Never give up fighting for Freedom: In defense of Duncan Hunter

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Response to the article, Hunter has no clothes…ahem…conservatism, published by Eric Andersen last month (Dec. 19).

Guest Commentary
by Melory Tsipouria

I am not going to hide the fact that I am disappointed with the positions and statements/comments from some of my friends recently about Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa in connection with their votes on the recently passed budget.

Those statements were in and in response to the article, Hunter has no clothes…ahem…conservatism, in this same venue by my friend Eric Andersen.

What is especially disappointing is that Eric and those who share his views unfairly accuse the above mentioned Congressmen for lacking devotion to the constitution.

Andersen lists some of the votes of these “offenders of the constitution” and the votes that “takeaway or infringe on our rights.” However, he fails to provide the context and, most importantly, he and other friends like Brian Brady and Michael Schwartz fail to provide an alternative. In other words, what is your vision my friends? What are the specific steps in this reality, in this political landscape, that you would have taken or are suggesting our Congressman should take? And please, enough with generalities.

While I don’t speak for the Congressmen, but as someone who agrees with many of above mentioned votes (including the budget vote), I can attempt to state in a rational way as to why they voted the way they did.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Congressman Hunter (as do others) recognizes national debt as the most important issue of our day and wants to solve it for our and future generations. He agrees with the stated explanation and reasoning of Congressman Paul Ryan — who negotiated the budget deal.

The reasoning is as follows. Due to Obamacare and other issues, President Obama’s and Democratic Party polling numbers have taken a serious nose dive. I think all agree that low poll numbers usually translate to the electoral defeats and conversely, high poll numbers translate to electoral victories. Yet, Democratic numbers have rebounded and GOP numbers went down substantially during the government shutdown. Despite denial by some on the GOP side, the shutdown never had chances of success and its continuation would have resulted in political disaster for Republicans.

As a result, Congressman Ryan and others decided not to help the Dems by throwing a lifeline (another shutdown) and decided to take that issue off the table. By doing so, they are concentrating their efforts on further attacking Obamacare on its merits, while highlighting its many failures and unconstitutionality, and at the same time going after Obama and the Dems on many other issues of the day where they are very vulnerable such as: Eric Holder and his gun running fiasco, the President’s ignorance of the constitution by appointing a record amounts of czars, high unemployment and economic stagnation, and a disastrous foreign policy (Iran, Russia, Syria, etc.).

We have to win elections in order to solve our most serious problems. For that reason and for that reason only Congressmen Hunter, Paul Ryan, Darrell Issa and many others voted for the budget. It is a chess game, where you calculate a few steps ahead in order to get where you’d like to be. The above mentioned Congressmen as well as many others want to do precisely that.

I think it is unfair, unjust and simply wrong to attack them on that issue.

I challenge you again to provide step by step solutions to solve the fiscal crisis we are in.

There were other issues and votes for which my friend Eric Andersen criticized Representative Hunter. One of them was about Hunter declaring on Fox News that the President should have the right to attack without declaration of War. Were all of you who commented on Eric’s article against the first Gulf War? Were you against attacking Afghanistan, in which Osama Bin Laden planned the 9/11 attacks?

In a recent conversation my friend Anderson suggested not to get involved with Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example. Eric said, “Let him do whatever he wants and eventually Putin and Russia would collapse under their own weight.” Do you know how naive that statement is? Do you know how much irreparable damage dictators can do when there is nobody to stop and/or deter them?

Let’s try another issue where Congressman Hunter was so “determined to violate our constitutional rights by voting on the NSA issue.” I am concerned about NSA’s tactics and performance. I think we should better regulate and control its activity, but I am not ready to scrap the NSA altogether, because although it looks like the agency had serious violations, at the same time it does and can continue to do an important job to protect the American people from terrorist attacks. In my opinion Congressman Hunter holds a similar position. Is that so unreasonable and unconstitutional? We can and should correct the mistakes, but not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Eric, when you attack the Congressman with your “facts,” maybe you should take little bit more time and research his reasoning and explanation, then provide that for your potential audience as well. Otherwise you are making it sound like Congressman Hunter wants to approve NSA’s surveillance on anyone, take away our rights, get the nation further in debt and attack the whole world for no reason, just for fun.

I know it irritates some of your followers, but I’ll ask it anyway: Congressman Hunter and his family through generations have been ready to pick up arms and go in harm’s way to take part in wars they created for their amusement? My guess is you will say that nobody questions their patriotism, but they don’t know any better … BUT YOU DO?!

Let me bring up another issue. Congressman Hunter voted for HR 347  and you allege that “it takes away free speech.” It does no such thing. It is a slight update of an existing law originally enacted in 1971. In the old version it was not a federal violation to jump the fence and run across the White House lawn. This bill makes it a federal violation. The bill also allows the Secret Service to expand a little bit the perimeter for the President and others protected by the department. It is much to do about nothing.

