After Governor Palin's endorsement of Carly Fiorina last week and my subsequent reaction to Chuck DeVore's reaction, I now totally understand her rational for making the decision she did. I don't believe there was just one reason for coming to the conclusion she came to, but a possibility is that perhaps DeVore had expressed this sentiment to her:
I have spent a great deal of time going back and forth with DeVore supporters about the definition of the word "existential." YES I know what existential means. Considering the root of the word is "exist" I don't however, understand their point.
How is Al Qaeda not an "existential threat?" In 2003 it was estimated that over eighty percent of the Islamic mosques within the United States were under Wahhabi control. Wahhabism being the branch of Saudi based Islam that Osama bin Laden grew up in and tried to spread via his loose organization known as Al Qaeda. While "Al Qaeda" is simply translated to mean "the base," it is not necessarily one core establishment. I tend to be of the belief that any radical jihadist can commit an act of terror in the name of Al Qaeda, yet they are nothing more than adherents to the tenets of the radical version of their religion.
Put simply, it is a threat and Chuck DeVore had the wrong answer. If nothing else, it proves a lack of judgment from him, yet again.
DeVore's bad answers and irresponsible staff aren't the real problem however. There is a bigger issue and Sarah Palin knows it. All one needs to do is look at the poll numbers in California to realize that Tom Campbell could very possibly take the GOP nomination to go against Barbara Boxer in November.
Here is a roundup of the latest poll numbers in California from Real Clear Politics.
Tom Campbell is currently up an average of +6 points in all the polls. If those numbers do not shift by June 8th, Campbell will win the primary and all this bickering between DeVore and Fiorina camps will be for nothing. As a Conservative, as a Californian, as a San Diegan that possibility frightens me. Not only is Tom Campbell way more left-leaning than I prefer for my candidates on issues like taxes, abortion, and the second amendment, but he also has some connections that are deeply troubling. Steve Richmond from Red County wrote an article titled "Tom Campbell's Jihadist Friends," ...of all things. In it he writes:
There has been much discussion recently about U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell’s views on the Middle East. While I recognize the interest from political insiders about what this means in terms of the horserace for the U.S. Senate seat, far more concerning to all Californians – and especially to veterans – should be Tom Campbell’s relationship with individuals who have known ties to terrorist organizations.
Members of the United States Senate are deeply engaged in many facets of our nation’s security. From military appropriations to overseeing the intelligence community, our representatives in Washington make critical decisions about the safety of our nation each and every day.
We cannot afford to have a question mark – much less someone who has the support of individuals with terrorist ties – defending our national security as a member of the U.S. Senate. Doing so would be devastating to the stability of the Middle East and in turn the security of the United States.
Tom Campbell has stated publicly on many occasions that he has a relationship with Sami Al-Arian – an individual with known ties to the Islamic Jihad who pled guilty to conspiring with a terrorist organization as early as the late 1980s. Al-Arian donated to Campbell’s 2000 campaign in an effort to buy influence in Washington to repeal provisions of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism And Effective Death Penalty Act.
In fact, the relationship Campbell developed with Al-Arian was so strong that Campbell intervened in a legal matter on behalf of Al-Arian’s family in 2000. Later, when Al-Arian was being fired by the University of South Florida as a result of his inflammatory comments and questionable connections, Campbell wrote a letter on his behalf protesting the university’s action – despite charges that Al-Arian was aiding and abetting terrorists.
Another $1,000 donor to Campbell’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign was American Muslim Council member Abdurahman Alamoudi. After Alamoudi spoke out in support of terrorist organizations, Campbell refused to return the money, saying that he felt comfortable with Alamoudi’s position. In contrast, George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton returned contributions they had received from Alamoudi and related parties.
In 2003, Alamoudi was caught carrying $340,000 in cash through an airport. When searched, authorities found that his electronic organizer held the names of six people who had been linked to al-Qaida financing. Alamoudi was brought to trial and pled guilty to immigration fraud and illegal business dealings with Libya. He also confessed to playing a part in an unsuccessful assassination plot on Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah. The plotters had hoped to destabilize Saudi Arabia with the prince’s death. And in 2005, authorities discovered that Alamoudi had also helped raise money for al-Qaida in the United States.
The list goes on. On February 13, 2000, Muthanna Al-Hanooti of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) contributed $2,000 to Campbell’s Senate campaign. Eight years later, Al-Hanooti was arrested for spying on the U.S. Congress for Saddam Hussein. Hanooti had even attempted to broker a secret deal with members of Congress to stop the war in Iraq from happening.
Nehad Awad, the current executive director of CAIR, contributed $2,000 dollars to Campbell’s Senate campaign in 2000. Awad and his group have been criticized for supporting both Hamas and other radical violence by Muslim extremists.
One thing is clear: Campbell’s relationship with Sami Al-Arian was not an isolated one. Given Campbell’s recorded ties to other such extremists, Californians can only wonder if Al-Arian, Alamoudi, Al-Hanooti and Awad represent only the tip of the iceberg.
Although he has ardently defended himself on these issues, Tom Campbell has not denounced these individuals or his relationship with them. Furthermore, his explanations have been inconsistent and leave the door open to further question.
Californians are rightfully concerned about what this means not only for Campbell’s integrity as a candidate, but also his judgment and his willingness to defend our country’s national security as a member of the United States Senate.
These are questions that veterans, Californians and all Americans deserve to have answered before heading to the ballot box on Election Day.
It's pretty clear that Tom Campbell doesn't fit the bill when it comes to protecting the country from jihadist threats. Depending on which version of the dictionary your looking in, Chuck DeVore's position is still open for debate. Carly Fiorina however, is very clear in where she stands in regards to the nation's security. Her public statement on "Protecting America" via her campaign site:
“There are thousands of men and women who are serving our country overseas and here at home so that we can enjoy the privilege of pursuing life, liberty and happiness…They are what makes this country great and makes me proud to be an American.” – Carly Fiorina
Government’s first and foremost priority is to protect its citizens. That means defending our nation from threats of all kinds, both domestic and foreign. Carly strongly opposes trying foreign terrorists in civilian court, and she also opposes closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. These enemy combatants have not earned the right to protections under the U.S. Constitution and should not be given special treatment for political reasons.
As a U.S. senator, Carly will also make it her priority to stand with our nation’s allies, and especially to defend the State of Israel. Carly will consistently protect and uphold the nation’s right to self-defense. She also supports implementing stronger sanctions against Iran to help stop it from aiding terrorists and ensure it is not making nuclear weapons.
Carly also views defeating the terrorist threat in Afghanistan as an imperative that requires military commitment, economic development and diplomatic energy. To achieve victory, it is critically important to continue listening to our commanders on the ground and to stay until our job is done.
UPDATE: Keep in mind that Chuck DeVore is currently registering 10-14 percentage points in the polls. If he were to hypothetically drop out and shift his support to Fiorina, that would wipe out Campbell's lead entirely. However, that would take leadership on DeVore's part and after the "sheepdog" swipe he allowed last week, I am not holding my breath.