Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who gained prominence in the netroots by opposing the war in Iraq in 2005, but who more recently has come under fire for a variety of ethics scandals, was hospitalized today after having gall bladder surgery last week.

The Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington said that the 77-year-old Democrat was a patient in its intensive care unit but referred all questions about his condition to his family.

Murtha’s congressional office confirmed that he underwent scheduled laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder at Bethesda Naval Hospital last week. But the congressman’s spokesman refused comment on the seriousness of his condition or any complication that required hospitalization.

Back in December, Murtha suffered from a gall bladder infection.

I have a number of family members in John Murtha’s district and wish him well. Nevertheless, just to make the crude political calculation here, if he’s hospitalized for a long period of time, he becomes one less vote for the health care bill (although he may have wound up among Bart Stupak’s anti-abortion Democrats as a no vote, though that was unlikely). Also, while Murtha easily beat back a Republican challenge in 2008, winning 58-42, an open seat in that district would be inviting for the GOP. Democrats do have another candidate in this race, former Navy Ryan Bucchianaeri, who has been planning a primary challenge to Murtha.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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