Category Archives: hagel

The Primary Season

‘‘We have no input into who’s the nominee at all. Does that make any sense? The state that is one of the most important in the general election has no input in the primary.” Ed Rendell March 2007

‘‘It is absolutely insane to have it (the primary) front-loaded the way it is…It’ll only be the candidates who have the huge money who can survive.” Ed Rendell April 2007

The Primary Season
by: Joe Leonardi

The primary season has “officially” begun. Though the candidates for president have been running for almost one year, the November 2007 general election is over and it is time to focus on 2008.

As a Reagan conservative, I still don’t know for whom I will cast a vote. The front runners aren’t conservative and Fred Thompson, whom prior to his announcement caught my attention, has thus far been lackluster. I have not really chosen anyone to support, but I am narrowing it down.

My preferred candidate would have been Senator Chuck Hagel, but he has opted out. It is a shame, because a true conservative, one who actually served not only in the military, but in a war, was blacklisted because he spoke out against President Bush’s blundering in Iraq. The most inane part is he was shouted down and shut out by those who avoided military service. Not only the current administration, but many conservative commentators, pundits and bloggers who never served a day in uniform derailed, denounced and demeaned the heroic Hagel.

Being a resident of Pennsylvania my vote will be rendered unnecessary. Or to be more blunt, in the primary, it appears PA will be irrelevant. There was a chance to move the primary election up to February, but thanks to those in Harrisburg, even Governor Rendell was on both sides of the argument, ours will not take place until April. If history is any indicator the nominee will have been chosen.

One comment concerning primary elections. Here in northeast Pennsylvania, we have a local radio talk show host, Steve Corbett, who is a registered independent. He has railed against the unfairness that Pennsylvania does not allow him to vote in the primary. That the big bad stringent state does not permit him and other independents to participate in the process. Well, I like Steve and say this with the utmost respect — tough.

Steve, it is not the state that is forbidding, it is the choice to register as an independent that limits one’s voting opportunities. If you or any individual chooses not to support a party, then you should not vote in that party’s primary.

Personally, I am strongly opposed to open primaries. The primary process is set up so that members of a particular party nominate a candidate to represent their party. Why should someone who does not share an ideology want to vote or be permitted to vote in a primary. In my opinion they should not.

An open primary allows the opposing party to unjustly effect the outcome of the other party. For example, let us say that Hilary Clinton has the lock on the the nomination — there is no way, no how she is going to lose. Let’s make this example even more absurd and say that every other democratic candidate has dropped out.

In my example, let us also say that on the republican side, there remains a full slate of candidates. If every state had an open primary, or permitted independents to choose a party on election day, what is to stop all the democrats or democrat leaning independents to go into the polls and cast a vote for a third or fourth tier candidate? One who has no chance in the general election. So now the democrats have influenced the republican nominating process. They have now corrupted and co-opted the general election. Is this proper? Is this just? Of course not!

Can you imagine if the Republicans were to hypothetically do the same thing? The democrats, from the pages of the New York Times, will yell voter fraud and election thievery.

If you choose to be independent that is your right and I applaud you. However, grow up and don’t complain because you can’t vote in the democratic or republican primary. The choice is yours. If you more closely identify with one of the major parties, change your registration and work to get the candidate that best represents your views elected to office.

Your party affiliation or lack thereof is your choice, it is not the government, it is not the party, nor is it the process that is excluding you from voting — it is you excluding yourself.

Joe Leonardi


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Filed under Conservative, Democrat, Democratic, Election, Fred Thompson, hagel, Liberal, Northeast Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Reagan, Republican, Steve Corbett

A Challenge

“In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting, and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words, his position becomes absolutely contemptible.”
Theodore Roosevelt

A Challenge
by: Joe Leonardi

I started wondering today; Why is it that our Armed Forces are stretched so thin? Why have we had to lower standards and increase the age limit to get people to join the different branches? Why aren’t there more people serving today? With all the brash young Republicans telling us how right the President is, I would think there would be a rush to join the military. But, alas there isn’t. Again I ask why?

Anyone who has looked at this site, worked on my campaign or met me in person is well aware I am very disappointed in the direction the Republican party has gone and where I see it going. I put the demise of my beloved GOP squarely on the shoulders of the Neo-Cons. I have previously discussed this in Warning Conservative Republicans.

Unfortunately many Republicans under thirty only heard about, read or saw video of Ronald Reagan. Most of this group has been weaned into political life with the Neo-Cons defining the Republican Party. President Reagan spent the bulk of his national political life bucking the Rockefeller Republicans. It took forty years from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan for conservatism to finally emerge as the definition of Republican. Today, my fellow Conservatives, we are once again in a battle for the heart of our Party. Not against the Rockefeller Republicans, there are still a few out there, but against the Neo-Cons.

