Recently, the Republican Party of Virginia held their third and final Senate debate between the four candidates. Although, to the best of my knowledge, none of the previous debates were televised statewide, I was appreciative that I was still able to watch them through the blog Bearing Drift. However, despite my searching, I haven’t been able to find the entire video of the third debate.
Shortly after this last debate, one of my friends shared a rather curious quote from George Allen, one of the four hopefuls vying for the GOP nomination. Regarding war and U.S. foreign policy, Allen stated, “The concern I have is not whether we have a (congressional) authorization of force, it’s whether or not our military is going to have the equipment, the armament, the up-to-date technology that is paramount as they’re trying to protect our freedoms.”
Given that any conservative should find such a statement troubling, I searched the web in the hopes of finding video of Allen making this comment. Although I was unsuccessful, I did find a Washington Post article, which confirmed the above quote as accurate. In addition, I received a video from the Radtke campaign from the debate on this very issue last night.
In response to this matter, I wrote on Facebook was that “anyone who makes such a statement should be declared unfit for federal office”. Now the average Republican voter might think that my statement is outlandish…at least at first glance, but allow me the opportunity to explain my rationale. What is George Allen really saying here?
Let’s first focus on the positive aspect. The second part of his statement is that he wants our military to have the best equipment possible. I don’t find anything wrong with this line of thinking. It is actually laudable. After all, if we ask our brave men and women to risk their lives on behalf of their countrymen, it is only proper that we supply them with the best tools to protect them from harm.
However, the first segment is what is truly damning. He doesn’t care whether or not Congress authorizes the use of force? What’s going on here? Has he ever read the Constitution? Does he know that only Congress has the power to declare war? And if he doesn’t care if Congress gives their approval, who does Allen believe should have control of the military? Should we have an imperial presidency where the executive branch rules unchecked? Or should these decisions be left up the generals like some sort of South American military junta? Mr. Allen, how can the military protect our freedoms abroad while they are sent on missions that run contrary to rules that underpin the foundations of both our government and society?
Although George Allen was widely denounced by the media in 2006 for his so-called macaca moment, isn’t his statement here far more troubling? It is not merely some case of either racism or perceived racism, but rather shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution, the separation of powers, and the proper role of a United States Senator. It would be one thing if he were merely an ill-informed private citizen with no ties to the government, but it is quite another when he has actually served six years in the Senate and is seeking to do so again in the June 12th GOP primary.
Last I checked, conservatives believe in things like federalism and a government bound by the restraints of the Constitution. Through his quote in the recent debate, George Allen has shown once again that his philosophy of government does not align with the conservative mindset of actually limiting government. I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified of the prospect of electing more leaders from either party who will trample upon the rule of law and disregard the Constitution. I sincerely pray that Mr. Allen recants the statement he made in the above video.
Don’t forget that in just a few short weeks, Virginia voters will go to the polls to select the GOP nominee for Senate. I just hope that all Virginians will remember Allen’s words here. After all, we can ill afford to continue an irresponsible foreign policy ruled by a single person or cabal which is all done without congressional approval and oversight. Given that issue, do you really want to return a man like George Allen to such an important position of power? Or should we elect someone like Jamie Radtke who understands the proper role of a United States Senator? Seems like an obvious choice, doesn’t it?
Update: It seems like the folks at Citizen Tom have a link to the video of the entire third debate. Check it out here!