Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Not only did she roll over at the beck and call of the Democratic leadership, she was too ineffectual to at least demand some of the large amount of pork being passed around in the process. Do you think she maybe could have acted like a principled moderate, that she ran as, for a few hours or so, and gotten some type of border enforcement funds put in the bill in exchange for her vote to surrender? Maybe a drone or two, perhaps. If we are using the bill for shrimp research the drones at least make some amount of sense from a security standpoint.
I hope that there is enough room in Raul Grijalva's back pocket that Gabby can remain comfortable in there, because she sure doesn't seem to be emerging any time soon.
Seriously though, I believe that Gabby missed a large opportunity with this vote, by not getting some type of cover that even a token border provision could have provided. If you are going to vote for defeat AND pork, at least make sure some of the pork is yours. She will need to be smarter in the future, or she can grab a seat next to Dexy's Midnight Runners.
Monday, March 26, 2007
IS JOHN McCAIN REALLY IN TROUBLE,
OR IS IT JUST POLITICS AS USUAL
I listen with interest as the national political pundits ruminate about John McCain’s “problems” – problems with the base, problems with the war, problems with the conservatives, problems with his “numbers.” What I perceive to be at work here is the back side of the traditional cycle with the political media. They discover a new “star” (John McCain in 1999, Barack Obama in 2006); then when these new stars reach sufficiently high political heights, the media relish in their haste to bring them down.
I believe this to be the substance of the “McCain-is-in-trouble” talk; because when we look past the numbers being reported, he is actually doing quite well, especially when you correct for the voters who will actually vote in a Republican primary and when you look at the numbers on a state-by-state basis.
He is doing very well in Iowa, for example, where he didn’t even campaign four years ago. With his history of opposition to ethanol subsidies, I asked McCain a couple of months ago why he even intended to go to Iowa. His response was that it’s an important state, which can’t be ignored. Typical of McCain, he has not only been to Iowa, but has been drawing huge crowds, has built a good political organization and has a very good chance of carrying it.
Because it is a strong anti-war state, New Hampshire has admittedly become a bit of a problem of late, which the national pundits will quickly share with you. McCain’s numbers have fallen, due mostly to his support of the President’s policies in Iraq. As the senator recently remarked, though, “I’d rather lose an election than lose a war.” He believes strongly that while we can argue about whether we should ever have gone into Iraq in the first place, we are where we are and failure is not an option. He has a very strong political organization in New Hampshire (his national political director hails from there), is immensely popular personally, and he has recently drawn huge positive crowds to his appearances. More to the point, there are encouraging signs that the numbers are getting better again.
In fact, if one were to track the shifts in national polling over time, the well-reported Rudy Giuliani lead over McCain has been cut in half in recent weeks. Mayor Giuliani is still on the up side of the media star-making curve and still has to deal with them when they decide to turn on him, as they inevitably will. In the meantime, the McCain political organization continues to expand at a rate that Giuliani will never be able to duplicate.
This last point is important, because third only to money and name ID, political organization will be a determining factor this cycle. As you read recently in this blog, some twenty states (including California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida and Texas) will likely have their primaries or caucuses by the end of the first week of February 2008 (most of them on February 5th). It will be virtually impossible for anyone to mount a full-scale state-by-state primary campaign in every state. If money and name ID are approximately equal, organization will carry the day.
The first three contests leading into the February 5th national primary (a bit of hyperbole there) are Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. We have already discussed Iowa and New Hampshire. In South Carolina, which is very supportive of President Bush’s policies in Iraq, McCain is extremely strong. He is likely to carry South Carolina, which immediately precedes the February 5th primaries. What all of this means is that there is a very real chance that John McCain will win at least two and perhaps all three of the first contests leading into February 5th, including the one immediately preceding. With that kind of momentum, he will be very difficult to stop.
When I speak with people about John McCain and the McCain campaign, a long list of annoyances develops. There is Iraq. There is his co-sponsorship of a bill with Ted (gag) Kennedy. There’s his age. Some people are angry that he hasn’t supported the President enough. Others complain that he is catering too much to the far right. Whatever the particular issue, I always respond with one question – “If not McCain, then who.”
