National Security and the Massachusetts U.S. Senate Race by Gregory Hilton

The past few days have brought bad news for Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate in the January 19th special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s (D) vacancy. Her performance in last night’s debate was dismal, her opponent raised over $1 million on line yesterday, and today her TV ad misspelled the word “Massachusetts.”
The biggest surprise to me was Coakley’s confusion regarding the most basic aspects of our legislative process at the federal level. She has no legislative experience which was apparent last night. She didn’t even know the House and Senate healthcare bills had to go to conference to be merged before going to both houses for a vote.
As the debate demonstrated, on national security issues the choice is clear. Coakley believes there are no terrorists left in Afghanistan and they have all gone to Yemen or Pakistan. President Obama certainly does not believe that, and he emphasized the threat of terrorism in asking us for an additional 35,000 troops. Coakley said, “If the goal was and the mission in Afghanistan was to go in because we believed that the Taliban was giving harbor to terrorists. We supported that. I supported that. They’re gone. They’re not there anymore.”
Coakley also wants to give full Constitutional rights to terrorists. She clings to her sophomoric arguments despite the fact that our soldiers when caught have been dragged through the streets, hanged on bridges and are beheaded. The people we are fighting are savages, and they do not recognize the distinction between civilian and military courts.
I am not an Obama fan, but the President is correct in saying “We are at war.” He is also correct in calling attention to nuclear weapons in Pakistan and emphasizing that they can never fall into the hands of the Taliban. State Senator Scott Brown (R) and over 95% of House Republicans support Obama’s troop surge and the President’s new counter insurgency strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Coakley is with the opposition.
The Attorney General lists her foreign policy experience as visiting her sister who lives in London. As a Senator, Obama voted to extend the FISA wire-tapping law. This past September, he sent a letter to Congress asking Congress to extend three expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Once again, Brown and Congressional Republicans support the President on these national security matters, but Martha Coakley is on the other side. Coakley says she will “happily” oppose our wartime Commander-in-Chief as he confronts a war against terrorists.
On other subjects, Coakley said “we need to increase tax revenues.” She claims it will only be on the “wealthy,” but a tax increase on the magnitude needed for health care reform makes it impossible that only the rich will be taxed.
The debate was amazing even before it began. When he walked in, Senator Brown went over to the Coakley sign-holders, introduced himself and shook their hands. Several of the sign holders greeted him enthusiastically and said they were voting for him! They were holding Coakley signs because they were being paid $50 by their union, the SEIU.
Massachusetts has been losing population and it has a high cost of living. The state pays for the education of young people but they end up moving away because of no job growth. Companies have also been moving their offices to more tax friendly states.
I am surprised organized labor is so supportive of Coakley. They apparently do not realize why so many union members are out of work. The private sector has dried up and a major factor is the taxes and regulations imposed by the state legislature and the U.S. Congress.
I hope Massachusetts will start to turn things around and with Scott Brown they have the whole package. He started off with nothing, worked his way through college and law school, and joined the military. He understands business, and has been a public servant opposing tax increases on the local and state level. Supporting Scott Brown is a vote for change.

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