Congressional candidates on the issues, part 7 (wrapup)

The final part of this series deals with the Long War. It’s the most important issue to me, particularly as the surge continues to work and we inch closer to a stable Middle Eastern ally in Iraq.

Most people who have read monoblogue know that I’ve had my run-ins with Wayne Gilchrest over his votes to begin pulling troops out of Iraq. While I can understand his push for diplomacy, I prefer the settlement we had with Japan and Nazi Germany at the end of World War II – surrender terms. In this case, the idea is to subdue the fundamentalist Islamic forces to no longer be a significant military threat by denying them safe havens like Iraq and Afghanistan were under Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, respectively.

Opponent Robert Banks sums up his stance on the Long War this way:

As your Congressman, I will fully support our men and women in uniform who are willing to lay down their lives to preserve the freedom we enjoy, and, in most cases, take for granted. My votes in Congress relating to the War on Terror will be pro-military and pro-defense. We must support the Administration and applaud our military for keeping this nation safe from attack since 9/11/01.

Our soldiers have sacrificed in countless ways: lost time with their families, missed births and deaths, Christmases away from home – not to mention the possibility of injury or death on foreign soil. If we do not continue to fully support them, those sacrifices will have been in vain.

Partisan politics has no place in this war. A hasty withdrawal from Iraq would be a catastrophe for us at home and for the people in the Middle East whose lives depend on establishing stability there. Terrorists would see our retreat as a victory for them, further enforcing their belief that America is nothing more than a paper tiger. We must hold the line – breathe deeply – and do what is right.

Unusual for Joe Arminio, he lays out his plan for Iraq and the greater war on terror on his website. Of course, he wrote that pre-surge. More recently, below is part of a release called “How To Fix The Economy And Solve The War”:

I turn now to the war in Iraq. It should unsettle us that the very Neocons who have done their part to wreck the economy are the very authors and executives of the war in Iraq. But perhaps they are right in this instance, even though they are very wrong regarding the economy. After all, there were those Muslim suicide squads who brought mass murder to our shores. After all, we were and are absolutely in the right to retaliate and hunt the terrorists down like the dogs they are. I myself am for hunting them down.

As one would expect from previous posts, John Leo Walter has some thoughtful things about our efforts.

But if brevity is the soul of wit, Andy Harris takes the cake.

For the Democrats, we hear from both candidates in this case. I’ll start with Christopher Robinson, who notes on his site:

We must bring about a sensible end to our nation’s involvement in the war in Iraq. Our troops have done everything they were asked to do. Sadam Hussein is gone. There are no weapons of mass destruction. A freely elected government is in place. There remains an internal struggle for power which the Iraqis themselves must resolve. Our troops cannot win someone else’s civil war. We need to stop pouring our future into that sea of conflict. (Emphasis in original).


Our government’s most fundamental obligation is to protect its citizens. The current Administration has failed to forge effective alliances with other nations in the fight against terrorism. We can not – indeed we must not – fight the war on international terrorism on our own. The most important weapon in our nation’s arsenal against international terrorism is resolve.

Frank Kratovil also shows how he’d fit in with the Democrats in Congress.

As the most important category, this portion is worth 27 points. Honestly, we’re at a point where I like two candidates and the order’s not going to change much. But to humor everyone, I’ll carry out the scoring with how I like each of these hopefuls’ stances.

I’m not going to take all 27 points away from Gilchrest only because he’s studied the issue and can back up his views. Unfortunately, he advocates negotiating with countries who are not interested in doing what’s best for both sides, but enhancing their power in the region. So I am penalizing him 20 points because, quite simply, he’s voted the wrong way on the issue by supporting withdrawal without victory.

Robert Banks almost lost a point by pandering a bit, but I’ll let him slide. He gets the 27 points.

Joe Arminio says a lot. But the one word that bothers me most is “neocon”. There’s a lot of things he is correct on 100% but in the world we inhabit, the isolationist policies he seems to prefer allow our enemies to continue unfettered and become stronger in the long run. I like his ideas about dealing with Iran, but can’t see how we can trust other people to finish the job we’ve started in Iraq. I’ll give him 5 points simply for the Iran idea.

John Leo Walter presents a nice history lesson in his explanation of why he supports the policies he does. It’s very simple – “we must kill or capture all terrorist (sic) before they can attack us here at home.” Yes John, you get the 27 points.

Andy Harris says much the same thing, in far fewer words. While that would be a detriment because I like details, I also know he served in Desert Shield/Storm so he has some familiarity with the situation. Andy gets the 27 points as well.

Now for the cut and run crew. Neither of these guys (Robinson or Kratovil) think we should be in Iraq. Fair enough. What alternative would you suggest? Diplomacy doesn’t count because these folks we’re fighting against have no compunction about lying to get what they want. (You know, that sounds like some other groups we’ve tried diplomacy with, namely North Korea and the Soviet Union.) In particular, Christopher Robinson, what resolve is there in pulling out before the job is complete? And the answer to Frank Kratovil’s question “how do we get out of Iraq in a way that does not adversely impact our foreign policy interests and does not leave Iraq, the region and the world in a more precarious position than before we went to war” is that we win. Simple, huh? Anything less is defeat.

Needless to say, they both lose all 27 points.

Yes, I’m very black and white on this. Deal with it.

Before I add the totals up, there are a few intangibles to take into account for most of the Republican candidates. It’s items that I don’t specifically cover but I feel may lead some people who are undecided into making a choice.

Joe Arminio:

add points for: stance on patent law, advocation of missile defense.

subtract points for: none.

net gain/loss: +2 points.

Robert Banks:

add points for: pro-life.

subtract points for: none.

net gain/loss: +1 point.

Wayne Gilchrest:

add points for: none.

subtract points for: none.

net gain/loss: none.

Andy Harris:

add points for: pro-life.

subtract points for: none.

net gain/loss: +1 point.

John Leo Walter:

add points for: pro-life.

subtract points for: stance on tort reform (see here).

net gain/loss: none.

I suppose in order to make this properly climactic enough, I’ll start with the guys I can’t vote for anyway, the Democrats. Neither of them are a “winner”, but the least bad alternative because of his immigration stand (and only haveing three scorable issues) is Frank Kratovil with -26 points while Christopher Robinson finished at -61.

Now to the Republican race:

  1. Andy Harris, 87.5 points
  2. John Leo Walter, 81 points
  3. Robert Banks, 37 points
  4. Joe Arminio, 22 points
  5. Wayne Gilchrest, -20 points

Much like the Presidential race, there was more than one good candidate who shined through. But based on the results, I endorse Andy Harris for election to Congress.

However, if you would like a fresh, non-political face to represent you, I highly recommend John Leo Walter if you want an alternative. I’d like to see John run again if either Andy loses in November 2008, at the end of the 8-12 years Harris thought he’d want the job, or when the Democrats draw Andy’s part of the district out. In the meantime, John may want to consider a Maryland post in 2010.

Well, there you have it. You know, it’s unfortunate that we have two good candidates for the post when we can’t get anyone to run in several places. Guess that’s the way it goes – either way we have a great election coming up and I can’t stress enough that in order to participate if you’re not a registered Republican, you have until close of business Monday to change your registration.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

4 thoughts on “Congressional candidates on the issues, part 7 (wrapup)”

  1. HA HA…I think I’ve seen the exact same post on about 4 other sites now…way to go Tony…at least you could change the wording.

  2. Harris did not leave the country during desert shield/storm. I do believe he served in Maryland, Bathesda in fact, during the war. Has has no understanding at all about the war. He thinks we should be over there for at least a generation if not longer.

    Just what we need!

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