Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jason Altmire: John Murtha's "Boy"

To regular visitors, I'll have a new column up about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The keys for Melissa Hart are to: (1) point out that it makes no sense for people to vote for John McCain -- and then to vote for Altmire, who has nothing in common with McCain; (2) make the case that a vote to keep the same people in the House is in no way a "vote for change"; (3) cite the definition of insanity, which is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results; (4) note that the Altmire-Pelosi-Murtha team is supporting the largest tax increase in American history -- one that will be especially hurtful to those paying taxes at the lowest level.

Melissa Hart, the 4th Congressional District's once-and-future Congresswoman

From Friday through Sunday, I'll be writing about one of the biggest political slugfests in the country: the race between former Congresswoman Melissa Hart and the man who won her seat in 2006, Jason Altmire. It's taking place in western Pennsylvania, in the 4th CD, and I'm right here to observe the battle.

Starting in 2006, Rep. Altmire developed an extremely bad habit: he tells voters one thing during the campaign (where he was opposed to the Iraq War timetable) and does the reverse in Congress (where he voted for the Iraq War timetable). He ran as a "fiscal conservative," which in his case meant he would vote for the largest tax increase in history.

On all key votes, Altmire sides with the Pelosi wing of the Democratic Party. On some inconsequential legislation, Pelosi allows Jason to affirm the "moderate" position. That ruse is supposed to convince voters of the 4th Congressional District that the liberal Altmire is not . . . well, liberal.

As syndicated columnist Robert Novak recently said of Altmire, "He doesn't have a conservative bone in his body." That's a problem for Jason in what is a moderate-to-conservative district.

During the Pennsylvania Primary, Altmire spent a great deal of time fawning over one Barack Obama. After the Illinois Senator contemptuously dissed Pennsylvanians -- saying we were a bunch of gun-toting religious fanatics -- Altmire slowed down on the fawning. By now, he may be asking "Barack who?"

Altmire loves to suck up to people of power. If he's re-elected (which seems unlikely) -- his first act in the new Congress would be the same as in the past one: voting for Nancy Pelosi. As a card-carrying inhabitant of the 4th Congressional District (albeit sans guns at the moment), I can assure you that no one remotely like Mrs. Pelosi lives in this area.

Another relatively newfound buddy of Altmire's is Rep. John Murtha, usually called "The Prince of Pork." Near the end of his first campaign, Altmire called the thoroughly corrupt Murtha "my campaign manager." Murtha, then running for Majority Leader, funneled a great deal of money to Altmire, presumably to ensure his vote for the Johnstown congrressman's effort to head the House Democrats.

Of course, Murtha lost that race by a huge margin. Apparently, his Democrat colleagues regarded him with the same distaste he engenders in Republicans and Independents. Murtha loves "earmarks," wasteful spending projects like "The Bridge to Nowhere."

Jason Altmire also loves earmarks. "Jack" Murtha has explained to his younger colleague that they're a great way to buy votes. In good times, earmarks are a way of buying votes with money from people's own tax payments. However, in a time of deficits, they're a way of buying votes with our children's money -- because they're the ones who will end up paying the bills.

Altmire takes some positions that are downright mysterious. For example, he hates the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill. Apparently, his stand has something to do with his previous position as a lobbyist for the vast empire known as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You remember UPMC -- it's the "nonprofit" that turned in a surplus (i.e., profit) last year of $676 million.

UPMC funnels huge amounts of money to its congressional errand-boys, people like Altmire and Murtha. Even with its huge profits, UPMC seems to need tens of millions in earmarks. It's motto used to be to "choose a health care provider as if your life depended on it." In the case of the company's CEO, Jeffrey Romoff, when his life depended on it, he elected to go to Baltimore's Johns Hopkins.

By the way, President Bush's Medicare Drug plan has saved my wife and me over $4,000. Other people in the district have had similar experiences, so we really aren't enthusiastic about Jason's positions.

If 4th district voters catch on to Altmire's bait-and-switch brand of politics, he can't win re-election. Bulletin to Jason: they're catching on, and I'm here to help that process along.

More tomorrow about Hart-Altmire.

(I admit I sometimes refer to Altmire as SFB, which is an acronym for "Sneering Fat Boy." I do only because he sneers a lot and is starting to look as overweight as his hero, Murtha.

If you'd like to offer support to Melissa Hart -- and I hope you do -- go to her website at: She needs your help now to begin sending Altmire on his way.


Joe Talarico said...
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Michael Pasternak said...
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