Reale Simple

The world is more than what they tell you. Listen up. It's not complex. It's Reale Simple.

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Former USCHO writer, former writer at a Midwestern broadsheet, occassional CHN blogger.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Republican Values?

Last week, the Watertown Daily Times reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) "will push Scozzafava for House Armed Services post if elected." Dede Scozzafava is crowing about it as though this is a major coup.

Seriously? For a person who would be representing Fort Drum? You don't say.

I should mention at the outset that Boehner is just doing his job. He's a party figure as Minority Leader and thus it's part of the job description to support the candidates with the "R." Being Minority Leader means working for the party, even if you're a man of principle. He didn't choose Dede Scozzafava, but it's his job to get her elected. The purpose here isn't to blast John Boehner, it's simply to point out how weak of a motivation this is for voting for Scozzafava.

Forget for a moment that Doug Hoffman would clearly caucus with the Republicans after he's elected. Let's take a quick trip in the Wayback Machine.

In 1984, the 10th Mountain Division was reactivated, and its headquarters was placed at Fort Drum, which, at the time, was a minor Army post. Today, 80,000 soldiers a year train there.

In 1983, Congressman David Martin, a Marine Corps veteran representing the 26th district and Jefferson County, was named to the House Armed Services Committee. Since that time, Fort Drum's representative has never been missing from the committee's member rolls until John McHugh's resignation this week.

It's hardly uncommon to find representatives of districts with major military posts on the HASC. Among the posts currently represented: Fort Carson (4th Infantry Division), Fort Bragg (82nd Airborne Division, 2 different representatives), Schofield Barracks (25th Infantry Division) and Pearl Harbor Naval Base (US Pacific Fleet), Norfolk Naval Base (Fleet Forces Command)... Camp Lejeune, Fort Detrick, Fort Huachuca, Wright-Patterson AFB, the list goes on and on.

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), the chairman, represents Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base. The new Ranking Member of the minority, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), represents Fort Irwin. And of course, the most recent Ranking Member, John McHugh, represented Fort Drum.

It's also not uncommon to see military veterans on the committee, like Democrats Rep. Jim Marshall and Rep. Joe Sestak, or Republicans Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and Rep. Mike Coffman. Two women on the committee, Rep. Niki Tsongas (whose father survived Pearl Harbor) and Delegate Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, grew up in military families. One is married to a Vietnam veteran. Democrat Rep. Dave Loebsack's step-son is in the service.


Based on an admittedly less than thorough look at the current HASC, at least 36 of the committee's 58 members either have a personal connection to the military as a veteran or close relation to a veteran, or represent a major military facility. Three of them - Tsongas, Rep. Walter B. Jones, and Rep. Silvestre Reyes, are both.

Doug Hoffman, who left the Army Reserve in 1976 as a Staff Sergeant, would also be both.

So considering that he did his turn in the military and would be representing an important active duty post of the United States Army with a long history of representation on the HASC, and would caucus with Republicans... clearly, Doug Hoffman is equally, if not more qualified to serve on that committee.

So there are only a few conclusions we can draw from this announcement. Either the Republican Party is willing to place either Scozzafava or Doug Hoffman on the committee, and thus, this is no reason to vote for Scozzafava. Or, this is some sort of veiled threat to keep Hoffman off the committee if he wins. Sour grapes, perhaps? If this is the case, the Republican Party is clearly only looking out for itself and not for any kind of principle. Why would you vote for that?

The North Country wants a conservative. The only one in this race is Doug Hoffman. He's the best choice we have to represent not only Fort Drum, but the 23rd District as a whole, whether the Republicans are willing to give him a seat on the Armed Services committee or not.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why I Support Doug Hoffman for Congress

I used to consider myself a strong Republican, because I believed the Republican Party best espoused conservative values. I'm not exactly sure when it was that I decided that was no longer true. It might have been after I plugged my nose and voted for John McCain. After all, I figured he was better than the alternative, and given the way things have played out to date, I still feel I made the right decision.

