Note: On my Pennsylvania blog (http://pennsylvaniaforjohnmccain.blogspot.com) on Saturday night I've begun writing about one of America's worst congressmen, Chaka Fattah, a Democrat from Philadelphia. Please visit.
"Americans [unlike every other nation in the world] identify ourselves by fidelity to certain political principles." (Justice Antonin Scalia)
This weekend -- and continuing well into next week -- I'll be writing about my favorite congressional candidates, some of them mainly conservative, some mainly libertarian, but all of them Republicans with much in common. These candidates need --and eminently deserve -- your political, financial, and moral support. They include:
- Melissa Hart, who lost her race for re-election in 2006 in PA's 4th congressional district (west and north of Pittsburgh) and is running again to regain it. Melissa is a slight favorite to win, mainly because John McCain should carry the district by a huge margin -- and thus help propel Melissa to victory. I've written a lot about Melissa (who was -- and will be -- my congressional representative) and will write a great deal more.
- Toni Gilhooley, a 25-year-veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police who is running against Democratic incumbent Tim Holden in Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district (Harrisburg and surrounding communities). Toni is a big underdog, but as I'll explain, she has the drive and personal characteristics needed to achieve an upset.
- Marina Kats, an attorney and an immigrant from Russia, who's running against extreme leftist Allyson Schwartz, in Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district (Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia). I've said -- humorously but accurately -- that Marina is the most beautiful young woman ever to run for Congress. She's also an underdog, but with the national attention her campaign will receive. she has a chance to do the impossible: beat militant leftist Allyson Schwartz.
- Michael Livingston, a law professor and tax expert, who's running against Democratic incumbent Chaka Fattah in Pennsylvania's 2d congressional district (Philadelphia). A true libertarian Republican (Marina also fits that definition), Michael will wage a strong campaign against an opponent who currently appears to be unbeatable. I'll be writing a lot more about Michael in the coming months.
What do I wish YOU would do right now? I hope you'll click on the candidates' names above, go to their web sites, learn about them, and make at least a small donation to their campaigns (perhaps $10 or, if you can afford it, $200 or more).
Granted, very few Americans ever donate to a political campaign -- perhaps 2% of the population. However, if you don't contribute to candidates you believe in, they have little chance of getting their message across. Everyone reading this piece has one vote, but those who do contribute are leveraging (increasing) their influence on the election.
In 2006, I worked hard on the campaign of Republican Diana Lynn Irey, who ran against "The Prince of Pork," John Murtha. Diana didn't win the election, but she was able to get support from 7,000 donors. In fact, she had many more individual contributors than Murtha, one of the most powerful -- and objectionable -- individuals in the U.S. Congress. Diana established a foundation for the future, hers and the Republican Party's in Pennsylvania.
Yesterday, Friday, I had a long phone conversation with Toni Gilhooley. She is an absolutely remarkable woman. Trust me, Toni is exactly the kind of individual we need in the House of Representatives. Her opponent, Tim Holden, passes himself off as a "conservative Democrat," which is something like claiming to be "the world's tallest midget."
In fact, one of the first things Holden did in the current Congress was to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Of course, in that single action Holden -- the supposed "conservative" -- ensured that left-wing Democrats would head every important committee. He also ensured that no "conservative" -- or even moderate -- legislation would ever see the light of day.
That's a little detail Tim Holden withholds from his constituents. It's a detail Toni Gilhooley MUST get across to 17th district voters if she hopes to win. In other words, she has to drive home the point that Tim Holden, amiable as he seems to be, is a total impostor. In return, the voters have to consider the real possibility that Holden is not the man they've thought he was.
Also, anyone who is going to vote for John McCain in the 17th -- and most people will -- must realize that they're cancelling out their vote if they cast a ballot for Holden.
In the case of Marina Kats, her opponent, Allyson Schwartz raises a massive amount of campaign funds -- more than $7 million in the last two election cycles. Who donates to Schwartz? The most left-wing political action committees and individuals in the U.S. People who contribute to Schwartz take a dim view of America's role as a powerful, dynamic force on the world stage. (If you'd like to take a look at Schwartz's contributors, go to http://www.openscrets.org/ and type in the name "Schwartz." You'll recognize a lot of the names.
What kind of person is Marina Kats, a woman born in Russia and now seen by many as an embodiment of The American Dream? Here's how The Philadelphia Bulletin described her:
"Ms. Kats differs with Mrs. Schwartz strongly on whether Washington should act presently to phase out the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. Speaking to The Bulletin from her law office in Feasterville, she described looking upon an American flag that was flown for a year and a half over the base of her colleague Christopher Hudock when he was called to active duty in Iraq. Upon returning, he gave Ms. Kats the flag to hang in her office. She describes it as a reminder of the imperative that America prevail."
Kats says, "I am supporting the withdrawal of American troops as soon as possible, but only when it is safe to do it for us and our national security interests."
In contrast, Allyson Schwartz favors a timetable for Iraq withdrawal, with all the bloodshed, political chaos, and national security threats that would result. Ms. Schwartz doesn't live in a world where her strongest supporters wear flag pins and send their sons and daughters off to defend America. Instead, she lives in world dominated by polls and irritated by America's exceptional role in world history.
Yes, that's harsh, but is there any evidence it's untrue?
If Schwartz shares Kats's strong felling about the American flag, she has kept them a secret. It's apparently not a subject she discusses, even though her own immigrant background is not all that dissimilar from Kats's. One sign of Schwartz's thinking on the subject is that she voted against the amendment to prohibit flag-burning.
If you want American politics to change for the better, I suggest the way to bring that about is to support Marina Kats, Toni Gilhooley, Melissa Hart, and Michael Livingston. They need votes and your best wishes -- but most of all at this crucial moment, they need your money to get across their compelling messages
(Here's the link to the article in The Bulletin. I urge you to read it:)
Note: If you'd like to contribute to Hart, Gilhooley, and Livingston, you can do so at their web sites. Marina Kats has a preliminary web site up, but until the permanent one is available in a few days, you can send a check to her at:
Kats for Congress
PO Box 91
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
I hope every blogger or other online communicator will either reprint this column or pass it along to friends and family members.
Note: Different Republican candidates will not agree on every issue. The views expressed here are my own. The candidates can speak for themselves when it comes to specific issues. I receive no financial assistance or direction from any candidate endorsed here.