Marshall and Israel

Galloway picked up the story of Marshall’s “switcharoo” gaffe in today’s Morning Jolt. Chip Koplin, a strong supporter of our intervention on Israel’s behalf and a Macon resident, wrote a letter to Rep. Jim Marshall this month dealing with the Gaza flotilla incident and the global outcry against Israel.

He asked Marshall to voice his support for Israel, but the Congressman’s reply, which you can read in its entirety here, probably left Koplin scratching his head:

Thank you for contacting me with your condemnation of Israel’s actions against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and your demand that it be held accountable.

Humanitarian aid should be allowed to reach Gaza. The United States itself has provided a great deal of humanitarian funding and aid for Gaza. I have strongly supported that despite some criticism from supporters of Israel. Weapons, ammunition, other military supplies and fighters do not have humanitarian purposes.

I assume Israel’s intervention was designed to deter such non-humanitarian support. I’m told that Israeli soldiers were armed with only paintball guns and side arms in the event of an emergency[,] and that six of the boats in the flotilla were detoured to Israel without incident. So the question is what happened on the sixth ship?


  1. Nathan says:

    That’s a pretty big goof-up by someone in Congressman Marshall’s office. I hope we can show Marshall the door in November.

  2. Doug Deal says:

    His staff has been too busy looking into the backgrounds of his opponents to worry about such minor details as “issues”.

    Give him a break, he has a harder job trying to explain to the people of the 8th why he thinks Nancy Pelosi is worthy of the Speakership, his support of TARP and his opposition to righting the wrong of Obamacare.

    Good luck Jim.

      • Doug Deal says:

        If you knew what you were talking about you would know that he has nothing to do with the election of Reid as Majority leader of the Senate.

        Of course, Marshall will try to run away from his record, which you wisely did not attempt to refute.

    • Fresh Prince of Bonaire says:

      Explain to me how this is pandering. If you read the article it shows that the content of Marshall’s letter was the same regardless of whether the constituent was pro Israel’s actions or in opposition of them with the only difference being the introductory sentence reacting to the constituents request. How is that supposed to be a “switcheroo”? File this in the “nothing to see hear, move along” folder.

      • Dear Fresh,

        The implications of both were different. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. That is why Nancy’s Boy has two different form letters.

  3. Tiberius says:

    Sad. A DC staffer making $20k hit the wrong button.

    The higher you get, the easier it is for underlings to bring you down. Ask any manager who was fired b/c his people didn’t perform.

    • hannah says:

      Isn’t that the manager’s job, to get other people to perform and like doing their best? Even household management isn’t just giving orders. Though many a “head of household” doesn’t seem to understand that.

      • Tiberius says:

        My main point was let’s not read too much into this. Someone hit the wrong–“left or right”–button. Congressman get so much volume of mail, email, etc. that the process is rife for slips of the finger. Having once interned in Dc, I suppose I am a little more understanding.

        Go Austin Scott!!

    • Buzzfan says:

      Sad. A DC staffer making $20k hit the wrong left button.


      Curiosity leads one to wonder how the reply generated by the right button reads.

        • polisavvy says:

          So, does that mean that Mr. Marshall can talk out both sides of his mouth on such an important issue and we should just let it slide? Or, should we be concerned that he has two letters — one pro and one anti-Israel? At some point a person has to make a stand and form an opinion. It appears as though Mr. Marshall isn’t really certain or committed one way or the other. Can we say pandering?

          • benevolus says:

            He does NOT have one pro and one anti letter. Both letters are the same except for the greeting.

            • polisavvy says:

              Thanks for the clarification, benevolus. BTW, how have you been. Not been on here in quite a while. Missed you guys!

            • There are; however, two different letters. They imply different positions for Marshall and obviously he likes it that way and that’s why there are two different letters.

              • polisavvy says:

                So, in the scheme of life, do the two different letters represent two different viewpoints or do they infer that perhaps Marshall can’t make up his mind as to which of the two he supports?

                All I can add is, go Austin Scott, go!!

                • Hi Poli,

                  I believe the letters are cleverly written in a way that allows the reader to interpret the letter based on which sentence is first. Much like a person make take identical statements from two different people in opposite ways dependent upon the history between the two.

