Reale Simple

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


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.


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