Opinion

A Bittersweet Legacy Comes to an End

Reuters

Reuters

John Murtha was one of those guys whose influence didn’t really translate that well in today’s media culture.

He was a rock-ribbed former Marine who had two key objectives in his Congressional career: Support the troops and take care of his district.

He attracted his fair share of controversy in his time. He was implicated in the infamous ABSCAM controversy in the late 1970s. He was caught on tape thinking very carefully about a possible bribe attempt from an FBI agent posing as an Arab sheik. He narrowly escaped prosecution in a scandal that netted several politicians.

Later on his career, he became known as the king of pork-barrel politics for spending a bunch of money on an airport in his district that nobody ever uses. It’s a nice airport, but it would be a lot nicer if some planes would fly into it with real passengers every once in a while.

Murtha strongly backed Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in her bid to become Minority Leader, and when she became Speaker, she strongly backed his bid to become Majority Leader. Both of those races were against the same guy, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Not sure what Hoyer did to anger those two, but Murtha was much more successful in getting Pelosi elected than Pelosi was in getting Murtha elected.

John Feehery is president of the Feehery Group, a strategic advocacy firm dedicated to helping its clients achieve their legislative and communications objectives in Washington, D.C. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a contributor to The Hill’s “Pundits Blog.” To continue reading his column in "The Daily Caller"click here.