This Presidential cycle is not a referendum on John McCain, Yes or No. Every candidate has one flaw or another. Without exception, though, when I engage people (at least Republican people) in the discussion of if not McCain then who, he immediately looks better. There is a recognition in our Party that whatever else you feel about John McCain, we need someone who can win -- Hillary Clinton is no option. As much as anything else, this convinces me that John McCain will emerge as the Republican nominee. And if he gets the nomination, I firmly believe he will be the next President of the United States.
I have every confidence he will be an outstanding one.
Thanks to AZAce for keeping things going while I was gone. I'll do my best to help out once more now that I am back.
I do have the new article from Mike Hellon which I will post momentarily.
Thanks you for your patronage and patience.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Maybe Al Gore can invent a galaxy-wide internet to help us get the word out to save the Milky Way. In the meantime, do your part and turn out the lights.
Listen to yesterday's morning show to hear the piece about galactic warming.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Here is a possible if not probable (states are currently considering these moves) schedule of Presidential primaries for the Republican party:
January 8— New Hampshire Primary
January 14— Iowa Caucus
January 29— South Carolina Primary
February 5― Arizona Primary
New York Primary
New Jersey Primary
North Carolina Primary
West Virginia Primary
February 7— Nevada Caucus (Republicans)
February 5th looks to be Judgment Day. This thing will be decided then. Look for our Republican brethren in Nevada to move their primary date up to match the Democratic Caucus date, but it will be of little notice. This is the new reality and I believe that there are very few in either the running of the campaigns or the reporting of them who know how to approach it.
It means that you will not be able to ride an early victory or strong showing in either Iowa or New Hampshire to get the fundraising you will need to compete in later states. This structure would have doomed a Bill Clinton or even perhaps a John Kerry. If you don't have a large amount of funds to purchase airtime prior to January, you will be running blind on February 5th and are highly unlikely to compete.
I'll try to do some individual analysis for what this means for the campaigns of the candidates that our readers are following, but suffice it to say that if you do not see at least 10 million after a candidates name when the April reporting comes out, it is highly likely that you can just draw a red line across their name in your bracket.
An executive committee member informed us that the bylaws allow the chairman to appoint replacements. Barbara will be responsible for the Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) effort.
We have no word on who is commissioning the poll, but it's interesting that Gabby Giffords was thrown into the mix.
Monday, March 19, 2007
This picture was taken at a Marana event at lunch time. The GOP voter registration booth remained empty throughout the remainder of the day.
It looks like the party still has some work to do to be ready for '08.
The rest of the story...
A party source informs us that the registration activity was well planned. The individual in charge had a family emergency the night before, but four people were at the event in the morning beginning at 7:15 mostly walking the area away from the booth. They left around 12:45 but inadvertently left the signs up. The Democrats had no presence whatsoever.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Dems Hell Bent on Snatching Defeat from the Arms of Victory.
By Frank Antenori
March 15, 2007
Democrats began debate yesterday in the House and Senate to push their fourth plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. This one will begin to withdraw troops in March of 2008 with completion before November 2008 (A rather convenient date wouldn’t you say?).
Over the past few weeks, I have been in contact with close friends on active duty in the Special Forces that are currently serving in Iraq. They have been emailing me from time to time to keep me up to speed with how things are going.
The emails contained several success stories of interdiction missions along the Iranian border that have help to dramatically reduce Iranian support to the Shia militias. I’ve read about mission after mission in Baghdad and surrounding neighborhoods where Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Light Infantry have secured large portions of the city by rooting out the enemy. They also no longer abandon it to return to their fire base, they hold it, along with an ever improving Iraqi Army.
Some of it has even made the news. Many of you may have recently read in the news about the dramatic decrease in sectarian violence, down almost 50% compared to last month. How about the news coming out of Sadr City? Once the strong hold of Muqtada al-Sadr, the city is now quiet and our troops are meeting little to no resistance.
You may have also heard that al-Sadr himself is nowhere to be found; many of his top lieutenants have been killed, captured or fled to Iran. The “death squads” are no longer operating freely in the city, replaced by kids playing soccer and people shopping. Americans have also reached an agreement with Shia leaders in the city that will allow American forces to remain for as long as it takes. How can that be? I thought they wanted us out?
