Americans too young to remember the Vietnam War or those who have an iron-clad case of amnesia do not know how bad a really rotten war can get on the home front of the invader, passing over the millions of the invaded such wars kill. You are only beginning to get a taste of it. An immeasurable aid to national complacency about the Iraq Disaster is that it is being fought be other peoples’ children, almost exclusively from the nation’s less fashionable, less politically influential neighborhoods. But, eventually, the taste of this Iraq Disaster will be like rancid pork in your mouths.
Pete McCloskey, Republican, and Jerome Waldie, Democrat, were two Bay Area congressmen who were morally present for Vietnam and they didn’t blink. McCloskey fought his party’s leadership and Waldie fought his. Both demonstrated admirably that the only political course in the face of ruinous policy is determined, fierce resistance. Any other course rots your soul.
Both took their licks and kept on ticking. They had what you’d call “ethics.” Ethics were no more politically popular then and they are now. Hacks of both parties hated them, but they spoke the simple truth and eventually everything they said was proved to be very accurate. In matters like unjust wars, morality and courage are required to get at the truth, which is always buried below mountains of the best flak the rotten regime can buy.
These two congressmen cut through to the truth of things. It would have been good to have had Waldie in the 18th congressional district, running against the rear end of the Pomboza while McCloskey takes on the front end in the 11th. Perhaps we could write him in at the June primary. It’s a little more to the point than Mickey Mouse.
McCloskey and Waldie were adults way back then. Now they have that rarest quality, some wisdom and the guts to share it in this blind moment. Reading and listening to them is a constant reminder that covering politics today is like recording the minutes of a third graders' liars club.
Contra Costa Times
Posted on Fri, Apr. 21, 2006
Tough old war hero seeks to clean up mess
HE IS 78 years old, a tough as nails former Marine and Korean War hero and a legendary, maverick former Republican congressman who has "had it up to here" as he so delicately puts it, with the present Republican leadership as exemplified by Tom Delay and Central Valley Republican Congressman Richard Pombo
.Pete McCloskey is, in some circles, which includes me, a national hero. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts for heroism in combat in Korea where he served as a Marine Rifle Platoon Leader. That is a lot of heroism.
He began an outstanding congressional career in a campaign that was of national interest. Though a decided underdog, the young war hero defeated the favorite candidate in that Republican Primary, former child movie star, Shirley Temple. That campaign brought McCloskey to national prominence.
His service in congress added luster to the reputation his military heroism in Korea and his successful campaign against Temple had begun. McCloskey was known in Congress as a highly intelligent, fiercely outspoken, hard-driving, Republican. He was held in high esteem on both sides of the partisan aisle.
I had arrived in Congress as a Democrat a few months before Republican McCloskey and was instantly attracted to his demonstrated integrity and maverick political positions. When he believed that his party leadership was in error, he courageously said so on the floor of Congress much to the chagrin of the embarrassed leadership.
My personal admiration for McCloskey was enhanced when he and I made a congressional tour of Vietnam and Laos during the war. McCloskey, as a Marine combat hero, was widely known and respected by the troops we met in Vietnam. McCloskey was adamantly convinced that the Nixon team was unable to handle this increasing tragedy.
He left Congress when he unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate against Pete Wilson several decades ago. Since then, he has been practicing law and farming near Rumsey. Our friendship has continued through the years. McCloskey, his lovely wife, Helen, and I, often went backpacking in the Sierra. And I have participated in the harvesting of olives at his farm, as well as handily defeating him in many games of horseshoes.
McCloskey is now close to 79 years of age and has become very critical at the lack of respect shown by the Republican majority in Congress for the Republican values he had so long cherished such as a balanced budget, ethical conduct and a commitment to protect the nation's natural resources.
And, very personally, he is angry over the failure of Pombo to adequately support wounded veterans from all of our past wars, including Iraq, and for his unwillingness to support efforts to properly equip our forces in Iraq with protective armor and body equipment.
When Pombo recently proposed to sell off some of our national parks to mining interests to reduce our national debt, McCloskey was outraged. He sought a more ethical Republican to run against Pombo, but was unsuccessful in that effort. Reluctantly, McCloskey announced that he would take on Pombo in the primary election.It is not easy for even a tough, old, gray-haired, combat Marine to endure the rigors of a congressional campaign. Pombo already has a huge campaign fund of hundreds of thousands received from corporate contributors and lobbyists such as the infamous, indicted Jack Abramoff. But, at this early stage, McCloskey seems to be doing well. Though he has refused any special interest contributions from lobbyists, hundreds of contributors are sending him small amounts from the district and from all over the nation.
Most importantly, 78-year-old McCloskey has been there and done that. He detests what is happening in Congress today consisting, unfortunately, of mostly the bad and the ugly. He has pledged that he would serve no more than four years. He clearly has no further political ambition to hold higher office. This tough, old Marine only seeks to clean up the terrible mess that now pollutes our nation's capital.
Jerome Waldie is a former Democratic congressman representing East County. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions in this column are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the newspaper.
4-21-06Merced Sun-StarUCM students vie for political seats...Corinne Reillyhttp://www.mercedsunstar.com/local/story/12080522p-12833519c.htmlIt's campaign season at University of California, Merced...first campus party, LEAD (Leadership, Empowerment, Achievement and Development)...second party on campus, LAID (Lyons and Duckham Advocate Improving Da school). Candidates all say they have developed strong platforms focusing on the most pressing issues...extracurricular activities and student involvement are top concerns...presidential hopefuls addressed needs for wider choices in the dining commons, more meeting space for campus clubs and better connections between students and the community. "We have pretty low student morale," said junior Mehrdad Rasolipour, the only presidential candidate living off campus. "The academics here are great and I can't say enough about the faculty. But the lack of student life on campus could be our real downfall. LEAD threw a campaign party open to all voters Thursday night
Democrats help fund Pombo challenger...Hank Shaw
SACRAMENTO - Pete McCloskey may be a Republican, but you sure can't tell by looking at his benefactors. A Record analysis of the congressional candidate's campaign finances shows that McCloskey is being bankrolled largely by Bay Area Democrats and supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry - an unusual thing for a Republican. "This whole thing with McCloskey is nothing but a Democrat drill," he said. "It's obvious he has no support in the district, and the people who are giving him money are not Republicans." Regardless of where McCloskey's cash came from, his $255,000, which includes a $50,000 loan to himself - makes him the most well-funded Republican Pombo has faced since he took office.