                  Marshall wants it both ways. He is no one’s leader.

                  • B Balz says:

                    Ken, irrespective of how you view Rep. Marshall, I will share a little secret with you – I bet every sitting Rep. has two version letter sets on a variety of topics.

                    These letter are virtually the same, except where they are different. (;>)

                    • polisavvy says:

                      I agree with you that a good many Representatives (or Senators for that matter) have two different versions of letters. Just because they do doesn’t make it a good policy especially when people are human and are going to slip up every now and again. Personally, I’d like my Representative (or Senators) to actually take a stand on an issue and declare which way they are leaning so that it’s clear to the voters exactly where they (our elected officials) stand. Too much ambiguity is not a good thing, in my opinion.

                    • Hi BB,

                      Hope you’re well – and you’re probably right, as usual. As you can probably guess, it still makes me ill and it would if it were a Republican doing the same thing.

                      Jim Marshall: No ideas. No leadership. No re-election.

                  • polisavvy says:

                    Agreed. That’s why I’m so glad that I live in the 8th so I can vote for Representative Scott.

                    • B Balz says:

                      Hey Ken,

                      Just fine, glad to see you around. Hope all is good down your way.

                      Zing on Right or wrong, but I don’t see this minor matter becoming a tiny issue that is going to gain any real traction, create a buzz, or even resonate slightly with many voters.

                      GA’s 8th truly has an interesting choice to make, prolly one of the most watched races in the State – That is the buzz! I predict y’all might even be a notable National story.

                      Both candidates have extraordinary credentials, are ethical, thoughtful and highly intelligent. To my knowledge both men are as ethical as they come.

                      It is a honest match-up and I will be watching very closely. We’ll all know soon enough if the GOP will gain a seat against a solid Blue Dog Dem.

                      Perhaps a bellwether, definitely a bell ringer.

                    • polisavvy says:

                      B Balz. I agree with you about the integrity of these two incredible men. It most definitely will garner national attention and will be a great race to watch. Here’s hoping my guy goes to D.C. — Austin Scott!

              • benevolus says:

                Nothing of the sort Ken. As far as I can tell, the letters are identical except for the greeting. One says “Thank you for contacting me with your condemnation of Israel’s actions against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and your demand that it be held accountable.”
                The other says “Thank you for contacting me with your support for Israel in the wake of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla incident.”
                After that, the letters are identical and therefore outline the exact same position from Marshall. The very next sentence in both letters is “Humanitarian aid should be allowed to reach Gaza.”. There is no implied agreement or deception. The first sentence is just an acknowledgment of the writers inquiry.

  4. Hill Rat says:

    I assume the intern who made this mistake got his or her position based on his or her parents’ contributions to the campaign. I guess they have a lot more fundraising to do now.

    • Tiberius says:

      You never know. I interned for a high ranking GA GOPer in Congress in the mid 90s and my parents didn’t contribute anything. Quite the opposite, my dad thinks all politicians should be shot.

  5. slyram says:

    The first rule of congressional staffing is make your boss look good. The 8th is an intelligent district so the mail must be detailed and that district is so diverse that letters must have substance because center districts don’t just rubberstamp the either party’s position.

    People I met during my trip to Israel in January are inviting me to join facebook pages about the Gaza flotilla issue. I can say that security at the Tel Aviv airport took three hours and included asking me if I plan to blow up the plane; Israel doesn’t play. Surprisingly, that nation is 16% Muslim and I enjoy talks over dinner with people of three faiths—me being a Methodist.

    As former staff, I would say that district and D.C. staffs in center districts better hustle this year because the recent drama with Barrow indicates that nothing should be assumed from your party and the other guys are fielding stronger candidates. When we had Tifton, Moultrie and Macon in the second district, field staff was everywhere but as much as I am in Tift County I never met any current Marshall field staffers.

    In the early 90s, the head of UPS came by our office to discuss UPS status as a freight carrier or airline. The congressman asked me to send him the involved legislation ASAP and I gave it to the front desk person an hour later. She got it out that day—FedEx. So, peace to Marshall’s staff since we all make mistakes—this one sounds like a summer intern’s error. But, if you boss doesn’t win November you can forget about rolling over to the Obama Administration that you all seem to like less that W Bush’s White House.

