Of all the self-inflicted wounds of this election cycle, it's hard to find any worse than Congressman Jim Moran, who appeared to be demeaning the 24 years of honorable military service of his opponent, Col. Patrick Murray, when he said the following:
"What [Republicans] do is that they find candidates -- usually stealth candidates -- that haven't been in office, haven't served or performed any kind of public service. My opponent is typical."
For a 10-term Congressman to complain that a 24-year military veteran "hasn't performed any kind of public service" is an insult to Col. Murray and to every other American serving in the United States military. Now, that statement alone might have been excused as a slip of the tongue or a misstatement. But then the Congressman went on to say this about Col. Murray:
"And of course, for 24 years, he's taken a government check because, frankly, the military still is part of the Federal government, uh, and, yet, his principle platform is to cut government spending."
Again Moran trivializes military service by implying that our troops are like any other bureaucrats on the federal dole, and thus are hypocritical when they have the audacity to suggest ht we cut federal spending. It's a comment that's frankly so asinine and insulting that no rebuttal is acceptable. But the excuse offered by the Moran campaign was merely more of the same:
‚ÄúThe point Congressman Moran was making is that Northern Virginia is a region that prides itself on local engagement -- serving in the PTA, on local boards, working with non-profits to help those less fortunate and also serving in local elected office.‚ÄĚ
In other words, serving the armed forces in deployments around the world for 24 years does not reach the level of service as working at your PTA. And, of course, it was because of those deployments that Col. Murray was unable to fulfill his duties in ‚Äúlocal engagement.‚ÄĚ
The relevance of this attack to the whole election is what it says about those who've been in Congress for too long. Apparently if you've been in Congress for 20 years, you really do begin to think of yourself as above normal mortals, particularly above the check-grabbing grunts in the military. As for Scoreboard... we put the public service of honorable military personnel far above that of politicians.
In the first place, Congressmen don't put their lives on the line. They also don't give up their personal freedoms as you're required to in the military. And our troops know how to take orders. The first thing you learn in the Marine handbook is the chain of command.
Our representatives seem to have forgotten that their chain of command begins with the folks they're supposed to represent. An occasional vote that's at odds with the mood of the constituents is understandable. But to do it as consistently as this Congress has -- on bailouts, stimulus spending, health care and cap and trade -- that's really what's fueling voter discontent.
And while the insult to the military may be the biggest single stumble that Moran makes in this campaign, we suspect that if he is voted out, it will be more because he's gone rogue, abandoning the true interests of his constituents.