It would be interesting for your followers to know that vote for the bill was 399-3 in Congress. It might be also interesting to point out that your favorite Congressman Tom McClintock (whom you use as an example of comparison) also voted for the bill. So, McClintock, Michele Bachmann, Renee Ellmers and 396 other Congressmen voted to infringe on your first amendment rights?

I think we need to “primary” Tom McClintock! Possible candidates: Christine O’Donnell (Delaware) or Ken Buck (Colorado). That is right, those are atrocious candidates given to us by Jim DeMint (the current president of the Heritage Foundation).

You did not provide this context because it would ruin your punch line. I suspect just like the HR 347 issue, your article is full of unsubstantiated, unfair, one sided allegations that are far from truth and from reality.

On another issue, during a recent San Diego County Republican Party meeting we were discussing an endorsement in the 52nd District for the Congressional race between Carl DeMaio and his fellow Republican Kirk Jorgensen. At that time you, Eric, said that because DeMaio was not against abortion you cannot “swallow” (that is the word used by you) that position and therefore cannot vote for him. Since then we know that DeMaio won the endorsement by 2/3 of the committee. During a recent conversation I asked you about the fact that you knew, despite Mr. Jorgensen being a great man, that he did not stand a chance of winning this election against the well-known (in San Diego)) and well-funded Democratic Congressman Scott Peters; and therefore were you ready to “swallow” (again using your word) Scott Peters’ pro-abortion stand and all the other stands that are in lockstep with Obama? Your response was something like, “Let them win, they will collapse under their own weight.”

That is your strategy, domestically and internationally, my friend?

Let dictators go unchallenged and have them do whatever they want with subsequent adverse effect on the national security of the United States?

And domestically let Democrats take more seats, unless we have puritan challengers possibly blessed by Ayatollahs from the Heritage Foundation?

Since you are using in your article phrases such as, “People like Hunter and Paul Ryan do more harm than any foreign invaders,” then I guess I can use the term Ayatollahs, describing my former friends from the Heritage Foundation. They are full of themselves.

By the way, the head of Heritage Foundation’s division that dishes out those ratings so important to you, wasn’t he (“Conservative Icon”) Rudy Giuliani’s campaign manager? He probably saw the light after he was christened by Godfather DeMint.

Some other issues where we disagree: I disagree with Ron Paul’s wing of the party on foreign policy. I also disagree with the suggestion that cocaine and marijuana must be legalized. I know, not all Ron Paul supporters agree with legalization, but I know you do, Eric. You told me so on a recent bus trip for a party function.

I am sorry, but I do not agree with that vision. I strongly agree with you, however, on the fact that the national debt issue must be our top priority to be resolved. The above mentioned Congressmen also agree. We just disagree on how we get there.

I fought for Freedom and Democracy since I was youngster in my native country of Georgia. My grandfather was killed by communists after many years on the run while he was fighting for the Freedom of Georgia and against communist Russian domination. He wanted to see his son while he was dying from his wounds in a Soviet Gulag. Guards respected my grandfather for his courage and allowed him to do so. Grandfather told my father (who was eight years old) to tell his future children that he died for our FREEDOM. He died that night. Our family wasn’t even given his body. Right after that, communist authorities arrested my grandmother and sentenced her to 25 years in jail/gulag just because she was grandpa’s wife. She was released seven years later.

While I was growing up, she would tell me those stories. From an early age, whatever ways I could, I fought for FREEDOM. Initially with my anti-Soviet writings in school and later being one of the student leaders of the largest opposition groups in what was then Soviet Georgia. I literally fought at the barricades against Soviet soldiers that Moscow had sent to crush our dissent. Sixteen of my fellow country men and women died that night of April 9, 1989. A few more died later in the hospital, including my 70-year-old university professor, with whom I shared a hospital room.

Some of us swore at that time to never give up fighting for FREEDOM. I am trying to do that to this day.

Who did the most to help us achieve our Freedom? Ronald Wilson Reagan. Yes, that Ronald Reagan who would not win a primary today if many of my friends had anything to say about it. Reagan achieved destruction of the Soviet Union as we knew it, via Peace Through Strength. But by today’s — and I repeat — today’s Heritage Foundation ratings standards, Reagan would not approach the 50 percent mark.

I think it is sad and unfair that we are shrinking our tent instead of enlarging it. Instead of concentrating on defeating those who truly do not care about national debt, you and your followers are attacking good conservatives like Duncan Hunter, Paul Ryan and others, just because you disagree with or don’t understand the tactics they use to achieve the same goal, all the while not offering any specific alternative on how to get there.

Happy New Year. God Bless.