There’s other news like the tribal leaders in Ramadi, tired of the violence, are now helping the new Iraqi police and the U.S. military bring peace to the province by turning in foreign fighters and insurgents. Then there’s the change to the rules of engagement (ROE) recently implemented by General Petraeus that has untied the hands of our soldiers and instituted a policy of “no sanctuary” for the enemy. In the last three weeks, U.S. forces have relentlessly hunted down, killed and captured well over 1000 insurgents and terrorists, including the #2 al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq.
I’ve also been in close contact with a former commander of mine who is now a Colonel working in the Pentagon for the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He has the job of providing intelligence summaries to members of Congress who ask for them and assists with preparing the weekly, highly secret, briefings on the current situation in Iraq to the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence (HPSCI).
My Colonel friend also told me that the HPSCI briefings have been showing steady progress and clear indications that the surge is working. By the questions he’s asked by committee members and their staff, he believes many Democrats are either refusing to accept that things may actually be getting better, or are outright ignoring the information. He mentioned one particular Democrat Congresswoman that caught him in the hallway after a briefing and practically accused him of lying to the committee.
So it is no surprise that Democrats are scrambling to do what ever they can to take the wind out of the sails of the U.S. Military effort in Iraq. In a last ditch effort to appease their allies in MoveOn.org, and the rest of the far left, they once again want to give our enemies the hope we’ll cut and run before Petraeus can hunt them down.
The recent spate of Democrat posturing, even though they know none of their ideas stand a chance of passing, shows clear desperation to prevent the administration from claiming success and a turning tide of optimism in Iraq gaining momentum going into a presidential election year.
So one has to ask where our local Congresswoman will come down on the issue. Will she join the rush to defeat crowd or will she put faith in our troops and General Petraeus? She has a choice of either voting to tell our enemy to “hang in there, we’re about to throw in the towel” or taking the “wait and see” approach by voting no, thus telling our troops she has faith in their ability.
I have a funny feeling, knowing Ms. Giffords has made a deal with the devils of her party in exchange for key committee assignments, that she will have no choice but to jump on the “you can’t win because we won’t let you” band wagon and vote in favor of the now camouflaged John Murtha “Slow Bleed” plan.
Many in the business community that supported her campaign recently got a taste of Aesop’s fable: “The Frog and the Scorpion.” They bought into the school girl charm and the belief Gabby would be a business friendly moderate but found out the hard way when she voted in favor of H.R. 800. The bill essentially allows Unions to intimidate workers by taking away secret ballots when voting to form a union. It’s no surprise that the measure was endorsed by the Communist Party and Gabby’s close friend Raul Grijalva.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs. "You fool!" croaked the frog (business), "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?" The scorpion (Gabby) shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back. "I could not help myself. It is my nature."
So all of you frogs out there that thought Ms. Giffords was a moderate, don’t be surprised when she jabs her stinger into your back and votes with her fellow scorpions of the far left to once again embolden our enemy, thus sending a message to our troops at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and the rest of our brave military that she has lost faith in them.
After all, she’s in Washington now and running with the scorpions of the party of cut and run; they can’t help it, it’s in their nature. A party that can’t stand to see America prevail, a party that has joined Iranian scorpions in condemning our war effort in Iraq. A party of scorpions that wants to abandon our troops in the field; a party hell bent on snatching defeat from the arms of victory.
Frank Antenori is a retired Special Forces Soldier and veteran of Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a former candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Congressional District Eight.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
On October 25, 2001, Johnny Sutton was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. On November 30, 2001, the United States Senate confirmed the President’s appointment.
As United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Johnny Sutton represents the United States in criminal and civil matters within the District. The Western Judicial District of Texas is composed of more than 93,000 square miles, approximately 660 miles of border with the Republic of Mexico, 68 Texas Counties, and three of Texas’ major metropolitan areas, San Antonio, El Paso and Austin. The District has over 260 employees including 118 Assistant United States Attorneys.
Mr. Sutton also serves as the chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) which plays a significant role in determining policies and programs of the Department and in carrying out the national goals set by the President and the Attorney General.
The AGAC consists of 17 members appointed by the Attorney General and represents different judicial circuits, various-sized offices, and expertise. Mr. Sutton also serves on the Border and Immigration Law Enforcement Subcommittee of the AGAC.
Prior to becoming United States Attorney, Mr. Sutton served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and as a Policy Coordinator for the Bush-Cheney Transition Team assigned to the Department of Justice.
