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Afghanistan Poses a Challenging Issue for 13th Congressional Hopefuls

December 8, 2009

With the President’s commitment of more troops in Afghanistan, the question arises: how will the GOP handle what is sure to be one of the top issues in the upcoming 2010 elections?

The local GOP has some additional factors to consider. The wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq have been generally unpopular over the course of the past few years here in New York, let alone the rest of the nation. Recent polling shows the country is also split on the issue, while a large number of Americans remain undecided.

Congress will have some important decisions to make as the war takes its course throughout the next two years. As such, whichever candidate ultimately takes the floor to challenge McMahon in the 13th CD must be prepared to address this very critical issue eruditely.

Congressman McMahon released the following statement after the President’s address last week:

“Tonight, President Obama   reaffirmed our commitment to complete the mission which began on 9/11.  I support our Commander in Chief in his request for 30,000 additional troops to send to Afghanistan.  The President has thought long and hard about how to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan so we can eliminate terrorist safe havens and stop nuclear weapons from getting into the hands of those who seek to do us harm.

While sending more Americans to war is undoubtedly a serious decision, failing to support our troops who are currently deployed is certainly not the right solution.  We owe it to our brave men and women in uniform to provide them with the resources necessary to continue and succeed in their mission.  We must stabilize this region that has fanned the flames of radical hostility and extreme terrorist ideology that led to the horrors of September 11th.  Afghanistan should never again be a launching pad for terrorist activities.”

Whether McMahon is adopting this approach because of his more Republican-leaning constituency or because of he wants to kiss up to President Obama as a new congressman, I do not know.

All I know is that Mr. McMahon, as a Democrat, might be making a serious error.

Even if people support the war in Afghanistan and this so-called “surge,” that doesn’t mean voters approve of the President’s plan or all aspects of it.

The polling is pretty divided. This is from Rasmussen:

The good news for President Obama is that 53% of voters nationwide support his plan to send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. Nearly as many (47%) support his plan to begin withdrawing troops from that war-torn country in 18 months.

But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 20% of voters agree with both parts of the plan.

As a result, the president’s plan as outlined in a nationally televised speech Tuesday night ultimately earns mixed reviews. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they support the overall plan, while 38% oppose it. Twenty-five percent (25%) are not sure.

Thirty percent (30%) of voters favor the plan to send more troops but oppose the timetable for withdrawal.

Eighteen percent (18%) favor the timetable for withdrawal but not the plan to send more troops.

A majority of Democrats support the president’s overall plan, while a plurality of Republicans and voters not affiliated with either party are opposed. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats support both sending more troops and the establishment of a timetable for withdrawal. Just 12% of unaffiliated voters support both.

While this is New York, it seems things could unravel for the President very quickly, at least in terms of his popularity–and with that, his strategy. That is most especially true in the 13th CD, which has leaned GOP for some time.

Obama has jumped slightly in the polls after his speech, but he remains in the 40’s–a massive drop from his preliminary approval rating of 65%.


To the men currently considering a run against McMahon (Mike Grimm, Michael Allegretti, and–gasp!–Vito Fossella?), how they handle this issue will be critical to their success.

It might be wise to start canvassing now (if they haven’t done so already) just how the voters of the 13th CD would like their next congressman to handle this issue. The Brooklyn and Staten Island GOP should be polling, making phone calls or mailings for voter input, and pushing for resources from the National GOP to do so. The views of the voters must be properly gauged.

The same old “they’re for it, we’re against it” approach will not work.

Voters are justifiably worried about Afghanistan, and New York, being one of the most influential states, needs another strong and powerful voice in Congress that will take a stand for a proper war strategy.

No GOP candidate’s website that I see has addressed this issue thoroughly yet. That must change very soon.

I look forward to reviewing and examining the positions of the candidates on this issue, and I hope you will all follow this very important race, as well.

We want to win and get the GOP back on the map in Brooklyn, and the 13th CD is a very good place to start.

  1. John Galt permalink*
    December 7, 2009 4:04 pm

    Midas asked me to post this update. He found this on Michael Allegretti’s website:

    Statement on President Barack Obama’s Afghan Speech

    With the President’s decision to send 30,000 additional troops to
    Afghanistan we must remember to put our nation’s security before party
    politics. Our nation faces a very real and immediate threat at home and
    abroad and I have the utmost confidence in our armed forces to get the job

    In the coming weeks, not months, Congress must provide the means necessary
    to protect our soldiers in combat. It is our job to support our troops and
    ensure they receive every tool necessary for victory.

