Thursday, November 02, 2006

2006 Endorsements: Part VI

As the title reveals, there have been five previous 2006 endorsement posts: two for various Senate races, and three for several House races. The latter included 71 House candidates - 47 Republicans and 24 Democrats. As for the other 364 House races, I expected to be silent on them due to two factors: 1) not enough information about those races to state a preference, and 2) no apparent net difference between the parties in the House. After more careful analysis, it is clear that the latter reason does not apply. While the difference is not enough to override the previous 71 endorsements (so please check them out to see if your district is included), it is enough for this corner to make a recommendation on the large remainder of seats.

The biggest factors in determining the effect of partisan control of Congress are the Speaker and the list of Committee chairs. For most of the committees, the choice is between a mixed-bag Republican and a mixed-bag Democrats, with four exceptions: Armed Services, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and International Relations.

Speaker: The current Speaker, Republican Dennis Hastert, has been - at best - AWOL on the issue of Communist China, although he did support PNTR for Communist China. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, by contrast, not only opposed PNTR, but has been a leading spokeswoman for human rights in Communist China. She was also the only elected official to appear at the Washington memorial for the late Zhao Ziyang (second item) - I should know; I was there. This comparison favors the Democrats.

Armed Services Committee: The current Republican Chairman is Duncan Hunter - yes, that Duncan Hunter. The would-be Democratic Chairman is Ike Skelton of Missouri. The contrast could not be starker. Not only did Skelton support PNTR; he was also one of 70 House members who opposed the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA). Given the fact that Taiwan is vitally dependent on American arms to defend itself from the Communists, this is a no-brainer; it favors the Republicans.

Homeland Security Committee: The current Republican Chairman is Peter King, whose record was good enough for me to hope he would run for President, until Hunter came on the scene. The Democrat who would take his job is Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. Thompson is not bad - he, too, opposed PNTR - but it's hard to compare to King. So this one also favors the Republicans, but mildly.

Intelligence Committee: The current Chairman is Peter Hoekstra, the fellow who instigated a probe of Communist China's infiltration of our intelligence agencies (ninth item). This could be one of the most critical investigations going on right now, and we need an anti-Communist like Hoekstra to make sure the probe will continue - and if need be, expand - in the future. Hoekstra's would-be replacement is California's Jane Harman, a supporter of NTR who was not in Congress for the PNTR and TSEA votes. There are whispers that Pelosi will instead choose Alcee Hastings of Florida; Hastings was another of the few who opposed TSEA. Neither can hold a candle to Hoekstra. This one favors the Republicans.

International Relations Committee: At present, no one's really sure who would replace the retiring Henry Hyde on the GOP side, but the two front-runners are Florida's Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and New Jersey's Christopher Smith. Both are terrific anti-Communists with long and sterling records on this issue. The Democrats have almost no one who compares. However, one of those few - Tom Lantos of California - is slated to take over the committee should the Democrats win. As a result, this one favors both, i.e., neither.

So we have three critical committees (Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Intelligence) where anti-Communism is better served by Republicans - and with Armed Services and Intelligence, the Republicans are far better than the Democrats - versus the Speakership, where the Democrat would be preferred.

It's a tough call, but from this quarter, the committee chairs are more important.

As stated above, for the 71 House candidates already endorsed, nothing is changed, so please examine these lists to see if your district is included. That said, in the remaining 364 House of Representative districts, please vote Republican.

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