# # #

Tsipouria is president of US-Georgia Friendship Association, a 501(c) (3) organization.

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Comments 13

  1. “What is especially disappointing is that Eric and those who share his views unfairly accuse the above mentioned Congressmen for lacking devotion to the constitution.”

    I didn’t accuse him, I quoted him almost verbatim. He told me in a conversation that he doesn’t care what the Constitution says, he does what’s “right”. It was during a sporting clays even at Lemon Grove Rod & Gun Club in front of three witnesses I’m happy to produce. One of those witnesses is my wife.

    “Michael Schwartz fail to provide an alternative. In other words, what is your vision my friends? What are the specific steps in this reality, in this political landscape, that you would have taken or are suggesting our Congressman should take? And please, enough with generalities.”

    Specifically: vote against the bills Eric mentioned.

    “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Congressman Hunter (as do others) recognizes national debt as the most important issue of our day and wants to solve it for our and future generations.”

    Great! Link us to his proposal for a balanced budget.

    “We have to win elections in order to solve our most serious problems. ”

    Great! Link me to a poll showing widespread support for cutting military benefits to balance the budget.

    “There were other issues and votes for which my friend Eric Andersen criticized Representative Hunter. One of them was about Hunter declaring on Fox News that the President should have the right to attack without declaration of War. Were all of you who commented on Eric’s article against the first Gulf War? Were you against attacking Afghanistan, in which Osama Bin Laden planned the 9/11 attacks?”

    Authorization for Use of Force by Congress for the 1991 Gulf War:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Iraq_Resolution_of_1991

    Authorization for Use of Force against Iraq by Congress in 2002:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Resolution

    Authorization for Use of Force Against Terrorists by COngrsss in 2001: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Terrorists

    The rest of what you wrote, I will just say that it is clear that you and I have differing opinions on rights, liberty, and freedom. That’s what makes our Republican Party great. We can have these debates and differing opinions and still be Republicans. Unlike the party to our left where there is no variance on where they stand on issues. Either toe their line or the collective’s leadership stomps you out.

    See you Monday night, Mel!

  2. Michael,

    You had me until your last full paragraph. Are you trying to say that Max Baucus and Barbara Boxer have “no variance where they stand on issues?” Or did I miss the memo where one of them was “stomped out?”

  3. “What are the specific steps in this reality, in this political landscape, that you would have taken or are suggesting our Congressman should take? And please, enough with generalities.”

    Simply follow the limitations placed upon them, by Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution .

    I think your beef is with the wrong guy, Mel. It’s not Eric who is rating Congressmen Hunter and Issa, it’s the Heritage Foundation, Freedomworks, and Club for Growth. Eric’s point was that both are in solid enough districts that they could actually defend the Constitution instead of voting against it.

    We’re constitutionalists for a reason, Mel. Both Eric and I were fortunate enough (as young men) to volunteer and vote for President Reagan. While even he wasn’t perfect, he cautioned our generation that freedom was but a generation away from being lost.

    While I appreciate the struggle you endured, to defend freedom in the Republic of Georgia, you might understand that we learned a lot of lessons from your struggle. Many of us see a bipartisan effort to circumvent the US Constitution and aren’t afraid to call it like we see it. You know, all too well, where things lead when good men refuse to speak out against the forces of tyranny..

    I don’t doubt your commitment to our cause and I hope you better understand mine.

    In Liberty,

    Brian

  4. I’m not going to highjack Mel’s thread, Hypocrisy.
    This thread is about wishing there was MORE variance between Baucus/Boxer’s votes and Hunters votes.

  5. I think this article illuminates a key friction point amongst and within the current Republican Party; both locally and nationally. What is clear is that one’s conviction is another’s rationalization for a lack thereof; Eric stated he would not vote for DeMaio because of DeMaio’s stated position on the aborting of children. Yet, even though Mr. Jorgensen possesses virtually every tenant Ronald Reagan believed in, and defended, and is the clear conservative Republican within the 52nd and with similar backgrounds to the man for which the author now defends, and who wasn’t an “experienced” politico, less his father’s name recognition, Mr. Tsipouria argued that we, Republicans, should accept the abortion candidate, forego our freedom of conviction, so that we can support a candidate our own hard fought freedom of conscience allows, nay demands, us to vote.

    Having lived and worked for nearly two-decades within and around the Former Soviet Union, I can personally empathize with Mr. Tsipouria’s personal struggle confronting the pervasive, widespread, and dehumanizing tactics and approaches of the Soviets security forces; punished for what one thinks, demanding political conformity, with whom one associates and family members, and forego all virtues of consciousness and morality for the “greater political good. “ Slava Sovietskava Syouzya!!….kind of like voting for a guy who is ok with the aborting of children so we can simply “get our guy in.”

