Rep Ron Kind’s recent newspaper column started with “Recently I had the opportunity to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle on a trip to the Middle East…” which I read with great interest having already learned about this trip from other sources. Where, oh where, is the late great Paul Harvey with the Rest of the Story? (Paul Harvey Aurandt, better known as Paul Harvey, 1918-2009, was a conservative news commentator on the ABC Radio Network and best known for his Rest of the Story segment.)
A news release from Speaker Pelosi’s office more blatantly called it “a bipartisan Congressional delegation” but can a nine member Congressional delegation with eight members from one party and only one token member from the other be truly called “bipartisan”? I picture a nine member bipartisan delegation having five from the majority party and four from the minority; or even a six-three split would be acceptable. Since the President is constitutionally responsible for foreign policy, this might have been properly called a Democratic boondoggle with a token Republican along for cover.
Then, we need to more closely look beyond partisanship and at the Congressional Committees represented. Along with the Speaker of the House, other travelers included the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee who was the lone Republican. There were three House Committee Chairmen (Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, & Select Committee on Intelligence), the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security, two members of the Armed Services Committee, and Rep Ron Kind from the Ways and Means Committee. Congressmen from the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Security, and maybe even Intelligence Committees are probably justified for such a fact finding trip. The need for Rep Kind, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, is less obvious.
Rep Kind, in his column, commented negatively on the withdrawing of troops from Syria by President Trump. Other news sources have reported only 28 US troops were withdrawn from an area within Syria but we still have armed forces within that country. This issue touches on the bigger questions of the United States being the world’s police force and who is paying the bills – in both dollars and lives. I hope Rep Kind knows the facts, sees the big picture, and is not just repeating his party’s sometimes misleading talking points.
The question of timing for this trip for Rep Kind must be considered. About the same time Rep Kind apparently changed from one of eight uncertain Democrat Representatives to voting yes for the partisan-rigged impeachment inquiry to go forward, he suddenly gets invited to go on an overseas trip for unknown reasons. There must be more to this story! Maybe he will explain the justification (and timing).
I am certain the late Paul Harvey, with all his resources to get at the facts, would have had a more forceful and insightful rest of the story. My caution to my fellow citizens is look at the news of the day with an inquisitive mind and not be afraid to ask questions or check facts!