Murtha: "If I'm corrupt, it's because I take care of my district"

The “if” here operates in roughly the same way as it did in the title of that O.J. book, I gather.

Whatever today’s Quote of the Day ends up being, it won’t top this:

No one has tallied the amount Mr. Murtha has steered into his district, which sprawls well beyond the Conemaugh Valley and reaches the West Virginia border. Conservative estimates are in the billions of dollars, most of it lobbied from federal agencies or won through open bidding or, more controversially, steered home directly during his 35-year career…

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,” Mr. Murtha said. “My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary. Not the bureaucrats who are unelected over there in whatever White House, whether it’s Republican or Democrat. Those bureaucrats would like to control everything. Every president would like to have all the power and not have Congress change anything. But we’re closest to the people.”…

He doubts earmarks will ever vanish, because once he leaves the District of Columbia, the cry stops.

“That’s only in Washington,” he said of the complaints. “That’s not out in the field. Out in the field people appreciate what has happened. They see the advantage to being able to help the district.

He’s completely right on that latter point, I think. Since Hot Air was founded, Grandpa Earmark’s smeared the Haditha Marines, called his constituents racist and redneck, and drawn complaints from outfits like CREW for corruption. And in spite of it all, he’s twice won reelection going away, all thanks to his expertise at directing pork back home in exchange for votes and campaign contributions. I hope Ed’s right about this House investigation possibly taking him down, because there ain’t no way no chance no how a challenger’s ever going to beat him. Exit question: If there really is something to the charges against him — and no less a partisan than Kos fears that there may be — wouldn’t Obama and Pelosi lean on him to retire and go away before the scandal explodes on the Hill? The sooner the better, too, lest there be 2010 repercussions.