Mr. Sutton served as the Criminal Justice Policy Director for then-Governor George W. Bush from 1995-2000, advising the Governor on all criminal justice issues, with specific oversight in the areas of criminal law, prison capacity and management, parole operations and legislative initiatives.
Prior to his service in the Governor’s office, Mr. Sutton worked as a criminal trial prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office (Houston, Texas) for eight years. As a prosecutor, he was lead trial counsel in over sixty felony cases, including numerous capital murder, aggravated robbery, and sexual assault cases. He is fluent in Spanish, having appeared as a television commentator for the Spanish language network Univision during the Selena homicide trial.
Mr. Sutton is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in International Business in 1983, and the University of Texas School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1987. As an undergraduate, he played baseball for the Longhorns and was the starting left-fielder on the 1983 National Championship team.
Now that Republicans are dropping the word "impeachment" in reference to the Bush administration's stubborn refusal to cooperate in the border patrol agent prosecution scandal, people are scratching their heads wondering why U.S. Attorney Sutton is still standing after the dust from the firings has settled. You would think that simply adding him to the hatchet list would have made things a little easier for Bush. Now, some are looking to Sutton's ties to George W. Bush prior to his current appointment hoping for answers as to why he of all prosecutors is still employed.
One doesn't have to look hard to figure out where Mexican President Calderon stands on the issue. During President Bush’s recent meetings in Mexico Calderon criticised Bush for not pushing hard enough for immigration reform for illegal Mexicans (meaning amnesty).
This can only be a loser for Bush. Continuing to stand behind Sutton, Skinner and others with the current public outcry will do nothing but add fuel to the anti-Bush fire. President Bush's supporters in Congress are even turning on him over this issue and demanding the administration be investigated. When the President loses the support of his conservative Republican base, he will have nothing left. It is foolish to take that risk over an issue such as this.
Perhaps a reader with a set of bylaws will enlighten the blogosphere on how the selection should occur.
Tonight was the executive committee meeting. Maybe tomorrow will bring an update.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
LINCOLN DAY DINNER
Saturday, March 17
6:30 Registration and Cocktails
The Honorable Jonathan Paton
State Legislator, District 30
Iraq War Veteran
The Manning House
450 West Paseo Redondo
$40 per person
$30 per person with 2007 Golden Eagle
or Trunk n Tusk membership
To honor the Precinct Committeemen and Women
Of the Republican Party
Please RSVP to Pima County Republican HQ
5447 East 5th Street, Suite 100
Tucson, AZ 85711
Checks payable to: PCRP
Paid for by the Pima County Republican Party
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Mitt Romney 41.2%
John McCain 14.7%
Newt Gingrich 11.8%
Tom Tancredo 11.8%
Rudy Giuliani 8.8%
Chuck Hagel 2.9%
Duncan Hunter 2.9%
Jim Gilmore 2.9%
Tommy Thompson 2.9%
It appears that Romney had a good week with his appearance at CPAC, and McCain has overtaken the others for the number 2 slot. The most amazing discovery is the fact that Chuck Hagel found some support.
On the other side, it was Bill Richardson in a Runaway once more.
Voting has been cleared and can begin anew
Future polling should be interesting if we begin to see Fred Thompson make a run of it
Warning, the interview information came off of FOX news, so those who are offended by this may want to skip the WaPo article I referenced.
You'd think the deal called for having Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter mock the candidates between comments. No, even unfiltered, unedited, live debate between loyal Democrats couldn't be entrusted to Fox News.
The approach of outfits such as MoveOn.org is so juvenile it's laughable. Imagine if every political organization created litmus tests for news organizations before agreeing to appear on their programming. Republicans would have boycotted PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, National Public Radio and The Associated Press decades ago.
This hyperventilation results from the fact that far-left Democrats have no comparable media outlet, nor any widespread national appeal, for their radical views in favor of heavy-handed regulation, wealth redistribution, diplomatic capitulation and economic protectionism. So they attack their rivals' messenger with a reckless barrage of rhetoric that cuts down their own allies with friendly fire.
By Friday, the Nevada Democratic Party caved in to the lunatic fringe and began seeking a more "appropriate" television partner.
Comedy Central, perhaps?
It is sad that the last line is only partly tongue-in-cheek.
