More than 12,000 people have sent an e-mail to Sen. Patty Murray through a website called ConservativeAlerts.com, demanding that she resign because of a recent session with high school students in which she commended Osama bin Laden’s purported social work as an example the U.S. has failed to emulate.
A message yesterday from the online campaign said, however, that “since the mainstream liberal media isn’t giving this story the time of day,” now is the time to “kick it up a notch” and flood her office with Federal Express letters telling her the same thing: “Resign now.”
The website provides a form in which an express letter can be sent to Murray’s office in Washington, D.C., for $9.95.
The campaign is a reaction to a session with world history students and campus leaders Dec. 18 in Vancouver, Wash., in which Murray asked them to ponder why bin Laden is “so popular around the world.”
Murray said 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.”
The senator then asked the students: “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?”
The form letter to Murray says, “You sent the message to those students that the United States somehow deserved or brought on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It is absolutely outrageous and despicable to imply that the American government should learn a lesson from the madman who murdered thousands of American citizens.”
The letter concludes, “The only one who should learn a lesson here is YOU. If you have any honor or respect for those Americans who lost their lives on 9-11, you should resign from the U.S. Senate IMMEDIATELY.”
Meanwhile, Reason magazine contributing editor Cathy Young, in her Boston Globe column yesterday, gave Murray one of her end-of-the year awards.
Young said Murray deserved “The other senatorial gaffe of the year” award. The columnist wrote, “Luckily for the Democrats, Murray is not their Senate leader,” referring to Sen. Trent Lott’s ouster after his praise of Sen. Strom Thurmond’s run for president in 1948 as a segregationist Dixiecrat.
“Still, they need to turn up the heat on her to apologize – or risk giving ammunition to those on the right who would tar all liberals with the ‘blame America first’ brush,” Young said.
Columnist Mark Steyn said Sunday in the Chicago Sun-Times that the GOP acquitted itself well in the Lott controversy, “if only compared to the pass Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is getting from her colleagues from her ‘Say what you like about Osama, but he made the Afghan yak trains run on time’ endorsement.”
In response to Lott’s remarks, Murray issued a statement Dec. 12 that said, “Like all Americans, I was disturbed by Sen. Lott’s comments. They were offensive, hurtful and wrong. Worst of all, they do not appear to be isolated remarks.”
“At a time when our country should stand as one, Sen. Lott’s comments serve only to divide,” Murray said. “We must continue to be a nation where people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Americans deserve leaders who will stand up for the civil rights of all citizens and help our nation to move forward.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune noted in an editorial Saturday that Murray suggests her critics are those “on the extreme fringes of society who try to exploit fear and uncertainty for political gain.”
“But one needn’t be an extremist to be offended by Murray’s analysis of Osama bin Laden and her criticism of her own country,” the paper said.
The Oregonian of Portland said Friday that “the big topic on angry white radio around here in recent days wasn’t Trent Lott,” but Murray.
The paper said Murray’s comments “even in the context of social-science-class seminaring, were ill-considered and ill-informed at best, but she wasn’t cozying up to Osama bin Laden, as the radio claptrap suggests.”
The Portland paper said Murray’s “words weren’t in the same universe of seriousness as the recent racially charged remarks that disqualified Lott from Senate leadership. But Murray is no innocent victim here, either. United States senators represent something, and someone, other than themselves when they speak in public. They have a responsibility to do better than Murray did here.”
The Oregonian concluded, “No doubt her opponents will use this incident against her and other Democrats in the future. And in one respect, her problem does parallel Lott’s: Murray, like Lott, brought it on herself.”
In an editorial, the Newark Star-Ledger said Murray’s comments make her “a patriot in the proudest tradition” who had the “the integrity to tell uncomfortable truths.” But the daily goes on to say that “Murray was wrong to suggest that Osama bin Laden’s appeal is based on decades of charity work.”