This isn't a joke. He's actually serious about running the Democratic party, such as it currently is, into the ground. Oh, and it's to keep his name in the press considering that his calls for immediate withdrawal would have prevented this week's elimination of Zarqawi.
U.S. Representative John Murtha, a Vietnam War veteran who has called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, said he plans to run for majority leader if Democrats win control of the House in the November elections.He's assuming quite a bit. While all 435 House seats are up for election in November, Republicans hold 231 seats, to 201 for Democrats. There is one independent and two vacancies. It would take a 15 seat swing in order for Democrats to take the House. There's more than five months to go til the elections and quite a bit can happen between now and then, but thus far Murtha's been proven wrong on Iraq time and time again, and one has to wonder about his political skills beyond winning elections in his home district.
Murtha, 73, sent a two-sentence letter to all House Democrats today stating his interest in the post, said his spokeswoman, Cindy Abram.
``Our goal is to win the House back and if there's an open seat, I'm the candidate,'' Murtha said in a prepared statement.
In fact, it's curious he'd make this move just days after Zarqawi was eliminated by US and coalition forces in Iraq. After all, Murtha had called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq - a move that would have made this week's raid on Zarqawi impossible - and Zarqawi would have had free run of Iraq.
This move could potentially expose just how strong or weak the anti-war left of the Democrat party truly is. And do Democrats nationally want to head in this direction? Apparently not, as some in the caucus are quite pissed at Murtha's stunt. They are trying to unify the party so that they can win in November, and now GOPers can smear the entire party with a broad brush by latching onto Murtha's statements. Or Pete Stark, or any of the other far left anti-war types who have railed against the courageous efforts of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are fighting to eliminate terrorists where they hide - not deal with them on our own soil.
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At the same time, Newt Gingrich is making his own claims - that he would run for President in 2008 if no frontrunner emerges. That's another way of saying he's throwing his hat into the ring and is going to weigh the options depending on how things go. That's precisely what everyone else who is running for President does - they have to see how much support they're getting, how much support their opponents are getting, and whether they have a chance to win nationally.
I'd put Gingrich's odds of lasting through to the convention at 15%. He may be considered an ideas guy, but I don't think the support is there, and his odds would go down once guys like Allen and Giuliani throw their hat into the ring. Once again, it's about getting their name mentioned and people talking about them without having to spend money to do so.