The Post and Democrat Candidate Recruitment

The Denver Post might want to make a second attempt to get to the bottom of this story:

Forti’s counterparts at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are not actively recruiting military veterans, spokeswoman Sarah Steinberg said.

“They absolutely serve a very good contrast against Republicans,” she said. “But in every district, our goal is to recruit the best possible candidate we can.”

To read Jim Hughes’ article in today’s Post is to get the impression that military veterans are spontaneously coming forward as Democratic Congressional candidates – as opposed to what has been documented as really happening: a purposeful national strategy to shore up the Donkey’s Achilles’ heels of national security and military strength.

A good place to start looking at the story in question is the Dec. 5 Newsweek article titled “The Vet Strategy”. Rather than repaste the whole article, here is one key graf:

She could have stayed a trophy veteran. But as Major Duckworth met with Democratic members of Congress, she talked about how she viewed politics as an extension of her service. One summer’s day she invited Rahm Emanuel, the Democrats’ master strategist in the House of Representatives, to the hospital to meet some recovering vets from their home state of Illinois. “We were walking down the hall and you could see the incredible response to her and her leadership,” Emanuel told NEWSWEEK. “She goes to see other troops to keep their spirits up.” Last week Duckworth returned home to Chicago’s affluent suburbs to begin what looked like an unofficial campaign for the open congressional seat now held by retiring Republican Rep. Henry Hyde. Still on active duty, Duckworth cannot declare her candidacy or talk politics to the media. But according to Democratic leaders, she’s their preferred candidate.

Four weeks ago, as the MSM pushed its negative Iraq coverage into overdrive and the president’s poll numbers ebbed, the Democrats seemed to have found a winning wedge issue – even if many of its loyal pols who had put in their time and expected the chance to run for office felt snubbed, and the party’s left-wing base were less than satisfied by these recruited candidate’s more centrist or conservative views. After the Dec. 15 Iraq election, the Democrats’ self-destructive efforts to thwart the Patriot Act, and Ted Kennedy et al. stepping up the fictional paranoia, the prospects for 2006 are changing. The Democratic heirs of 1972 McGovern pacifism have yet to learn they cannot win a national election on issues of defense and security. As Donald Lambro reports in the Washington Times, more members of the minority party’s sane caucus (a minority within a minority) have been trying to point this out of late, as well.

The Post‘s quote of Democratic operative Sara Steinberg (at the top of the post) needs to be revisited. An objective analysis would ask in light of her party’s previous efforts and intervening events if the Democrats are not in denial at this point, if they’re not having second thoughts about the cosmetic effort to look “gung-ho” on matters of national security and defense & wishing they could instead focus on crafting a new appeal to America’s “soccer moms” (even if many have made the switch to become “security moms”).

Jim Hughes writes that more than 30 Iraqi and Gulf War vets have come forward to run as Democrat Congressional candidates in 2006 – including 2 in Colorado (Jay Fawcett to take on Lynn Hefley in the 5th CD & Bill Winters to challenge Tom Tancredo in the 6th CD – the most heavily GOP districts in the state). At least he quotes a Republican source with a sensible insight into the heavy millstones tied around these Democrat vets’ political chances:

If Democrats think they can create a winning election-year theme with veterans as candidates, they are wrong, [National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Carl] Forti said.

“They have two major problems: Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean,” he said.

Pelosi, the Democratic House minority leader from California, wants the U.S. to pull out of Iraq. Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, recently said the U.S. would not prevail there. Both are unpopular positions, Forti said.

And finally, the reporter includes some of the most important and obvious information (though understated) of Colorado significance at the end of the article:

In Colorado, both Fawcett and Winter are likely to face uphill battles against the Republican incumbents.

Hefley, who has not said yet whether he will seek re-election, has been elected to represent his heavily Republican district nine times before. And Tancredo is on a roll, Winter acknowledged, having emerged as a national conservative leader in the push to change immigration laws.

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