Also interesting is the recent John Edward comment when he was called on his pandering:
(via Extreme Mortman)
In the interview, Edwards said the activists' concerns had no influence on his decision. "I saw the list of debates that we had and the list of things we're doing specific in Nevada, and I said, 'Why are we doing Fox?' I said, 'No, tell them no.' " Asked whether he knew about the bloggers' concerns, Edwards said, "I didn't personally know, no."
He called on Saturday to say: "The correct answer to that is I was generically aware that the Net-roots hates Fox. I did not know about any specific activity about this."
One paragraph up in the article it states:
Last week, Edwards announced he would not participate in a Nevada Democratic debate, co-sponsored by Fox News, which Net-roots activists had been asking the candidates to boycott. His decision was made public in an e-mail from senior campaign adviser Jonathan Prince to the Daily Kos, one of the most prominent liberal blogs.
Honest question to my liberal readers, Does anyone believe that Edwards canceled the debate outside of any knowledge of the netroots getting all frothy about the matter? I don't often throw the term "Liar" around, but. . .
Friday, March 09, 2007
Pete Hershberger, term limited after this term, will likely run for the LD26 state senate seat in a primarily conservative district. Social conservative Al Melvin has already thrown his hat in the ring for the job. It will be interesting to watch how issues like this play out in the election.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Tedski has tried to defend the legislation over at Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion. I love his blog, but I would suspect that he would also defend mandatory kidney surgery on all citizens whether they needed it or not as long as Raul Grijalva put his signature on a bill calling for it.
The general nutcase claim is that a secret ballot is subject to employer intimidation. If that is the case, let's just do away with all secret ballots as they also present, I would suppose, an equal opportunity for intimidation. Far better to have representatives from each party just knock on doors during a general election with a ballot and sit in the kitchen while the voter fills it out. No intimidation possible! We would probably get 100% participation doing that as well. You see it works out perfectly.
Voting integrity MUST include a secret ballot, which should not even be arguable at this point. The only people to argue against this are seeking an unfair advantage and the ability to pressure those not leaning their direction.
This Bill should turn out to be a tremendous loser for the Democratic party, and to someone like Gabby Giffords in particular. Were I in charge of party affairs, I would be sure to work for a ballot resolution outlawing "card check" type elections in Arizona entirely, and not only in the case of union organization. Its not that I fear the "Free Choice Act" passing the Senate or the President's veto pen; I want this bill to be a major player in the 2008 elections not just for Gabby and Harry, but for all the Democratic members of the state legislature as well. Let them squirm and try to defend this piece of legislative garbage. It's crooked, ugly, and reeks of a union payback which should be recognizable to most Arizonans, and they may vote accordingly.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
We are beyond the looking glass on this one folks. We have moved from Global Warming to Transglobal Warming (I will trademark this later.)
It appears that our excess is now affecting the climate of Mars and warming the surface of Jupiter.
Of course since the Democratic Union of Concerned Climate Scientists (DUCCS for short) has voted (because this is how science SHOULD be determined) and declared Human involvement responsible for Global Warming, then the Sun could not possibly have any type of effect on the other two planets either. WE are responsible for our interplanetary neighbors' issues as well.
All of this on top of record temperatures in February.
We need to act now before Pluto melts! (Incidentally, this would solve a lot of the controversy about Pluto being demoted from a planet.)
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
It doesn't appear that Randy Graf or Mike Hellon put their names forward for consideration, which is a shame because I would really like to see some representation from Southern Arizona.
I guess Bruce will have to carry the load as the sole candidate from the area.
Good Luck to all
What Florida does is allows any of the candidates to attempt to "shoot the moon" by winning Florida, even if they lose Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Its a pretty large prize early.
Currently, John McCain and Mitt Romney have been fighting for the state, with the other candidates coming late to the game. The largest prize would be the endorsement of former governor Jeb Bush, but because that has not been forthcoming, John and Mitt have been fighting over Jeb's surrogates.
Earliest among the Bush-Romney operatives were Sally Bradshaw, who has advised Jeb Bush on political issues for years, and Ann Herberger, who managed the former governor's money portion of his campaigns and who is now Romney's national finance adviser. They both came on board last year.
Mandy Fletcher, another former associate of Jeb Bush, is the state campaign director for Romney. And Kristy Campbell, one of Bush's former press secretaries, has signed on with the Romney campaign.
McCain hasn't done poorly either, although his Florida campaign staff is not yet as fully operational as Romney's.