    This is the time for us to unite, our men and women in uniform deserve no

  2. Soldier Mom permalink
    December 7, 2009 8:36 pm

    With so many of our brave children abroad, the GOP must come up with a good message on this issue. The stakes are too high.

  3. BROOKLYNITE permalink
    December 7, 2009 8:43 pm


    • SI GOPer permalink
      December 7, 2009 9:51 pm

      Nice one, punk. Sounds like you’re channeling your inner Eaton.

    • Gerry permalink
      December 8, 2009 3:18 pm

      Hi Craig!

    • The Great Craig "The Duke" Eaton Speaks permalink
      December 8, 2009 8:42 pm

      This is the position of The Great Craig “The Duke” Eaton.

  4. Young Republican permalink
    December 7, 2009 8:45 pm

    Besides making sure that our troops have what they need while they are in harms way, we also need to make sure that we don’t get bogged down there. We are there to accomplish something, we must make sure that gets accomplished sooner rather than later so our troops can come home ASAP. If at any time we realize that the task cannot be accomplished, than we must immediately change course, and bring them home.

  5. The Great Craig "The Duke" Eaton Speaks permalink
    December 8, 2009 8:30 pm

    The Great Craig “The Duke” Eaton at the County Committee Convention:

    “I’m being blamed for the loss of the 13th Congressional District. Is THAT a joke?! IS THAT A JOKE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN?! We have a THIRD of that district! And you know what, before today, STATEN ISLAND CONTROLLED THAT DISTRICT!”

    From Atlas Receives Transcript of The Duke’s Speech at County Committee Convention:

    Oh, the Staten Island Republicans are going to get steamed over this one! Blame, blame, blame! Anyone but me! But, I thought we had to “work together?” I thought we had to “unify?” I thought leaders were supposed to take responsibility for their actions? I thought leaders were supposed to remain composed? I had this foolish idea that our leaders were supposed to go above and beyond?

    What Eaton’s comments suggest is that the party has had no involvement with the 13th Congressional District race in any way. But now, after a crushing and nationwide spectacle of a defeat, the Brooklyn GOP is kicking in gear?

    Give me a break. No one believes that, Mr. Chairman. Own up.

  6. Jesse Belton permalink
    December 9, 2009 9:07 pm

    What are Mike Grimm’s and Michael Allegretti’s views about the war? Anyone know?

  7. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 10, 2009 11:29 am

    Didn’t Mr. Eaton anoint one of the candidates for the 13th C.D. Republican nomination at that same time—or was that crowning “Charley-somebody” to be Holy Roman Emperor? [You know: not holy; not Roman; not an empire—sounds like an Eaton-type nomination, to me]

  8. The Great Craig "The Duke" Eaton Speaks permalink
    December 10, 2009 3:09 pm

    The Great Craig “The Duke” Eaton Speaks:

    I’m being blamed for the loss of the 13th Congressional District. Is THAT a joke?! IS THAT A JOKE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN?! We have a THIRD of that district! And you know what, before today, STATEN ISLAND CONTROLLED THAT DISTRICT!

    Well, let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, next year, we’re going to run our own horse in that race…Mike Allegretti….

    (I guess the “party” has spoken? What about Grimm? Fossella?)

  9. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    December 10, 2009 4:08 pm

    Oops! Looks like TGC”TD”E screwed the pooch in the parlour in front of all the folks.

  10. Young Republican permalink
    December 10, 2009 11:06 pm

    It is absolutely true and it cannot be denied that the republican candidate would have needed to get almost 100% of the vote in Brooklyn in order to carry the 13th district. That being said loosing 20% of the electorate, (31% in ’08 down from 51% in ’06,) is something that has to be looked into and republicans in Brooklyn have to see how to get that 20% back and how to build on that to get a bigger majority.

  11. Staten Island Republican permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:48 am

    “McMahon is a really nice guy.” so stated by one of the so-called party leaders at a large gathering of Republicans.
    Now that McMahon is considered a “friend”, it would only make sense to keep him in office so certain party leaders can benefit from this friendship.
    The curtain opened on Mike Allegretti, not because he is more qualified, or has funds, (he appears to be a very affable,intelligent fellow) but because he will become a wedge for Republicans regaining the seat in the 13th CD. Any primary for this seat will weaken the party, and allow McMahon to stay in office.
    The deal is sealed.


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