Yesterday three veterans of the US military were in Davis. Retired Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey who made his name as an anti-Vietnam war Representative, former Senator Max Cleland, and Congressional candidate Charlie Brown. Brown the proverbial underdog is facing eight-term incumbent John Doolittle. Doolittle is in hot water because of his close affiliation with Abramoff and probably because of general disatisfaction with the direction of this country.
Two things among many stike me about the event yesterday. First, Charlie Brown's staffer told us that he's not getting money from the national party. That is a travesty. The New York Times now lists 50 congressional districts that are in play, Doolittle's is now one. The Democratic party has an 18 district strategy--they are funding only 18 districts that they think they have to win to get to 218 and no more.
Folks if the Democrats end up winning the House it will be because of people like Charlie Brown--war heroes who have serious doubts about the conduct of the current administration and the average voter who rise up against the existing political order and caste out the Republican incumbents. It will be a movement of grassroots people who have had enough. The Democratic establishment is utterly useless.
The second amazing thing was watching Max Cleland wheel in on his wheel chair, and you know the guy is a veteran of Vietnam, you know he is in a wheel chair, you know a lot of things. But when you see him up close and you see the remnants of his legs and his right arm, you realize what true sacrifice is. I became angry because in 2002 his Republican opponent dared to challenge this man's patriotism because he had questions about the patriot act. And what a speech he gave. The Republicans claim to be the pro-military party, but they have left the veterans behind, they have hung the brave fighting men and women out to dry, and they had to get rid of Max Cleland because he reminds them of their hypocrisy.
Next time you hear the Republicans charge the Democrats with wanting to cut-and-run, just remember Max Cleland. This man could have cut and run on life a long time ago, he could have given up on his country after losing in 2002, instead, he's still fighting for this country with everything he has. To me that's true patriotism.
---Doug Paul Davis reporting
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