  6. And why, exactly, does Jim Marshall need two separate replies that imply exactly two different things? There are two important lessons to be learned here.

    First, Jim Marshall can’t differentiate between a recognized government and a terrorist organization. In both replies Marshall equates the legal state of Israel – a legitimate republic and our ally – with Hamas – a terrorist organization which has sworn to destroy that same ally. Jim’s been drinking from the Potomac River far too long and needs to be brought home.

    Second, and even more important, a leader would not have needed two form letters. A real leader would have had one position that he could explain in the same way to everyone.

    I guess he has one reply that expresses why he voted against Obamacare and another that explains why he refuses to sign a pledge to repeal it.

    Jim Marshall: No leadership, no ideas, no re-election.

      • benevolous,

        I read the article and the two letters. Marshall may regurgitate the same inane statements, but he implies two different positions. That is WHY he has two different letters. That’s also why someone who supports Israel COULD get the “wrong” letter.

  7. Game Fan says:

    I Googled “He was with it before he was against it” to find out where this originated, but looks like it’s everywhere. Usually with politicians of course. I’d say it’s impossible to ever know when this originated. Perhaps eons ago. Before the invention of the wheel even.

    • Hill Rat says:

      “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” –Senator John Kerry

        • benevolus says:

          So Poli, my ex-wife is now a customer of my business. If I was being asked if there “is” still a relationship between us, what should I say?

          • polisavvy says:

            I guess the truth. There “is” a business relationship. Right? BTW, I may have asked you this already (getting old and sometimes forget what I had for dinner last night); but, who is the photo of that you are using? Looks very familiar. Thanks in advance.

            • benevolus says:

              Yes. There “is” a business relationship. There is not a “romantic” relationship”. The meaninf of “is” needs to be defined.
              The picture is Woody Guthrie, hero to workers, enemy to fascists.

  8. Rick Day says:

    You are all missing a point.

    Marshall is right. Israeli military shot one of our citizens in the back of the head, in international waters.

    There was no Hamas in that man’s name. If you condone or apologize away one murder, you can condone and rationalize he death of millions.

    And then, what kind of humans have you become?

    • Doug Grammer says:

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think there is “Hamas” in anyone’s name. You can check, but I doubt you’ll find, PLO, IRA, or Al Qaeda in anyone’s name either. Killing a person in self-defense is not murder. If your family lived in a town that was being shelled, would you want you government go out into international waters to see what’s coming in to the town that is shelling you? If the people sending the humanitarian aid responded by throwing the inspectors overboard and hitting them with weapons, what do you think an appropriate response would be?

      Marshal’s problem is simple. He needs to pick a side and stick with it. It may not be popular but at least you will know what he stands for. I have always been told, “if you tell the truth, you won’t have to remember what you have to say.” It looks as if Marshal’s trying to tell different things to different people. If that’s the case, that makes him a liar in my book. If he has picked a side and is siding with Hamas against Isreal, well that option doesn’t look good for him either.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        Now that I have read both letters that were prepared by Congressman Marshal, I will retract the liar comment. He is trying to address different concerns with a different letter. I will state that he is trying to walk the fence and one letter should start with, “Get over it, Israel was right,” but that’s my opinion. Apparently, he doesn’t have one.

  9. B Balz says:

    This is the first PP thread like a Seinfeld Episode:

    Russell Dalrymple: So, what have you guys come up with?
    Jerry: Well, we thought about this in a variety of ways, but the basic idea is I would play myself…
    George Costanza: May I…?
    Jerry: Go ahead.
    George Costanza: I think I can sum up the show for you with one word: nothing.
    Russell Dalrymple: Nothing?
    George Costanza: Nothing!
    Russell Dalrymple: What does that mean?
    George Costanza: The show is about nothing!

    • B Balz says:

      Every nation is liable to err, thus fallible.

      This questions goes back to the end of WWll when the Brits vehemently opposed the establishment of a two-State neighborhood, and then several thousand years before that.

      The latter distinction speaks to why we could stop using Middle eastern oil tomorrow, and still be hated. We are committed to our policies, and for that, well, we are committed.

      Or as Mr. Ron White suggests, we could sell off a huge portion of a certain military base facing the Atlantic in Florida to Israel. Come on down!

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