this is pretty much finished politically. You hear statements like:
"At least we're debating the topic, not blindly following the president."
That's the political equivalent to the sports team owner's statement of, "we stand behind Coach Blah 100%", a week before the good coach is ushered out the door. Apparently that's precisely where Murtha's grand strategy is headed. A pity he won't be following it.
Murtha really is like drinking a really bad drink or one of those really bad non alcoholic beers some have a "luxery" of receiving over here.
Should his strategy ever come to pass, I’d hope it would be in this year because he’d have 5,000 angry Soldiers from my unit paying him a visit at the start of next year when we got back after having waited longer for the next troop rotation to replace us.
Murtha has been in Congress for almost 30 years, mayhap longer...THERE’S A REASON HE WAS NOT IN LEADERSHIP. It wasn’t that his ship hadn’t come in yet, either. He’s just not that bright or talented. I believe this is the Peter Principle at work.