Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Paradoxical Colonel

In the Blue Grass region
A paradox was born
The corn was full of kernels
And the Colonels full of corn.

"Paradox" by Chief Justice John Marshall (19th Century)

The man who is "not afraid to lose" made it official today: Andrew Horne will run for the Democratic nomination to battle against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. And Horne's announcement revealed him to be a paradoxical colonel even without literally the type of corn the Chief Justice had in mind.

We would say Horne is a Kentucky Colonel, except that he seems to have spent more time lately with New York-based VoteVets.org than he has with Kentucky voters. So the word paradox did spring to mind when a man who served as a "senior advisor" to this left-wing Park Avenue group asserted that "it is time for Kentuckians to take our government and country back."

This self-contradictory candidate also says he "carried a rifle in Iraq" and that VoteVets.org is "a pro-military group that supports Iraq and Afghanistan veterans running for office." Yet Horne doesn't explain how VoteVets.org's goal of immediate troop withdrawal would achieve the American military's objective of defeating al-Qaeda.

Nor does the veteran who baselessly claims that "McConnell insults fallen troops" ever explain his position that, if adopted, would be the biggest insult of all to those deceased men and women -- namely, his proposal to snatch defeat from the jaws of a victory in Iraq they fought and died so bravely to achieve.

VoteVets.org did not always purport to have such a defeatist attitude. Forward Deployed provides this description of the group's inconsistent history in this regard:

The VoteVets.org site . . . was formed before the 2006 congressional elections. This site was backed by former Democratic Presidential Candidate General Wesley Clark and the group of retired generals that made headlines before the 2006 Congressional elections by running ads funded by the site speaking out against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as well as [for] a change in strategy in Iraq by sending in more troops.

Interestingly enough Rumsfeld has since been sacked and a new "surge" strategy that called for an increase in troops has been implemented. Instead of this site recognizing the changes it has . . . become an anti-war site calling for the removal of US troops in Iraq. Since then none of the retired generals has been heard from . . . .

Self-contradiction continues with Horne's claim he decided to run for the Senate because McConnell "practices the worst kind of politics." The tactics of Horne's militant group suggest he is only self projecting with that characterization.

We already have a taste of Horne's kind of politics from VoteVet.org's lobbying activities. According to the Washington Post, when Jon Soltz, the leader of Horne's band of brothers, met with Democratic senators earlier this year, he "accused" McConnell of "aiding the enemy" and called President Bush and Vice President Cheney "draft dodgers," with no objection from Horne. And "cowards" was the moniker these verminous veterans bestowed on those who disagreed with them.

According to Forward Deployed, "Soltz made big headlines on the blogosphere with his meltdown against a US sergeant that dared speak of successes of the surge strategy in Iraq during the Yearly Kos convention."

One would hope Horne's level of discourse in the campaign will not descend to the depths of his friends, but don't count on it. As the Washington Post reports, VetVotes.org is part of a coalition of liberal groups affiliated with MoveOn.org, not known for its gentility.

And initial appearances notwithstanding, Horne no doubt will lack the grace of a Kentucky Colonel once the campaign heats up. Indeed, Horne held the bull horn during at least one minuscule MoveOn protest, and we all know what "statesmen" populate such an event.

So much for the professional comportment we normally expect from an ex-Marine. Maybe Horne will entertain his nutroots blogging fans with a Howard Dean scream during the campaign.

No word yet on whether Horne will disavow the "General Betray Us" ad that MoveOn.org ran in the New York Times against General Petraeus. Though this piece was roundly condemned by the Senate in a 72-25 vote and by the House 341-79, we are not holding our breath for Horne to join the bipartisan consensus. After all, Horne would be crazy to offend the big-money out-of-state MoveOn.org donors, whom Horne undoubtedly will tap for his campaign funding. Nor would Horne want to contradict Congressman John Yarmuth -- who did not vote to condemn the "General Betray Us" ad; Horne lost to Yarmuth in the primary, and then campaigned for him.

Horne also claims that McConnell "bows to big business." Horne should know all about that. New York Magazine reports that VoteVets.org has "scooped up" millions from moneyed interests on the East and Left Coasts, including a fund-raiser headlined by Bill Clinton (who isn't cheap, at least when it comes to his speaking fee). According to the Washington Post, Horne's group received "large doses" of cash from "Wall Street and Hollywood sources" -- so much that it could afford to run television ads during the Super Bowl.

We can be sure that the Park Avenue Colonel means it when he asserts "[w]e should not be told to take a backseat to the wealthy and powerful." Indeed, Horne will no doubt share the front seat with George Soros during this campaign.

Horne is in a distinct minority among veterans and active members of the military in his opposition to finishing the job in Iraq. But those who are of a like mind with Horne hope that having a clean-cut facade will fool people.

As one fellow protesting veteran explained to a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, "[t[hey [i.e., active duty soldiers] don't want to be associated with a movement they see as entirely leftist or irrational or hippies from Berkeley or San Francisco. But once people see us on the news, maybe they'll say, 'Hey that guy has a short haircut, he looks like he could still be in. He wears tucked-in shirts. He doesn't have long hair.'"

He may even try to look like a Kentucky Colonel. Voters in the Bluegrass are too smart to imbibe the corn inside.

3 comments:

LT Nixon said...

G. Morris,

With all due respect, I think it's a little short-sighted to think that anyone who disagrees with Bush Administration foreign policy is a militant "anti-war" group. I think Votevets is more interested in just getting OIF/OEF veterans in office instead of out on the fringes (which is sadly where we are now!) While I don't agree with some policies of veterans organizations (I.V.A.W), I do support votevets and I'm not a "winter soldier". Thanks!

sgtlejeune said...

I was deployed to Iraq in February of 2003, as a combat Engineer (12B), explosives and demolitions. I came home in March 2004. In my professional opinion, this article goes a long way towards bashing an excellent soldier who served his country both in Desert Storm and in OIF. A tremendous amount of respect is due to a career Marine who has served his country with honor. This article is one of the most shameful, disrespectful, and downright cowardly things I have ever written. You owe a tremendous apology to Lt. Col. Horne, and to the troops who you have dishonored.

GUSTO said...

These guys at votevet has earned the right to disagree with this or any administration's policies. The problem with you conservatives is you think you are more patriotic than the average Joe. The average Joe placed is butt on the line to defend your freedom to call us traitors, anti war groups, etc; yet, your conservative in your vast majority as NEVER served this country, much less placed your butts on any line for this country. Joining the Boys Scouts to stisfy Mommys ego is not been as patriotic as serving voluntarily the ARMED FORCES AND IN COMBAT.