Perhaps best known for his part in writing The Border Fence Act of 2006, Republican presidential candidate Congressman Duncan Hunter (R.-Calif.) believes that Act can be fulfilled using the momentum created by political grassroots in killing the Senate immigration reform bill. In a Wednesday afternoon conference call, he applauded the bill’s demise, calling it a “Herculean effort and great expression of the American will.”
He relayed a cheerful campaign update, including a mention of stops in New Hampshire, Iowa and San Diego — where he’s traveling to hold a fundraiser for his son Duncan’s 2008 Congressional run. Hunter is campaigning for his son while the son is serving on active duty, currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Hunter supports the recent troop surge that makes a last ditch effort to succeed in Iraq. Three weeks into the full surge, he remains optimistic about the prospects of success and skeptical of an American media that often dampens the spirits and hopes of the military.
“A day after the surge was announced, there was a car bombing in Baghdad and one of the people I was sharing the talk show with stated that that was evidence that the surge had failed — and we didn’t have our troops in country at that point,” he said.
Hunter called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s resignation when Reid called the war “lost.”
“I thought that statement very much disserved American forces,” Hunter told me. “The tendency of a lot of folks in the media is to inherently distrust the notion that the US has the ability to spread freedom around the world, that we have the ability to be successful militarily.”
He referenced the left wing media history when they downplayed chances for success before the triumph over socialism in the Soviet Union.
Today American faces a different kind of enemy and a pro-active approach to disarming potential nuclear weapons from Iran is on the front-burner for government leaders. Hunter emphasized the necessity of developing a solid policy that stops Iran from developing a nuclear device “before we get to the edge of the cliff.”
“It’s clear that Iran is marching toward the assembly and production of a nuclear device,” said Hunter. “You look at the array of sanctions that we’ve undertaken and the problem is that they are not shared by the rest of the world.”
After speaking to the leadership, Hunter says we aren’t doing much to make Iran change their behavior and the speed at which nations develop weapons of mass destruction is too often underestimated.
“I don’t think we’d see Saddam Hussein standing by while his archrivals developed a nuclear weapon,” he said.
With respect to Iraq, Hunter stressed the need for Iraqi soldiers to step up and take the reigns. The US obligation now, he said, is to stand up a military that’s capable and be sure they are thoroughly and military trained.
“We need to get as many of those 129 battalions as possible on a…stint in combat where they undertake military training,” he said, and once that is efficient training is spent, “our guys can come home.” Hunter reminded that these endeavors take time and patience, something Democrats are unwilling to endure.
The defeat of the immigration bill, though, proved that the political leadership will listen to the American people. Hunter referenced the “hundreds of thousands” (“maybe even millions”) of calls that came in about the amnesty bill.
“Everybody here realizes they’re elected, everybody pays attention to what the voters think…I think everybody appreciates the fact that when the American people really care about something, they make their voices heard,” he said.