Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Encounter with Mark Souder at the Kelty Press Conference

I went to the Matt Kelty press conference today where Mark Souder publicly offered his endorsement of Matt Kelty. Of course readers might remember that Souder endorsed Nelson Peters in the primary, but I don't think it's a surprise that Souder would coalesce behind the Republican nominee. However, there were several prominent members of the Republican Party still noticeably absent. Those present were Liz Brown, Mitch Harper, Paul Moss and Steve Shine.

Matt's speech was about property taxes and his "Cut it, Cap it, Make it Permanent" platform. There are parts of this idea that I really like and parts that I think are unrealistic but I'll save that argument for another day. I wanted to point out that while I was the only Democrat present I was treated very well by several local Republicans including Dan Turkette, Steve Shine, Mitch Harper, Mark Garvin and even Matt Kelty.

After the press conference was over I was able to ask Congressman Souder a couple of questions about his fence-sitting position on Iraq and I thought I'd share his answers with everyone:
Pruitt: Congressman, our troops were sent to Iraq for this surge under the explanation that they were going to provide security for a political reconciliation, and I know you’ve come out recently and said that you’ve been on the fence about a lot of these recent resolutions. But I guess I’m wondering now that it’s almost certain that the Iraqi Parliament is going to take the month of August off, how can anyone support this strategy anymore and has that caused you to waver at all knowing that the political reconciliation just simply cannot take place?

Souder: My position in voting to go to war, my position in staying there, and my position in a drawdown – not an abandonment – there’s a mis-statement that my concern was over the date of withdrawal. My debate has been over the size of troops that would remain – I don’t believe we should be the occupying power. I had given up on the Iraqi Parliament a long time ago; I would like them to work together, it would be nice , it would be wonderful for democracy. We have to look out for our long term interests in the Middle East. That includes Iran, that includes Israel, that includes not having radical Islamic groups take over Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Yemen – if the radical groups take over there we’re going to have to put five or six hundred thousand troops in the region. So what’s going on in the Iraqi Parliament, I’d given up on them some time ago.

Pruitt: It seems like the differences between your position and the Democratic Party’s position on strategic redeployment or withdrawal or whatever you want to call it are not that far apart. So since you’re on the fence do have any plans to put forth your own bipartisan legislation to try and wrap this up?

Souder: I’ve stated my, because people have asked me “well what are your views”, and I’ve said them over and over, I don’t know whether it’d be thirty or forty thousand troops – that would be really up to the generals. I just believe more bases out in the open spaces where you can see who’s coming at you and then you take the battle to the enemy. I’ve talked to numerous members about offering something like that but have not done so for the following reasons. The moderate Democrats who I’ve talked to including their leadership would support that position and probably as much as half to two-thirds of the Republicans would. The problem is that as long as the President takes one position and the Democrat leadership takes another there’s no room for anybody to break nor is it clear they would even allow that to be offered.

So I’ve stated my position but there’s no real point in putting forth legislation. I believe after the September report, which now looks like Patreus may ask for November, that that position in fact will be the Republican position. My criticism of President Bush has been, if you would’ve taken this position nine to twelve months ago I believe we might’ve been able to get a compromise. Now both sides are so dug in that I don’t know that a compromise is possible. I’ll look at Lugar’s compromise, my guess is that he has a little more faith in the Iraq study group than I do, but I’ve articulated what that is but there isn’t really any point to legislation that five or ten people might sign on but the leadership in either party won’t allow to be offered.

Draw your own conclusion...

5 comments:

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Souder can sure talk in circles. He seems to be backing keeping 30,000 to 40,000 troops in the region indefinitely. However, he also says "

We have to look out for our long term interests in the Middle East. That includes Iran, that includes Israel, that includes not having radical Islamic groups take over Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Yemen – if the radical groups take over there we’re going to have to put five or six hundred thousand troops in the region."

I hope no politician in his or her right mind would support sending 500,000 to 600,000 troops to the Middle East - especially since our actions triggered this whole nightmare. And now, because the region is even more chaotic than it was before, we will be ensnared indefinitley.