But time and time again, the Republican Party has shown that it is willing to try for the most politically expedient path, instead of the path of conservative principle. Somewhere between 1994 and 2006, when the party was unceremoniously booted from power in Congress, the mantra of "a government that governs least governs best" became "a government governed by Republicans governs best." That's the wrong answer.

Doug Hoffman knows this firsthand. Easily one of the best conservative choices to throw his name into the hat for the special election in New York's 23rd District, he was unceremoniously spurned in favor of "the party's choice."

"The party's choice" didn't win in NY-20 when then-Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco was chosen over a better choice, State Sen. Betty Little. It's even worse now when "the party's choice" has been repeatedly endorsed by ACORN's front party, the Working Families Party.

After hearing that Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava was "the party's choice," I was flabbergasted. A woman who is unabashedly pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and whose husband runs the local AFL-CIO and has been endorsed multiple times by the Working Families Party... is the best choice for the Republican Party... in the North Country? I wouldn't think twice about her as a Republican choice in, say, Albany, or Manhattan. But Watertown? Plattsburgh? REALLY?

When State Sen. Darrel Aubertine, a true moderate who is considered more conservative than many of his colleagues across the aisle in Albany, was considered a favorite for the Democrat nomination, I caught myself asking an open question - might I actually support a Democrat?

Aubertine did not run, and there's a better choice. Doug Hoffman - the Conservative Party of New York's choice for Congress, and the only small-c conservative running in NY-23.

The party didn't pick Dede Scozzafava because she represents the party's values well. The party picked Dede Scozzafava because they thought she had a better chance to win. They chose her because they thought that being previously elected made her more likely to win than just a common citizen, a businessman. They selected her because it was "her turn."

It was Jim Tedisco's turn, too. Whoops.

But the party miscalculated. I, like many North Country residents, will not support Dede Scozzafava simply because she's got an "R" next to her name.

Bill Owens is the Democrat candidate, the handpicked choice of Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. He's another vote for Nancy Pelosi and her radical agenda that seeks to fundamentally change our nation from a country founded on individual liberties to one which fosters and encourages dependency on a bloated, mismanaged government bureaucracy. But at least he's a liberal in liberal's clothing. It would be better that we not fooled ourselves about who we were voting for if we were to choose him as Secretary McHugh's replacement rather than choose a wolf in sheep's clothing.

But the best part is this: ultimately, it's not why you shouldn't support Scozzafava. It's why you SHOULD support Doug Hoffman.

It's time to stop voting because you don't like the other guy, and this election is a great place to start. Pundits popularly claim that you are "wasting your vote" to choose a third party. Not this time. Not when the "major party" choice is six of one and half-dozen of another, not with a clear alternative with a real, populist message like Doug Hoffman - and not when he has a real chance to win.

Doug Hoffman is the only candidate in this race that espouses the values which drew tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans to the streets of Washington on September 12th. Those values are, traditionally, in sync with the values of North Country voters. Doug Hoffman is the only candidate that will stand up to government waste. He's the only one willing to stand against a corrupt tax code. He's the only one standing against card check. Against the disastrous cap-and-trade scheme. Against a government take-over of healthcare, which can only drive the quality of health services into the ground. All of these positions support liberty and oppose government control, and Doug Hoffman is the ONLY candidate who can claim these positions.

When we choose our candidates based on their record and their values instead of whether they've got an R or a D next to their names, it becomes a no-brainer. The North Country needs Doug Hoffman - and he can be an important reminder to not only the New York GOP but the GOP nationwide that conservatives are not going to be led around blindly by the hand.

On Facebook, commenting on his recent endorsement by the PBA, Hoffman said, "it goes to show that people follow principles, not parties. When will the parties figure that out?"

Maybe after Doug Hoffman is sworn into Congress as an elected Conservative.