Marina Kats, one tough cookie running for the congressional seat in PA's 13th District
"I am supporting the withdrawal of American troops [from Iraq] as soon as possible, but only when it is safe to do it for us and our national security interests." (Marina Kats, GOP candidate for Congress in PA's 13th district)
When I left Bartlesville, OK, in July, 1979, the price of gasoline was at 99.9 cents for unleaded regular. In my (very happy) years as a speechwriter/policy analyst for Phillips Petroleum (now Conoco-Phillips), I had urged top executives to say, "Gasoline will NOT go a dollar-a-gallon." I guess I left Bartlesville (for U. S. Steel and later Gulf Oil in Pittsburgh) in a nick of time!
The columns below this one deal mainly with the key issue of 2008: the high -- and rising -- price of gasoline. I have suggested that John McCain and other GOP candidate blame it on the Democrats. And since Democrats have been adamantly opposing energy production -- and not only oil production -- for more than 20 years, they seem like the right people to blame.
There is another issue which we all thought (wrongly, it appears) and that's the Iraq War. Because it's rarely on our TV -- not bloody enough anymore for the news channels, who hate George Bush and are totally mystified by the high morale and intense patriotism of America's servicemen and servicewomen -- the war had faded as an issue.
On Fridady (today) and through the weekend I'll be writing about the war. How should Republicans handle it when the issue arises (as it will, albeit rarely)?
Let's focus on the approach taken by Republican Marina Kats. She's running in PA's 13th district (Montgomery County and Northeast Philly) against Allyson Schwartz. Rep. Schwartz raises tons of money but doesn't have an ounce of ideas about how to solve any of America's problems, including Iraq. The idea of America actually taking aim at terrorists and rogue nations seems to distress her mightily.
Here's what The Bulletin of Philadelphia had to say when Marina stepped into the political ring against Schwartz:
"Ms. Kats differs with Mrs. Schwartz strongly on whether Washington should act presently to phase out the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. Speaking to The Bulletin from her law office in Feasterville, she described looking upon an American flag that was flown for a year and a half over the base of her colleague Christopher Hudock when he was called to active duty in Iraq. Upon returning, he gave Ms. Kats the flag to hang in her office. She describes it as a reminder of the imperative that America prevail."
Asked when America should leave Iraq, Marina replied, "I am supporting the withdrawal of American troops as soon as possible, but only when it is safe to do it for us and our national security interests."
To me, this is Marina's shot heard round the world. Her statement is getting adopted by GOP candidates across the nation. She might even shorten it to, "We should leave Iraq only when it's safe to do so." There is a rhetorical term for what she's doing, but I prefer to call it, "Making swiss cheese out of Allyson Schwartz types."
We should leave when it's safe for our soldiers to defeat al Qaeda. We should leave when it's safe for Iraqi citizens, so al Qaeda don't murder them by the tens of thousands. We should leave when doing so wouldn't lead to catastrophic price rises in oil."
Above all, we should avoid the Obama Doctrine: "Let's leave, but if we have to, we can re-invade." Nice, Barack, you're retaining the option to go back with guns blazing in Iraq if everything, as the late Tim Russert put it, "goes to hell." Of course, if we leave precipitously, everything surely will go to Hell. Then, commander-in-chief Obama could engage in a re-run of the original invasion of Iraq.
If you "google" two words: "Obama" + "Reinvade," you come up with 1.5 million links. You won't hear much about it from Obama's cheerleaders in the national media, but it is certainly a big deal on the Web. I bet McCain uses it to turn Barcack H. Obama into a human pinata. I would (says he with a wry smile).
If Rep. Schwartz has a different view from Obama -- bail out immediately and then rush back -- she's keeping it a secret. She may be waiting for new talking points from Obama backers Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha.
I don't know about you, but Marina Kats sounds a lot sounder in her Iraq policy than Barack does in his. As for Ms. Schwartz, a former Hillary backer, she's now on board apparently with Obama, which means she must also support leaving Iraq quickly -- and then inevitably going back.
Somehow, I don't think the Obama-Schwartz policy will go over well with Pennsylvania voters.
Republican congressional candidates? I hope your policy is the same as Marina's.
Allyson Schwartz will be tough to beat. As you'll see on OpenSecrets, she's sold out to every special interest group that happened by with a bag-full of money.