Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fighting Dems

Nothing gets me more excited about the upcoming election season than the massive wave of veterans running as Democrats.

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.

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.

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.
Who says Bush can't inspire Americans?
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.


Mr Furious said...

You had me at "a high school teacher, football coach, and veteran." Kick ass! Bring that shit on!

I'm glad I read all the way down. That's a great story, and I hope he tells it every single time he stumps.

Otto Man said...

I'm sure the GOP will find a way to hold all that against him. Being a football coach isn't good preparation for the House. Being a wrestling coach, however, is enough to make you Speaker. Just ask Hastert.

Tokyo Joe said...

i'm actually very excited about these guys too, but for slightly different reasons. I remember hearing once that in the '40s & '50s something like 80% of congress were vetrens but today it's less than 10%(or something like that - I don't have time to look up the exact numbers right now). Now while I don't exactly think a "starship trooper" approach (right to vote=military service) is needed, I do like the idea that my representatives have shown a willingness to serve in some of the more difficult public positions before serving in the cushier ones. So I say bring on the vets and I don't really care what party they are from. Just having that in their past really adds to their credibility.

However, if they did something dumb like met with the vietnamese behind the govt's back, then they might have other issues.

sideshow bob said...

I can't believe that anyone would have voted for Bush after details of his campaign stop shenanigans got out to the public.

Oh well, we had 200+ years of freedom. We had a good run.

S.W. Anderson said...

That incident is a classic. Mr. Furious, I want to borrow your name.

O.M., I couldn't agree more that these candidates will be a boost to the party and the Congress. I saw on C-SPAN a sort of speak-in they held in D.C. two or three weeks ago, and they impressed me as really good people, every one of them.

I'm sure the forces of darkness won't hesitate to swiftboat them, though. (Hmm, football coach, huh? Whatcha bet we can find somebody who'll say he pinched their butt getting out the shower -- that kind of thing?)

I hope this time around, that kind of thing will be met with such an angry, proactive reaction that the right-wing political-death squads will be driven back under their rocks.

S.W. Anderson said...

"However, if they did something dumb like met with the vietnamese behind the govt's back, then they might have other issues."

I guess since Kerry knew he'd run for president and few decades later, that was pretty dumb. But behind the government's back? I don't think so.

Kerry was free to travel to France and meet with anyone he wanted to meet with. Given the times, that certainly invited criticism. But I don't think Kerry was devious about doing it.

Anytime right wingers take that slap, I like to point out St. Ronald's outrageous little side deal with the Iranians. A candidate or even a president elect has no business making deals or conducting foreign policy with foreign governments or parties. If I'm not mistaken, it's against the law.

I thought it was even more despicable that the deal called for releasing the hostages after Reagan was sworn in, the better to humiliate Jimmy Carter. I've always wondered how many additional months or weeks or days the hostages remained captive because Reagan and /or his handlers wanted to stick it to Carter that way.