McCain has former vice chair of the Republican Party, Allison DeFoor, and former deputy chief of staff for Bush, Cory Tilley.
Signed on to McCain's Florida advisory committee are former state Attorney General Jim Smith; Mac Stipanovich, who was chief of staff for former Gov.Bob Martinez and a senior adviser to Jeb Bush's 1994 campaign for governor; and Antonio Villamil, a former economy adviser for Bush.
So, currently, Mitt has the lead in gathering Jeb Bush's network, but McCain is a close second.
No word yet on what Rudy has accomplished in gathering operatives, but he is polling well in Florida.
Tot Men Wom
Giuliani 29% 24% 34%
McCain 23 31 15
Romney 6 5 6
Gingrich 14 17 10
For all voters, Rudy does well at 60% to 20% favorable/unfavorable, McCain at 50% to 21%, and Romney unknown by 75% of voters.
To make up for that 75% Romney is engaging in unconventional politics to make up the difference. He is sending campaign representatives to the smallest party events and running Spanish language adds in South Florida.
Finally, word is that Jeb isn't being quite as neutral as he previously let on.
Jeb Bush, who hasn't publicly picked a favorite in the Republican presidential race, privately is talking up the candidacy of Mitt Romney and steering some of his closest advisers to the campaign.Should be fun.
The former Florida governor has said repeatedly he won't be a candidate in 2008 despite encouragement from his father, the former president, and his brother, the current one. But Jeb Bush's support, even tacit, would be critical in the state that decided the 2000 presidential election.
"Governor Bush said, 'Before you commit, I want you to meet Mitt Romney. He is the kind of guy you will like no matter what,'" said former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings. "The governor was very candid about the fact that he really liked this guy."
Monday, March 05, 2007
Rudy Giuliani 25%
Mitt Romney 18.8%
Tom Tancredo 18.8%
John McCain 15.6%
Newt Gingrich 15.6%
Duncan Hunter 3.1%
Tommy Thompson 3.1%
Bill Richardson 50%
Al Gore 14.3%
Barack Obama 14.3%
John Edwards 14.3%
Wesley Clark 7.1%
The results are reset for this weeks round of voting. It will be interesting to see as we move along if any of the Republican candidates can gain any separation. Right now, for our readers, the Republican race is wide open.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
By Frank Antenori
March 3, 2007
Many of you are aware of the developing scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. What you don’t know is that Walter Reed is a mere symptom of a greater problem. That problem is a cancer that has permeated the ranks of the U.S. Military since the end of the Viet Nam War, over 30 years ago.
The good news is that the problem has been recognized and a cure seems to be on the way. The new Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, on the job just a few weeks, has come to realize that decisive action is needed. He has sent a strong and much needed message through the senior ranks of the military with his firing of Secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey, and the commander of Walter Reed, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman.
"The problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership." Gates said Friday after announcing the resignation of Harvey. Gates is as they say in my old business: Dead on balls accurate.
Gates assigned Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, the Army Surgeon General, to take over Walter Reed until the new commander, Maj. Gen. Eric Schoomaker is able to take over.
As soon as Schoomaker’s foot is in the door at Walter Reed, Gates needs to finish the job by immediately firing Lt. Gen. Kiley as the Army Surgeon General. You see, Kiley was the commander of Walter Reed from 2002-2004. What happened at Walter Reed didn’t happen over night. It was years of neglect by several previous commanders that failed to take corrective action and are just as guilty. There is no reason Kiley should dodge Gates’ bullet and go on to a lucrative civilian job while Weightmen will be lucky if he can get a job at Walgreen’s.
Maj. Gen. Schoomaker needs to take decisive action as well upon assuming command of Walter Reed by immediately relieving every non-commissioned officer above the rank of Staff Sergeant. A sergeant’s job above all else is to look out for the health and welfare of his troops. The Sergeant Major of Walter Reed, on down to every Platoon Sergeant should also be fired for true accountability to occur.
Now on to my initial point. The reason this goes on in the military, as everyone may or may not know, is because of the existence of a system that rewards those that tow the line and keep quiet while punishing those that rock to boat and raise issues of concern. You see, raising issues of concern has the tendency to embarrass senior leaders and anyone doing so is quickly squashed or relegated to career limbo until they retire.
