Was Murtha just mad that he wasn't stroked?

A mostly political Weblog.
Dec. 13 2005 3:13 PM

Murtha: They Didn't Stroke Me!

Is he worried about the war or the invites?

kf Essay Question: Rep. John Murtha is quoted in this week's Newsweek saying that if Bush II had invited him to the White House and let him air his views the way Bush I did, his high-profile call for rapid redeployment in Iraq could have been avoided.

"If they'd talked to me, it wouldn't have happened."

Advertisement

In 1995, Newt Gingrich publicly suggested he wouldn't have provoked a government shutdown if he hadn't been made to use the rear door of President Clinton's plane. Gingrich was widely denounced as a petty crybaby. How is what Murtha told Newsweek any different? Murtha says he thinks the nation is on a disastrous course in the Iraq War. Would he really not have spoken out if he'd been "talked to" and buttered up with access? (Murtha explicitly notes that Bush I didn't necessarily take the advice of his White House guests. He was just courteous enough to invite them and "listen to" them.")

Is Murtha a dissenter or just dissed? Discuss.

Update: Reader M. says I'm conflating "Gingrich's desire for status with Murtha's desire for input." But if the current President Bush had heard Murtha out, but then ignored him, would Murtha really have refrained from going public even though, in his view, " [t]he future of our country is at risk" and our soldiers are dying for a "flawed policy wrapped in illusion"? Refraining from dissent in order to maintain a possible future channel of "input" (an old Washington tradeoff) is different from getting bought off by mere trappings of status. But if the issue is war and peace it may not be a more moral choice. And the more the "input" in question involves ego-enhancing trappings (e.g. White House visits) and the charade of "access" rather than actual influence, the less moral it becomes, and the more it approaches the Gingrichian gold standard of pettiness. [I thought you were going to say, "in D.C., 'input' is status."--ed I was! But Murtha doesn't seem like the type who'd dine out on 'as I was telling the President' stories.]  3:19 A.M. link

A Golden Future at NYT? Ken Auletta's piece is a marker that New York publishing CW is entertaining the notion that  NYT publisher "Pinch" Sulzberger may go. The Gay Talese quote ("You get a bad king every once in a while") helps. The stock chart is brutal, though not as brutal as the Boston Herald. Still, New York publishing CW thought that Clinton was a goner in 1998 and that Bush was a goner in 2004. It's like the Note on drugs! A cool-headed outsider perspective suggests that at least one more anti-Pinch tidbit or scandal will be required for the Class B shareholders to end their family nightmare. Or at least start a new chapter. ...[Conflict: Auletta's wife is my agent too!6:00 P.M.

Stenchblog Update: I still find mystery-stench   stories disturbing, even when the stench is sweet. Someone (a mindermast!) could be trying out a delivery mechanism. That's why it's not all that reassuring when, as on Thursday, "nothing dangerous" is found in the air. ... 9:57 P.M.

Guilt-Trip, Incoming! I'm highly skeptical that a movie about gay cowhands, however good, will find a large mainstream audience. I'll go see it, but I don't want to go see it. (Why? Sexual orientation really is in the genes. Sorry.) When the film's national box office fails to live up to its hype and to the record attendance at a few early screenings, prepare to be subjected to a tedious round of guilt-tripping and chin-scratching by Frank Rich and every metropolitan daily entertainment writer who yearns to write about What the Movies Say About America Today. (Wild guess: They say we're still homophobic!) That will be harder to ignore than the movie. ... Maybe if we all go see it, Rich won't write about it! [He'll write about it-ed Good point.]  9:15 P.M.

How Stuff Works: Sculpting the news! The printed graphic sidebar to the LAT's front-page, most e-mailed piece  on the Bugatti Veyron supercar features this technical tidbit:

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.