Friday, April 27, 2007

Duncan Hunter—The Class of Reagan

Source: The Patriot Post: Digest. This is a copy of the Perspective section of the Patriot Post Digest. Please visit the PatriotPost to stay informed of all things Conservative, republic, and constitutional. You may also sign up for e-mail deliveries!

“If men of wisdom and knowledge... and true republican simplicity of manners... are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.” —Samuel Adams


The consensus among the chattering class is that this presidential cycle features no clear heir to the Reagan mantle. Yet of the declared candidates, conservatives outnumber the media-dubbed triumvirate of Giuliani, McCain and Romney. Most notable among them is Duncan Hunter, the California representative who hails from The Gipper’s lucky city of San Diego.

Hunter earned his congressional seat in 1980, in a 2-to-1 Democrat-dominated district. He did so with a winning combination of determination, shoe leather, integrity and a clear conservative philosophy as espoused by GOP presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. Certain sectors of the San Diego establishment have never forgiven Hunter for ousting nine-term Demo Rep. Lionel Van Deerlin, now a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Hunter is a decorated Vietnam veteran who served with the 173rd Airborne Division and the 75th Army Rangers. After returning home, he attended law school and opened offices in San Diego’s Hispanic Barrio Logan, often offering legal services at no charge. Last October, before the Republican congressional losses, Hunter announced his simultaneous retirement from Congress and his presidential candidacy. In other words, he is serious about this campaign.

The National Journal recently assessed political placement of declared presidential candidates based on a gamut of congressional votes. While this obviously applies only to legislators, Hunter achieved the most conservative score—82.5 of a possible 99—edging Sam Brownback. Both are well ahead of the rest of the pack. Indeed, Hunter has a lengthy list of conservative bona fides.

Most notably, in more than two decades on the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the former chairman and current ranking member, Hunter steadfastly advocated a victory strategy in both the Cold War and the global war with Jihadistan. He also did much to blunt the dismantling of the U.S. military by Bill Clinton. As chairman of Armed Services, Hunter oversaw the nation’s $532-billion defense budget in the first years of America’s war on Islamic terrorism.

On the immigration front, he sponsored the controversial Secure Fence Act for improved border control and was personally responsible for 59 miles of border fencing now in place along San Diego County’s border with Mexico.

When it comes to constitutional issues, he does not subscribe to the adulterated “Living Constitution” oft-referenced by the Left. Instead, he is a constitutional constructionist and abides by the letter of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.

Hunter’s presidential bid is centered on three core national-security principles: Effective prosecution of the campaign against jihadi terrorism, strict border and immigration enforcement and a focus on our own economic security in the global economy.

What kind of campaign must the GOP wage to win? Top presidential contenders among the Democrats have over twice the money and nearly twice the donors of the Republicans’ big three. Moreover, if Hillary wins the Demo primary, she will decline federal matching funds—freeing herself of the restrictions attached to those funds.

A Republican ticket will need a lot of bang for the buck, cutting a significant swath into the Democrats’ base—without losses on the right. In his Demo-dominated district, Hunter has proven he can win Democrats’ votes without waffling on conservative principles.

In the contests where he has actively campaigned, Hunter has performed best on that measure.

In the March South Carolina contest, he drew to a statistical tie, at 22 percent each, with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. “We were outspent 10 to 1,” he remarked, going against an “army of consultants.” Running the effort was his son, a Marine captain and OIF veteran. Of this, candidate Hunter quipped, “You know, that’s a pretty good match-up: one Marine versus 550 consultants. We did have the advantage.”

Every characteristic touted as a distinguisher for another candidate is one Hunter also demonstrates. He combines the military service and acumen of McCain with the border-security stances of Tom Tancredo, he’s been a consistent defender of human life and traditional families in law and he has a firm grasp of the principles of constitutional law. He has as much or more experience as a legislator than most of his primary contenders.

A true Patriot, Hunter proclaims, “America is a great nation because America is a good nation. God still loves this nation. We are still a people of character and strength and kindness. And so with faith in God, with confidence in the goodness of the American people, let’s win this race for the United States presidency.”

A veteran of the 1980 congressional “Class of Reagan,” Duncan Hunter is a standout worthy of serious consideration by conservative voters, not only because of his aforementioned qualifications, but because one has to spend only a minute with him to know what achievement he counts above all others—his 33 years of marriage to his wife, Lynne, and the two sons and four grandchildren that are the product of that marriage. Duncan is a family man above all.

(For a brief bio of Hunter and his current ratings by conservative organizations, as well as bios and ratings for other GOP candidates, link to The Patriot’s candidate profile page.)

Quote of the week
“One thing that [Iraqi war theater commander Gen. David Petraeus] reminded us was, this [war] is a test of wills, and he admonished us... that what we say to the world, to our adversaries and our allies, is listened to by the other side... It must come as a shock to al-Qa’ida leaders to have an aide come into their safe house and tell them that Senator [Harry] Reid has declared that, in fact, they are winning and the war is lost. I think it’s highly irresponsible for the leader of the U.S. Senate to have said that and, just speaking for myself as the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, I think that the leader of the Senate should step down from that position.” —Congressman Duncan Hunter, California Republican, on Wednesday, after Gen. Petraeus’ closed-door congressional briefing sessions.

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