It has created a pseudo Bushido Code in the military and it is a cancer that hurts our war effort, puts our young soldiers at risk, and harbors an atmosphere of “ass-kissing” that is destroying the true warrior culture that once made our military great.
In the real Bushido, or “Warrior Code”, Samurai swore unwavering loyalty to the Emperor and demanded unrestricted loyalty from their subjects. In return, the Samurai received rewards from the Emperor and in turn, they provided protection for their subjects.
However, unlike feudal Japan, our military has failed to follow the rest of the “Warrior Code” by maintaining the warrior ethos of fighting for what is right, even if it means dying for it. Instead it has become a system where competent, seasoned leaders are forced out and less than competent, but “compliant” leaders are promoted. It is a cancer that permeates the Army so bad that there are now many general officers that have never seen combat; generals that have gotten where they are by being risk averse while at the same time protecting the behinds of their superiors; generals that have focused solely on looking out for themselves and their own military careers, even at the expense of their own troops, as was the case at Walter Reed.
Meanwhile, the best leaders, the ones tempered by combat and unafraid, the ones that stand up and point out the wrongs, who dare to raise questions, who look out for their troops and truly know what needs to be done to fight and win this war, the true warriors that have sworn an oath to be loyal to the Constitution and not some other general, are tossed aside by the so called “strategic thinkers” and political animals of the senior officer corps.
Secretary Gates had better look long and hard at every general officer with two or more stars on his collar and do a rapid assessment of their experience as well as their competency. He must ask if they got to their current position by riding someone’s coattails, or by truly being qualified for the job. In the coming years, these men, with little to no actual combat experience will be advising Mr. Gates and the President. Among them are the ones that totally dropped the ball in Iraq and were not held accountable; to the contrary, they were promoted in keeping with the pseudo Bushido Code.
My partisan loyalty ends where my loyalty to my brothers in arms and my fellow veterans starts. My concern for the safety, health and welfare of our young men and women trumps everything else. I don’t care who it is that fixes this, the Administration or Congress. I don’t even care which political party takes action, but something needs to be done, and done soon, or far worse things than Walter Reed will occur.
We’ve seen other hints of things to come: the lowering of training standards and the softening of recruit basic training to keep graduation numbers high and officer performance evaluations fluffy; the lowering of the quality and qualifications of recruits for the sake of keeping enlistment numbers high; the crazy and overbearing Rules of Engagement (ROE) placed on our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan solely to protect the political behinds of senior leaders. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
So I call on the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Congress to act. For the sake of our troops I ask you to take decisive action to cut out this cancer; to revive the true Warrior Ethos of our military by getting rid of these substandard leaders. The American people are watching and will take notice of those who will look out for their sons and daughters. You had better not let them down.
Frank Antenori is a retired Special Forces Soldier that saw combat in Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also the author of “Roughneck Nine-One: The extraordinary story of a Special Forces A-Team at war.”
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
Strong move to go after McCain-Feingold directly like that. I suspect that McCain, in retrospect, will realize that allowing Gulliani and Romney the stage at CPAC without presenting himself was a mistake. It will certainly be interesting to see Team McCain's rejoinder tomorrow.
To me, a fundamental principle of democracy is at stake. It is the people who are sovereign in America, not a few folks in black robes. Judges add things that aren't in the Constitution, and they take away things that are in the Constitution. In that regard, they let the campaign finance lobby take away First Amendment rights. If I'm President, I will fight to repeal McCain-Feingold.
Another aspect of American sovereignty is the security of our borders. The current system is a virtual concrete wall against those who have skill and education, but it's a wide open walk across the border for those that have neither.
McCain-Kennedy isn't the answer. As governor, I took a very different approach. I authorized our state police to enforce immigration laws. I vetoed a tuition break for illegals and said no to driver's licenses. McCain-Kennedy gives benefits to illegals that would cost taxpayers millions. And more importantly, amnesty didn't work 20 years ago, and it won't work today.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I am very interested to see how the readers of this blog are leaning at this point. It will also allow us to better cover the candidates the readers are most interested in.
Thanks for participating!
What: GOP State Legislative District 28 Monthly Meeting
Where: Pima County Republican Headquarters, 5447 E. 5th St. Tucson
When: March 6, 5:30pm meet-and-greet, meeting starts at 6:00.
The topics will be blogging in general, as well as general 8th district news and notes.
See you there!