The sheer magnitude of the number he is proposing also raises a question in my mind - how do we provide and supply a force that large. Reinstate the draft? We haven't even been able to supply our own troops with the proper equipment at the present levels, let alone increase the size 3 to 4 times.

Souder is still sitting on the fence. Don't look for him to jump off any time soon.

otto said...

What exactly makes you a "liberal"? In a county that has been controlled by Republicans for 80 years it is hard to tell what is "oppositional". In other words it doesn't take much intelligence or guts to be "left" of center in this town.

Your opposition to the school building program was completely misguided, but your asskissing in regards to Aboite getting special dispensation is pathetic. What is the deal in giving Kelty a pass on 'cutting spending"? Tell me what Republican hasn't run on that old saw? It is complete BS. He isn't gonna come out with some other plan that nobody else hasn't or couldn't propose, or else they would have.

Why not call a spade a spade on this issue? Is it just coincidence that Aboite is being considered for dealing with this problem? As a responsible journalist that should be your first question! Yea, we all hate taxes...that is a no brainer.

I worked as a tax assesor for a couple of years in Dekalb county. I will give Kruse etc credit in that they used their political power to get individual house valuations reduced. They realized that making a political pitch for an area of rich people wouldn't fly because people would ask questions. Unfortunately they were wrong. What is most disippointing is that the people they thought who would raise a stink do more ass kissing. Shame.

John Good said...

I gotta say, I like this Otto guy.

Jeff - Your rebuttal?

Jeff Pruitt said...

Otto - slow down partner. I'll try to address these one at a time.

What exactly makes you a "liberal"?

I do not believe I have ever labeled myself a liberal. If I were to choose a label it would be populist Democrat. John Good runs the site and he chose to subtitle it "a liberal perspective on local politics". If John no longer thinks I'm liberal enough to represent this blog then he's free to remove me as an author. But I'm not going to change my positions due to the title of a blog.

Your opposition to the school building program was completely misguided

You did see the results? Were we all simply misguided? And how dare we not rubberstamp whatever the out-of-touch school board demands. Nevermind they could've had $300 Million w/o a remonstrance - but we're to blame? Give me a break.

but your asskissing in regards to Aboite getting special dispensation is pathetic. What is the deal in giving Kelty a pass on 'cutting spending"? Tell me what Republican hasn't run on that old saw?

I've never said Aboite should get anything special and I challenge you to provide an example of that. Second, I have specifically stated that Kelty's approach to cutting the budget by 10% or zero-growth budgeting is not based in reality. You could've read that here had you taken the time to actually read my positions but just to save you the trouble I'll post the relevant portion:
"Back in May, Matt Kelty made a pledge that he was going to cut property taxes by 10%. Many, including myself, thought this was simply not going to be possible. Now, after Kelty appears to have come to the same realization, he has changed his tune and simply says that he will call for zero-growth in the city budget.

Well, guess what? That ain't gonna cut your taxes by 10%. And does Kelty offer up any actual plan to level spending? Of course not, it's all smoke and mirrors. Making matters worse he doesn't seem to understand the options available to local government as he thinks House Bill 1478 will some how lower the tax burden"

Why not call a spade a spade on this issue? Is it just coincidence that Aboite is being considered for dealing with this problem? As a responsible journalist that should be your first question!

I've already done that in previous posts and this particular post was not about property taxes as I specifically went to the press conference to ask Mark Souder questions on Iraq. I have my own ideas about the property tax issue and it has nothing to do w/ Aboite - I have absolutely no idea where you're getting this from. And for the record I am not a "responsible journalist" anymore than you are a "politician". I'm simply a blogger giving my opinion on mostly local issues.

What is most disippointing is that the people they thought who would raise a stink do more ass kissing. Shame.

I find it outright laughable that someone would actually accuse me of being a Kelty ass-kisser - now I've heard it all. This ranks up there with being labeled a closeted Souder supporter. You obviously haven't read hardly anything I've written but I would encourage you to do so.

For what it's worth I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I plan on continuing to conduct interviews and attend press conferences so if there's something in particular that you would like to see addressed then feel free to let me know...

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Otto:

You should READ Jeff Pruitt's posts before you say things that make absolutely no sense.

Mike Sylvester