Published February 08, 2010
Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. John "Jack" Murtha was certainly controversial but for the people in his district he did what congressmen are supposed to do – which is, to provide as many goods and services for his constituents as possible. He became the symbol of pork barrel spending in Washington but despite the criticism, Murtha always believed there was nothing wrong with pork and, in fact, it was your responsibility to get a much of the pork as possible.
Before he died, he was under investigation, yet again, for ethics violations. But this was nothing new for Murtha. He was constantly being scrutinized -- if not by the House Ethics Committee then by federal prosecutors or the Republican Party. In the end, it all rolled off Jack’s back. And he never seemed to buckle under the weight of the criticism. Think about it. He’s the only member of Congress who was able to build his own airport, in Johnstown, Penn. -- An airport which had virtually no flights and very few passengers, with the exception of Jack Murtha.
As much as he was criticized by his fellow colleagues in the Congress, it always amazed me, how many of them went to him when appropriations bills were coming up to ask for a pork chop or two for themselves.
Jack was decorated Vietnam war veteran and it surprised many people that he was such a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq. But he was beloved by veterans and veterans groups for his support for the Veterans Administration and VA hospitals and facilities that he put in appropriations bills over the years. He opposed the war out of conscience as a former warrior and as it turns out he was right.
Bob Beckel is a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor.