One of the most interesting of Missouri’s 2010 congressional races is the Republican contest in the 4th District, which stretches from mid-Missouri, south of the Missouri River, west to the Kansas border. While four Republicans – State Senator Bill Stouffer, former State Representative Vicky Hartzler, Brian Riley, and James Scholz – have announced their intentions to go after the GOP nomination to take on longtime Democratic Congressman Ike Skelton , only Stouffer and Hartzler had raised any money, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. [Read more...]
West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton has written President Obama, urging him to listen to his military commander in Afghanistan and give him the resources he needs to win.
In a six-page letter , Congressman Skelton, chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, outlines the case for the importance of the war in Afghanistan and urges President Obama to support General Stanley McChrystal, by giving him the troops and equipment he needs. Skelton states in the letter that McChrystal has the right plan and is the right man for the job.
Is Skelton worried that the president’s resolve in Afghanistan has wavered?
"I hope not," Skelton tells the Missourinet, "I certainly hope not. I do know exactly what he said back in his March speech and I’m taking him at his word for that."
Skelton states in the letter that al Qaeda presents "a serious threat to American national security." He says al Qaeda, sheltered in Afghanistan by the Taliban, must be defeated. He writes that he doesn’t believe America can successfully root out al Qaeda from Pakistan and destroy the organization if it doesn’t succeed in Afghanistan.
Skelton says America must regain its footing in the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan.
"We had the initiative early on, but going into Iraq caused us to short change the efforts in Afghanistan," Skelton says. "Consequently, that initiative has been slowed down."
Skelton counsels for a very tough stance against the Taliban. He points out the Taliban has become experts on exploiting "every ideological and military success and it should not be our policy to allow them even the smallest victory."
A three-prong approach is outlined in the letter. Skelton advocates a counter-terror campaign using pilotless drones and special operations forces to attack al Qaeda leadership. Secondly, he says the United States must speed up the training of Afghan National Security Forces, though he says such a strategy on its own is insufficient. The final approach would be the United States-led counter-insurgency plan devised by General McChrystal. Skelton tells President Obama that plan must be given sufficient resources so that the U.S. and allied military, along with civilian experts, can carry out the strategy Obama announced in March.
"Undertaking a counter-insurgency campaign is complex, and it will require additional resources, both civilian and military, and hopefully not all from the United States," Skelton writes.
Toward the end of the letter, Skelton states, "We know the ends, General McChrystal has a plan, and we should supply him the resources he needs to see if it will work."
America pauses to remember tragedy; and a Missouri Congressman says that tragedy will be compounded if we don’t pursue justice to its end.
West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton says America cannot afford to forget this day or those who lost their lives on this day.
“Today, we will once again mourn the families and those who have fallen and we express our deepest sympathy to their friends and their loved one,” says Skelton. “This is only right, but it’s not enough.”
It was eight years ago when terrorists flew jetliners into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Passengers in another plane sacrificed their lives to bring it down in a farm field in Pennsylvania before it could complete its deadly mission. Nearly 3,000 died that day.
Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, says remembering and sympathy are not enough. He says the United States must press its fight in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“What we cannot do is walk away from the fight. We cannot allow the memory of this horrific event to be forgotten,” Skelton says. “We cannot forget how important it is to bring those who caused it to justice.”
Skelton says this is not a simple war nor an easy one, but he says the country has, for the first time, settled on a real strategy that is providing results.
Midterm elections are usually difficult ones for the party that controls the White House – and Inside the Beltway pundits are predicting the 2010 elections could be tough for the Democrats. A couple of Missouri’s Members of Congress – Democrat Ike Skelton and Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer – have some thoughts on next year’s voting.
Northeast Missouri Congressman Luetkemeyer sees the possibility of this scenario playing out.
"The midterm elections are always a referendum on the party in power," said Luetkemeyer in an interview with the Missourinet. "Obviously, the Democrats are in power, right now, and I think that they’re going to have to earn the respect and earn the vote of the people. Right now they haven’t. The people are upset with them, they’re upset with the direction of the country."
West-central Missouri Congressman Skelton believes the economy will play a role in Democrats’ chances next year.
"I’m concerned about the economy, about people getting work, getting jobs, and it looks like that is beginning – hopefully – to turn," Skelton told the Missourinet.
Skelton realizes there could be a lot of ups and downs before voters cast ballots next year.
"We’ll have to wait and see what the economy is like sometime next year," Skelton told the Missourinet. "The indicators are that it’s beginning to turn around. And frankly, if confidence returns, it’ll be a whole new ballgame."
Luetkemeyer says there had better be a turnaround or voters will hold Democrats accountable.
"The Democrats have the votes, they have both seats of government plus the President’s chair, and the result is they’re in charge, they’re responsible, they have to take full responsibility for what’s going on," said Luetkemeyer. "If the people like it they’ll get reelected. If they don’t it’s a great opportunity for us (Republicans) to show that we’ve got better ideas and can do a better job of leading."
While stopping far short of predicting a change in power, several political analysts expect losses for the Democrats in both the House and Senate in 2010.
Missouri Democrats and Republicans don’t always see eye to eye on things, but two members of our congressional delegation – one from each party – have their doubts about health care legislation being passed by Congress this year.
West-central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO4) says several barriers might stand in the way of health care reform legislation passing.
“A lot depends upon what changes they can make,” said Skelton in an interview with the Missourinet. “Right now the House has three different bills, the Senate has two different bills, and I’m not sure how they meld together and there’s frankly some parts in the bills that I have some serious question about.”
Northeast Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO9) doesn’t expect anything passed before next year.
“I really don’t think we’ll get anything this fall,” Luetkemeyer told the Missourinet. “I think the other side (Democrats) is so fractured, right now, that it’s going to take all fall for them to get their house in order.”
Congress says it would be a mistake to pass a bill just for the sale of passing a bill.
“I just hope we can get one done that’s right,” said Skelton. “You don’t want to just pass a bill to be passing a bill. You want to be right and you want Americans to say, ‘That’s good, I’m glad they did it that way.’”
Luetkemeyer says it will really be up to Democrats to stop their internal feuding.
“They’re very fractured, right now,” said Luetkemeyer. “The liberals in their party want a public option – a government option. The conservatives in their party don’t want that.”
Members of Congress, throughout the country, have been running into sometimes angry crowds as town hall forums on health care reform are held during Congress’ August recess.