The founders of the Neo-Con movement are former Democrats/Socialist who couldn’t find a home in the Democratic Party. They drifted over to the Republican Party and methodically ingrained themselves into the power structure of today’s GOP. They are individuals who want to use the military at the drop of a hat, but have never served a day in uniform. They are individuals who never knew what a real days work was, they spend there lives with their heads buried in books and the world of theory. They are never the doers.

The young Republicans are only following the example of those that lead the party today. George W. Bush’s influential father placed him in the Guard. And let’s be honest, just because the Guard is actively deployed today, that was not the case during Vietnam. The Guard was an almost sure way to avoid going to war. Dick Cheney received deferment after deferment because he had more important things to do. And of course Bush family spokesperson, Rush Limbaugh, had the biggest joke condition of them all to avoid service. So it is only natural that today’s young Republicans expect others to fight their battles. They have not been raised by the examples of leaders who demonstrate bravery.

Although I don’t fault our young Republicans, I do challenge them. They yell and scream Madison Avenue catch phrases like “cut and run”, instead of taking definitive action. Throughout our history just wars have brought out the privileged class to serve. In World War I, President Theodore Roosevelt’s sons served. World War II had the Kennedy’s, George H.W. Bush and Franklin Roosevelt’s sons all in the military. Where is the rush today to sign up and join the battle. President Bush’s nephew has joined the Naval Reserve, honorable but why not get right to active duty? How many serving in Iraq bear the name Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh or Hannity. I remember over the summer Hannity had is nephew working for him. Why didn’t he encourage him to join the Armed Forces? Come to think of it, why didn’t Hannity join? He may have a been a year or two too old, but I’m sure the military could have made an exception for him. Do I have to answer? I don’t think so.

Before all you self-righteous, young Republicans or Neo-Cons blog or say another derogatory comment about a real military hero like Senator Chuck Hagel — a man who didn’t hide behind trumped up deferments, bogus physical ailments or an influential daddy, but answered his country’s call —- take me up on this challenge. If you are between 18 and 35 years old, you believe that to leave Iraq is to “cut and run”, that President Bush’s policies in the mideast are just, Iraq was a real threat to U.S. security and sovereignty and more troops are the answer —- Get off your @$$ and get down to your local recruiting office, join the Armed Forces and become part of the surge you so feverently champion.

It is time to grow up and stop letting others fight your battles. It may be cliché but —-
                            PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

Joe Leonardi


Filed under cheney, Chuck Hagel, Conservative, hagel, Iraq, NeoCon, President, President Bush, Reagan, Republican, Rush Limbaugh, surge, Veterans, War, White House, Young Republicans

The Taunts of a Coward

“Never trust a draft dodger.”
Rush Limbaugh, 1993

The Taunts of a Coward
by: Joe Leonardi

I am listening to the once conservative, talk show host, turned Presidential spokesperson Rush Limbaugh (Wednesday 3/28/07). In the first hour of today’s show he is dutifully attacking Senator Charles Hagel. He didn’t spend a lot of time on him, but in the few minutes he did — he gave away his duplicity. His tirade against Senator Hagel, centered around claims that the Senator must have forgotten September 11th. And therein, my friends, lies the rub. Rush is bringing out the tried and true, implying and insinuating a connection between Iraq and the terror attacks on our country. He invoked 9/11 at least ten times. During this tirade he kept reiterating that we are at war against “Muslims”, I guess someone on his staff finally penetrated his purported drugged induced deafness; because after about the third time he corrected it to “Militant Muslims.”

It has been said before, however, obviously it bears repeating. Saddam didn’t have anything to do with September 11th. There was no connection, 9/11 was not used in our testimony to the U.N., there was no Saddam-Al Qaeda collaboration. Our attack was a predetermined design by Neo-Cons from the think tank, The Project for a New American Century. Out of power after Bush 41, this group attempted to convince President Clinton to attack Saddam. After President George W. Bush assumed the Presidency many from this think tank moved into his administration. Most notable, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Paul O’Neil, former Treasury Secretary, outlines many of the behind the scenes goings on in his book; The Price of Loyalty:…. O’Neil’s book wasn’t what convinced me that this misguided war was a predetermined, done deal looking for justification. The convincing factor was the Nightline episode interviewing members of the PNAC think tank. The information about the plan to oust Saddam came straight from the horses’ mouths. See my column, “Warning Conservative Republicans.”

Mr. Limbaugh went on to claim that anyone against the war is linguini spined. I get such a kick out of El Rushbo when he goes on this particular condemnation. There is nothing better than a coward calling people out. Rush avoided the war of his generation, Vietnam, due to an inactive pilonidal cyst. I remember when someone first told me this, I fell on the floor laughing. You see, I too have an inactive pilonidal cyst. I learned about it during my admission physical into the United States Navy. I was concerned it was going to disqualify me and I asked the doctor about it. His words, which stuck in my head, are what made me laugh so hard when I heard about Rush. The Doc said, ‘no, it’s nothing, but if your family had pull, this would have gotten you out of the draft during ‘nam.’   Rush you linguine spined, miserable, wussy coward. You continue to deride true heroes that served in the war your influential Daddy kept you out of. Please, just shut up!

