Now, I like the "Fighting Dems" for a number of reasons -- they'll give the party new perspectives on military issues and foreign policy, they'll be willing to serve as an actual opposition party, and their sheer numbers will do much to counteract the Bush administration's lies about its supposed edge in military matters.
But I also like the stories that surround these guys. And none is a clearer metaphor than that of Tim Walz. Carpetbagger Report has the goods, and the goods are so good, I'm going to reprint it here in its entirety:
Tim Walz, a high school teacher, football coach, and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, toured his community yesterday to let voters know that he's running for Congress in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Gil Gutknecht. ... Ordinarily, this announcement may not seem like a big deal, but I have a special fondness for Walz, in part because of what helped convince him to get into the race in the first place.President Bubble Boy's hermetically sealed Cone of Ignorance has caused our soldiers enough headaches and bodily harm these past few years, so it's only fitting that it's coming back to bite him in the ass here.
In 2004, Bush visited Walz's hometown of Mankato, and Walz, a command sergeant and 24-year veteran of the Army National Guard, decided to take a couple of his high school students to see their president. They had tickets and valid identification, and went through the metal detectors like everyone else. Walz and his students, however, were ordered to leave — because one of the boys had a John Kerry sticker on his wallet.Indignant, Walz refused. "As a soldier, I told them I had a right to see my commander-in-chief," the normally jovial forty-one-year-old recently explained to a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party dinner in the small town of Albert Lea, Minnesota.Who says Bush can't inspire Americans?
His challenge prompted a KGB-style interrogation that was sadly characteristic of Bush campaign events. Do you support the president? Walz refused to answer. Do you oppose the president? Walz replied that it was no one's business but his own. (He later learned that his wife was informed that the Secret Service might arrest him.) Walz thought for a moment and asked the Bush staffers if they really wanted to arrest a command sergeant major who'd just returned from fighting the war on terrorism.
They did not.
Instead Walz was told to behave himself and permitted to attend the speech, albeit under heavy scrutiny. His students were not: they were sent home. Shortly after this Walz retired from the Guard. Then he did something that until recently was highly unusual for a military man. He announced he was running for Congress — as a Democrat.