The political motto of John Murtha. Following the philosophy is paying off for him in the expected fashion:

Two veteran warriors battling to represent the 12th Congressional District appear locked in the closest race in the district in years.

Democratic Rep. John Murtha leads retired Army Lt. Col. William Russell by a little more than 4 percentage points, within the Susquehanna Poll’s 4.9-point margin of error. The poll of 400 likely voters was conducted for the Tribune-Review on Tuesday, amid uproar over Murtha’s statement that some of his constituents are racist.

Stanley Shemanski, 67, a retired meat cutter who lives in Apollo, said he’s undecided about the congressional race. He doesn’t know much about Russell, but he’s upset with Murtha’s comment that racism in the district could hurt Democrat Barack Obama’s chances.

“I didn’t like that at all. He shouldn’t have said it,” Shemanski said.

[. . .]

Russell moved to Johnstown within the past year. He said he decided to run after Murtha’s 2006 statement that a Pentagon investigation into the deaths of Iraqi civilians in Haditha would show that Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

Russell repeatedly has criticized Murtha for not apologizing for the remark after seven of the eight Marines charged in the killings were cleared of wrongdoing.

It would be sweet justice if Murtha lost. He is one of the most arrogant pork-barrelists in Congress and he has no filter between his brain and his mouth. Murtha has never been much of a statesman and these days, it is clear that he isn’t much of a politician either.

About two years ago, as people will recall, Murtha’s colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus rejected him for the position of Majority Leader despite the efforts of Nancy Pelosi to vault Murtha over the current Leader, Steny Hoyer. Now that we know that his fellow Democrats don’t want any part of Murtha’s “leadership” and now that we are seeing that increasingly, his own constituents are rebelling against the kind of representation–or lack thereof–that Murtha offers them, it is high time to put this old warhorse to pasture. He has stayed in Washington well past any period in which he was useful.