Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Washington---Even as Iraq dominates some political campaigns this election year, some military veterans running for Congress are finding they must study more than war to win in November.

By: Andrea Stone
August 2006

Tammy Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot who lost both legs in Iraq, rails against pork barrel spending. Chris Carney, a former Pentagon counterterrorism officer, talks about broader security and illegal immigration. And Patrick Murphy, a former Army lawyer, touts his support for research using embryonic stem cells.

President Bush went on the offensive this week against calls by some Democrats to withdraw troops from Iraq. The war and Bush's handling of it remains a stump speech stalwart for this self-styled "band of brothers," but these candidates also march with their fellow Democrats in adopting the party's traditional talking points about health care, education and jobs.

"They are trying to broaden their message away from the war," says political scientist Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. "They're not running away from it, but they understand that voters care about a variety of things."

Victory not guaranteed

In January, at least 10 veterans of Iraq or the post 9/11 military launched Democratic campaigns for the House of Representatives because they opposed Bush's Iraq policy. Van Taylor of Texas is the only Iraq vet running as a Republican.

Less than 3 months before the election, 3 have dropped out after they struggled to raise money or lost party primaries. A few are running strong against vulnerable GOP incumbents.

"They're all going their seperate ways," says Thomas Baldino, a political scientist at Wilkes University of the 3 veterans running in competitive races in Pennsylvania, the most of any state. "Having been recruited on their credentials, the candidates are now pretty much on their own."

In February, David Ashe ended his second bid to unseat Republican Rep. Thelma Drake in Virginia. Then Tim Dunn dropped his poorly funded challenge to Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC). Former Marine Andrew Horne lost May's Democratic primary in Kentucky.

"Veteran status doesn't guarantee victory. Ask John Kerry," says John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California. "But it helps."

The candidates

Among the self-styled "Fighting Democrats" running for House seats:

* Duckworth-who walks on 2 artifical legs, has gotten a lot of national media attention in her campaign to replace retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), in suburban Chicago. Her website lists the war 3rd after such issues as government fiscal responsibility and immigration. "My service in the war allows people to feel comfortable talking to me about all the other issues out there," she says.

"She's trying to expand her appeal, trying to get away from the Iraq War hero thing," says Paul Green, a political scientists at Roosevelt Unoiversity in Illinois. He ranks Duckworth a slight underdog against GOP state Rep. Peter Roskam in a district that voted for Bush in the past two presidential elections.

* Murphy has held events contrasting his support for embryonic stem cell research with freshman GOP Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, who voted against using federal funds for it.

The war returned as a major issue this month in the suburban campaign when Fitzgerald distanced himself from Bush in a campaign mailer that said, "America needs a new plan for success in Iraq."

* Carney's campaign may depend more on how voters in his northeast Pennsylvania district feel about the incumbent than him. The former Naval Reserve intelligence officer hopes to oust Republican Rep. Don Sherwood, who has been hurt by a scandal involving a former mistress. He has apologized to his family and voters for the relationship. Carney says voters "are concerned about him (Sherwood) nor representing their values."

The Democratic challenger also has tried to paint the four-term incumbent as a rubberstamp for a war that has caught the district the lives of 20 soldiers. After 2 top generals recently said Iraq is verging on civil war, Carney said, "That was not what was promised by the administration 3 years ago, and that is not lost on people here."

Sherwood recently visited Iraq before putting his campaign on hold to undergo heart surgery. He said progress is being made there, and he "won't raise the white flag on terrorism."

* Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice admirial, is trying to topple Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, by depicting the 10-term incumbent as a "psuedo-secretary of State" who is out of touch with his constituents.

"I don't think he's working for the right issues" such as education and health care. Sestak said in a recent interview.

Weldon rejects that argument, noting that Sestak had been away in the Navy for 36 years before becoming a candidate.

"I've lived and breathed this district" during that time, Walden says.

Despite his emphasis on domestic issues, Sestak addressed the war Saturday when he gave the Democratic response to Bush's weekly radio address. "We must begin a phased deployment of our forces" from Iraq, he said.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home