The Happy Leftie

For lefties and other normal people who have considered suicide when the mainstream 'news' was enuf

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

They Can Have Zell Miller, We've Got Republican Pete McCloskey

A Dragon Slayer Returns

Mark Hertsgaard

Pete McCloskey earned a permanent place in American history when, in 1973, he became the first Republican member of Congress to call for Richard Nixon's impeachment and for US withdrawal from Vietnam. As a highly decorated veteran of the Korean War, McCloskey's criticisms of Washington's errors in Vietnam carried special weight; today, he sees those errors being repeated in Iraq. He recently met with young marines from his old company, Company C, which, according to McCloskey, has lost one-quarter of its men since the Iraq War began. "Every one of these guys told me the same thing," he says: "There's no way we're winning the hearts and minds of these people, when we're pulling them out of bed in the middle of the night and killing family members."

The Iraq War is one of the reasons McCloskey, now 78, has come out of retirement to run again for Congress. In a primary election this June, he will face Richard Pombo, a seven-term incumbent from California and close ally of former House majority leader Tom DeLay, who had to step down after being indicted for campaign finance violations. Although Iraq will surely figure in the race--McCloskey, like Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, favors pulling US troops out within a year--McCloskey says the main reason he decided to challenge Pombo is that Pombo personifies the pay-to-play corruption, ideological fanaticism and anti-environmentalism that have taken over the Republican Party. "Tom DeLay wouldn't deal with any lobbying firm that didn't employ Republicans and contribute to Republican candidates," says McCloskey, "and Pombo was one of his top lieutenants."