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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Patty Politics

Washington Senator Patty Murray is opposed to the president's request for $87 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan (I didn't realize Afghanistan was included in that).

"We all understand the importance of helping the Iraqi people, but it need not come at the expense of our schools, roads, health care and jobs," Murray said in her party's weekly radio address.


"Every family in America understands the dangers of not balancing your checkbook," she said. "Not only will the president's budget deficit be a burden on future generations, but it is crowding investments we need to make in education, health care, transportation and security today."


"Investments will be made in America first, not last," Murray said.

Well, that's certainly a valid position. In fact, in normal times this would be my position, too.

However, it doesn't jibe with what Sen. Murray said last December, when she spoke to a group of high school students about Osama Bin Laden's popularity in the Arab world:

"We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world?" said Murray, according to the Vancouver Columbian newspaper. "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty?"


Murray said, according to the Vancouver paper, that bin Laden has been "out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that."

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?" Murray asked.


Murray concluded the session with students by challenging them to consider alternatives to war, the Columbian reported. She said that while building up Third World nations is costly, war is expensive too.

This too is a valid position (even though this is known to some as "paying extortion"), though she was justly derided at the time for the remark about the "day care facilities" (and I derided her for a number of other things).

But these two positions are contradictory. Fine, fine, We Must Do More for the poor Third Worlders (and then they won't Hate Us). But when it comes time to actually put her money where her mouth is, Murray suddenly gets a case of America Firstitis.

I'm guessing this is explained by the fact that it's a Republican administration that wants the money. To hell with the Little Brown People. To hell even with national security, Murray-style (i.e. bribing people into not flying planes into our buildings). Anything to thwart George Bush.

(Latest Murray news via Best of the Web. Scroll down, because they put in permalinks only when they damn well please. Taranto didn't make a big enough deal out of this, so I thought I would.)

UPDATE: Extortion added 10/01.