    Practical…but immoral.

    Like any other Republican, I want to win. That is easy ground on which all can stipulate. I also know to win there needs to be a candidate that inspires, that is willing to remain convicted amidst (relatively recent) unpopular or politically correct policies and arrayed forces in the face of the “easy” “rational” and “expedient” path presented by Mr. Tsipouria vis-à-vis the 52nd and many within the existing GOP hierarchy and leadership both within and outside of San Diego County.

    Again, not a popular notion on the Establishment-centric Rostra, however, as proponents for “opening the tent” tout diversity (remember “the party of old white men”?), softening the position (“hey you conservatives, if you don’t like our candidates who believe and have proven to support or outwardly assist in policies you find unacceptable, even abhorrent…one word for you…TOUGH!!”) and “winning” make the argument for the “New Generation” GOP, tens of thousands of SD residents have left the party (80,000 and rising), and several thousand more will not show up to the polls for Mr. DeMaio (or Mr. Faulconer for that matter) in 2014.

    If I am to stipulate (which I am not) that a true conservative as demonstrated and illustrated by the continued efforts and raised awareness of Mr. Jorgensen “[does] not stand a chance of winning this election” then my fellow Republican Colleagues of the “New Generation” must stipulate that the positions of both Messrs. DeMaio and Falcouner are incongruent with the positions of thousands and thousands of San Diegans, and therefor they too “cannot” win.

    Jorgensen in just 4 months was almost able to stop the “fait accompli” endorsement of Mr. DeMaio. (That was even after the Tammany Hall style meeting with the aforementioned “king makers”, of which DeMaio and Falcouner were present…) And even with the RPSDC endorsement, Jorgensen is still fundraising well, being invited to speak at inspirational and energetic gatherings, and is being asked by hundreds and hundreds of people “how can we help your campaign?” (many of those “hundreds” are those who left the Republican party over the last 6 years)

    Imagine what momentum, support, cohesion, and influence the RPSDC could have generated had they supported the one true Republican in the 52nd, in the spirit of Reagan, and all the inpouring of support and motivation they would have garnished? Yet, they failed, and are now rationalizing with “just win” approaches that see the tent, and the measure of virtue and conviction once hallmark to the GOP, getting smaller and smaller.

  6. Mel, I believe I shared my standard for measuring Congressman Hunter’s voting record and my blueprint for freedom and prosperity very clearly.

    If I misunderstand the U.S. Constitution on any of these issues please point them out. When it comes to rights, whether they be free speech or due process, the term the Framers used was “unalienable” – that is they cannot be infringed nor are they subject to the “context” a United States Congressman might wish to place them in.

    The law was written for just that purpose – to protect us from well-meaning congressmen.

    It is okay to disagree with my views but the only standard I care about being consistent with is the one I took an oath to uphold.

    You justify all the congressman’s votes with situational ethics. I am a Christian Constitutionalist and can’t reconcile that. If you feel our Republican Congressmen have a hidden devotion for original intent and will suddenly change when they control all three branches good for you. I simply refer you back to what I wrote when that occurred under President George W. Bush.

  7. Michael,

    Fair enough but at least allow me a little chuckle that you are concerned that there is not enough daylight between the beliefs of Barbara Boxer and Duncan Hunter, Jr.

  8. Hypocrisy, that’s my point. Possibly the point many are making about Hunter (but I only speak for myself). If you listen to what he says, Hunter has nothing in common with Boxer philosophically/politically. One would think their votes would be the total opposite.

    Yet, on some really important votes, Hunter voted the same way as Boxer. Not all issues are equal. The votes Eric pointed out in his original article are pretty big, defining issues. So if Hunter is the exact opposite of Boxer (as you’re pointing out)…why’d he vote the way he did?

    It would be odd NOT to question Hunter’s trend.

  9. Michael,

    I believe you will find that on votes of substance (and yes, I count the budget as a vote of substance), Hunter will be on the opposite side of Boxer the majority of the time.

  10. Let’s try to attack the Democrats with everything we have publicly and ‘talk’ to our Republicans privately.

  11. “Let’s try to attack the Democrats with everything we have publicly and ‘talk’ to our Republicans privately.”

    That’s been tried repeatedly.

  12. I guess I love all the Republicans in our ‘family’ and want to have that kumbayaa moment, so that united we can kick Democrat behinds!

  13. Cut the crap Gastelum. There is absolutely NOTHING truly “united” about you or your message … best evidenced by your attacks on “fellow” Republicans in the past. Cut the crap or run in Mexico where dirty politics run rampant. Nobody buys it … and remember actions speak louder than words. How can you be educated in one of the poorest most corrupt countries in the world and then fight against opportunities for working families? Hypocrisy all of it and so are YOU.

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