Few true conservatives have inwardly been supportive of this administration. All the gains made in the forty years it took us to finally get a conservative in office have been destroyed in the last six years. We finally have a reasonable, conservative voice in Chuck Hagel. And if you listen to the Senator, the bulk of his criticism has been on the mishandling of the war. The kicker is he has been correct — while those in the administration have been wrong. In June of 2005 Vice President Cheney said “that the insurgency is in it’s last throes” and predicted that the fighting will end before the Bush administration leaves office. However, Senator Hagel said in August of 2005 that “the United States is getting more bogged down in Iraq.”  Well a year and half later who’s right?

Mr. Hagel went against his party in this vote. I believe he took such bold action to send a message to not only the administration, but to the American people, that we must start being realistic about getting out of Iraq. Senator Hagel will be mercilessly torn apart by White House hatchetmen Limbaugh and Hannity, but it doesn’t matter, because the time for rhetoric is over. It is urgent now that austere people take action and start looking for serious solutions.

If President Hagel ever wants to get in Rush’s good graces — all he will have to do is invite him to the White House and put him up in the Lincoln Bedroom. It worked for the Bush’s.

Joe Leonardi


Filed under Chuck Hagel, Conservative, hagel, Iraq, NeoCon, President Bush, Republican, Rush Limbaugh, War

President Chuck Hagel ?

“Hagel is criticized for what many see as grandstanding on the Iraq war, but his critique of the problems we face there has been more right than wrong since our forces landed there.” “He may be right or wrong on Iraq, but no one can question his base conservatism or his devotion to a strong United States.”
American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene, quote from the Washington Times

“Beware those who cry for war the loudest, for they are those who have never known the horrors of combat.”
Marine Warrant Officer I served with.

President Chuck Hagel?
By: Joe Leonardi

Senator Chuck Hagel has left the door open to enter the Presidential primary free-for-all. The Senator’s non-announcement, announcement not with standing — his record, on most issues, is one I agree with. One glaring disagreement is his record on immigration which, to me, is abysmal. However, his epiphany concerning Iraq demonstrates how reasonable people now look at the war and his opposition to President Bush’s Blunder can influence me to overlook our difference on immigration.

Though I remain excited about Senator Thompson’s possible entry into the presidential primary, with the four year mark of our involvement in Iraq approaching, I think the person to go with may very well be Senator Chuck Hagel. The moment is RIGHT for a Republican who is not afraid to tell the President; enough is enough!

On Dante Scala; a political science professor at Saint Anselm College is quoted as asking “If you’re that dead set against Bush and the war, why wouldn’t you just give to a Democrat? ” Well Mr. Scala, because there are Republicans out here whose brains still function! We want a conservative Republican who has enough sense to question the sending our young men and women to a war zone just because President Bush is too egocentric to admit he made a mistake. We Conservative Republicans are tired of being led by a President who has squandered our trust and faith and has demonstrated that he is not a Ronald Reagan, movement conservative.

I recall an old saying in my Navy days, “Republicans want a large military but don’t want to use it. Democrats want a small military but want to sent it everywhere.” Sound familiar? This is exactly what President Bush has done.

Instead of using his “political capital” to advance conservative ideals and actions, he tossed said capital out the window in a failed effort to get John Bolton confirmed to the U.N. Then, what little capital remained famously went into the Harriet Miers fiasco. No Mr. Scala genuine conservatives, not the neo-cons who have co-opted our party, would welcome a Republican that does more than claim to be a conservative. (just a side note, can you ever imagine a true leader like President Reagan publicly stating he has political capital and now he’s ‘gonna spend it?’ )

There is a misconception that the Republican base strongly supports the president on Iraq. If that were the case Republicans would have held the Senate and the House. The truth is that most middle American Republicans do not support the President’s Iraq policy. I know, I ran for Congress and I met with and talked to over twenty thousand people, most of them Republican. Many angrily bent my ear relating their disgust for President Bush and how they were going to show it by either voting against Senator Rick Santorum or not voting in the Senate race at all. We all saw what happened; former Senator Santorum, is currently a Fox news contributor and Bobby Casey is now Senator Robert Casey.

If the beltway insiders keep ignoring the world outside D.C. and hold steadfast that most Republicans are on President Bush’s side, we are going to loose more than the White House in 2008. Senator Chuck Hagel may be what the Republicans need and perhaps President Charles Hagel can lead Republicans back to conservatism.

Joe Leonardi


Filed under Chuck Hagel, Conservative, Election, Fred Thompson, hagel, Iraq, NeoCon, President, Primary, Reagan, Republican, Veterans, War