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Murtha For President: Send to a Friend

05/25/2011 11:50 am ET
  • Kenneth Lerer Managing Partner at Lerer Ventures, which incubated and is an investor in The Dodo

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The best way to put a Democrat in the White House in 2008 is to first put more Democrats in the Senate and House in 2006. And the best way to win in 2006 is to nationalize the upcoming election. This election must be a national referendum on the direction of this country. Specifically, on Iraq and on the performance and incompetency of Bush/Cheney and the Republican Senate and House.

When Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Presidency in 1968, he said, "At stake is not simply the leadership of our party and even our country. It is our right to moral leadership of this planet." That moment has come around again.

This country needs a leader to step up today, to be a symbol of hope, to be a President-in-waiting.

My candidate is Congressman John Murtha from Pennsylvania. If you agree, add your email address below, and then send to a friend right now.

Congressman John P. Murtha looks like a kindly grandfather in his blue suit, white shirt and striped tie, but he breathes fire. He is angry and decent, and when people hear him speak (which he is doing on behalf of scores of candidates all over the country) they shout "Murtha for President!" and the room erupts with cheers. You can feel the beginning of a grassroots campaign following him everywhere he goes.

He's the candidate Americans say they crave and this country needs: honest, direct, agenda free. He's not a bionic pol created by consultants and focus groups. He has a soul. With Jack Murtha, you get no bullshit, no lying, no spinning, no broken promises, no out-of-control ego. Americans want a guy who's got nothing to hide, who will fight fair for what he thinks is right, who doesn't know how to be anything but straight, and admit error when he's wrong. That's Jack Murtha --- at 73, he knows his own mind and isn't afraid of anybody. (And that's why the Republicans are so afraid of him.)

As he goes around the country, Murtha calls this administration "the most arrogant [he has] ever seen" in almost 40 years in Congress. He rips the president for fear of admitting mistakes. He shares what it's like to visit a soldier "who can only move his eyeballs" and how it feels to sit with his mother, who says she "prays every day for a miracle." He says that loyalty to the president is one thing and loyalty to our country is another, finer thing. And he outlines his three-step plan to redeploy our troops in Iraq --- starting right now. He declared that the war in Iraq is a civil war and he was right. He called for the resignation of Rumsfeld and generals have followed.

Jack Murtha is one of the Pentagon's favorite Congressmen. He left college to join the Marines and fight in Korea, where he won the American Spirit Honor Medal, given to one in 10,000 recruits. After Korea, he became a drill instructor at Parris Island --- think Lou Gossett, Jr. in "An Officer and a Gentlemen," only tougher --- before being selected for Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. In 1966, he re-enlisted to fight in Vietnam, where he won two purple hearts, a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. When he retired, he was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant.

As a member of Congress --- the first Vietnam veteran to be elected to the House of Representatives, in fact --- he was, in 1991, an enthusiastic supporter of the first Gulf War. A decade later, he was the among the first Congressmen to express doubts about a new war in Iraq.

He lives in the real world, where commanders give orders and soldiers die --- no elected official cares more about the boots on the ground than he does. "I will not tolerate even one additional death," he says. "Not to mention the casualties. Families gave their healthy sons and daughters to us and we return to them a child without arms, legs or with severe brain injuries. If we can avoid these casualties we should."

He's a real uniter, refusing to play partisan games: "When I go by the graveyard over there at Arlington, it doesn't say Democrat or Republican, it says American." And he stands up to the attacks of politicians who blindly support the president. In 2004, then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay --- who used to work as an exterminator --- called Murtha's criticism of our war effort "a calculated, craven political stunt." Murtha walked over to him on the floor of the House and said: "When I was in Vietnam, you were killing bugs."

It's "only" 2006. The presidential election is two-and-a-half years away. But these aren't normal times. Our country is in crisis, and our leaders are making decisions again and again that, according to every major poll, we don't want.

Murtha for President? If you think so, add your email address below and send this to a friend. Jack Murtha says he has no great desire to be president --- he'll surely resist the idea. But he's a patriot. He'll soon realize that we need him. And then his military training will make him agree to take on the most important mission of his life --- the Presidency.

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