Congr. Adam Kinzinger: U.S. Foreign Policy "in the toilet"

At a downtown fish market

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By Jim Bowman


Dec. 17 at a state Republican fund-raiser in Merchandise Mart Plaza, Congr. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL, Ottawa) played the Reagan card to good effect, invoking RR's "shining city on a hill" motif.

"A dark cloud" hung over the nation in November, 1979 (when Reagan used the phrase announcing his candidacy for president), Kinzinger said, acknowledging that he was two years old at the time. He cited the troubled aftermath of the Viet Nam War, inflation, and rising gas prices — though not Pres. Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech of earlier that year.

(I listened to that speech on a tiny TV in the back yard, myself without steady work but hustling pay checks with some modest success. I could swear I heard Carter say "malaise," and I know I rejected his pessimism, having voted for him, by the way. But transcripts such as this do not have the word.)

Kinzinger's talk came in the middle of a meet-and-greet in a room at Nick's Fishmarket. Gemütlichkeit abounded.

Ten years later, Kinzinger continued, Reagan revisited the concept in his farewell address, reiterating his "positive vision" for the country. Kinzinger fleshed that out in the present context, as in reference to the growing national debt. Last year's interest, he said, equaled the cost of "five Afghan wars."

To Republicans of this day, Kinzinger called for working toward the "self-actualizing of inner-city youth" and "going to the disenfranchised." In that he evoked another Reagan-era Republican, longtime congressman and then HUD secretary under Reagan, Jack Kemp — unless I am unduly influenced by my daily dose of the exemplary Larry Kudlow on CNBC.

The nation's foreign policy, said Kinzinger, who is on the House foreign relations committee, is "in the toilet." The GOP is "the last best hope for us in the world."

Very serious stuff for Nick's Fishmarket. He's a serious guy. At 35 he still flies, for the Air National Guard. He met us at the room entrance, shook hands. I must say, a friendly, likable guy.

He commended the "17- and 18-year-olds signing on" in the military,putting their lives on the line, "not knowing what they are fighting for" — "Why don't they?" a man asked — but Kinzinger kept on with his (larger) point, about having a sense of history and of what's at stake for the nation.

The young men put their lives on the line, elected officials have only their careers to lose, he said, speaking up for a foreign policy that leaves "enemies that know never to touch us and our allies," he said. "I envision a renewed America."

It was a serious, short talk that gave a taste of how he would go over from the stump. He is one of those young men who signed up, for one thing. He's a John F. Kennedy type, it looks from here.

Email: Twitter: @BlitheSp

Reader Comments

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Bill D  

Posted: December 24th, 2013 11:51 AM

Not excusing anything, Unfortunately. And Merry Christmas to you and yours.


Posted: December 24th, 2013 11:40 AM

@BD. Alright, I give up. I acknowledge that Bush was a doofus - few "Conservatives" think otherwise - but only a few (Obama and yourself) have not moved on from those mistakes and are focusing, finally, on Obama and HIS false "statements" and "mistakes." There is absolute merit to addressing historical events (Clintons, Bush), but your genuine intellect and talent are wasted by using the past as an excuse for today's problems. Sincerely, Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 24th, 2013 10:56 AM

Gosh, pal, I don't know. Why would Bush and Cheney send our soldiers into a war with unarmored retrofitted landing craft for transportation and Humvees so poorly armored that for more than a year many soldiers and their families paid for armoring out of their own pockets? You can look up the stories on this yourself.


Posted: December 24th, 2013 10:40 AM

@JD - wasn't Clinton the Prez FOR 6 YEARS when this occurred in 1998? Could you please provide a non-partisan link, though, to your $3.2B info? And, if this "security problem" was known, why would Obama/Hillary send Amb Stevens to Benghazi in the first place? Or were they simply counting on a lie like the "provoked by a video!" to bail them out? Yes, I'm confused, due to the "evil Republicans" and that $3.2B matter - why would Obama/Hillary send Stevens there without additional security?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 24th, 2013 12:21 AM

Well, "unfortunately, Hillary DID "vote for that Iraq invasion." Which is why I voted for her 2008 Democratic primary opponent. "Yep." And, pal, it wasn't the Democrats that drove the denial of a bipartisan committee recommendation to spend $3.2 billion on hardening numerous U.S. Embassies around the world inn the wake of the 1998 terror attacks and later 911. It was the Republicans. "Yep."


Posted: December 23rd, 2013 10:34 PM

@BDwyer - yeah, how IS that "reset" going for Obama right now? I mean, with the help of the NSA and their illegally eavesdropping on our European should be going just great now, right? Can we label this another "achievement" of Obama's - hanging next to the Nobel that he unbelievably accepted? What's next? Any more US Ambassadors that Ms. Rice/Clinton will not worry about? Or, better yet, "blame" on an unknown video? Didn't Hillary vote for that Iraq invasion? Yep.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 23rd, 2013 9:21 PM

Jim, did Cong. Kinzer have any comment about what waste receptacle American foreign policy was in 2002, after the Bush administration invaded a country that had nothing to do with the 911 attacks, under false presences, while simultaneously doing it's utmost to alienate half of Europe?

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