Skip to comments.Lawmaker: Put US interests 1st (Old, but great article on Duncan Hunter)
Posted on 04/20/2007 8:19:32 PM PDT by Ultra Sonic 007
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is a big guy. He stands about 6 feet 4 inches with a broad, open face and an easy, engaging smile that any politician would envy.
Rep. Hunter, 49, also has the bent nose of a brawler, and when it comes to international trade and foreign affairs, he believes in carrying a big stick, in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt.
""I believe in power projection. I believe in the politics of engagement,'' he said in a recent interview on Capitol Hill.
Nowhere is Rep. Hunter more engaged than in the battle over the future of an old Navy yard in Long Beach, Calif. China Ocean Shipping Co. (Cosco), the national shipping line of the People's Republic of China, wanted to lease the facility and use for its cargo operations.
Although those plans recently were put on hold - preservationists stopped the deal to protect historic buildings on the property - Rep. Hunter makes it clear he doesn't think much of Cosco, or its plans.
Indeed, he views the company as little more than an extension of China's government, the same government he accuses of shipping missile technology to Iran and smuggling automatic weapons to L.A. gangs. That's why he is pushing a legislative rider in Congress that would prevent Cosco from going forward with its plans at the Navy yard, now or in the future.
Cosco's deal in Long Beach is not, in Rep. Hunter's view, a simple commercial matter involving civilian transportation, an argument the company has made recently in defending itself. It's a question, he believes, of giving Beijing expanded geopolitical reach under the guise of its government- owned ship line. And Rep. Hunter wants to stop it before it starts.
""The Chinese central government has not been a responsible party with respect to moving weapons,'' he said. Last year, a cache of guns was illegally shipped to the United States aboard a Cosco vessel.
Even if the FBI and the U.S. Customs Service exercised greater surveillance of the container yard Cosco wants to operate, a step some have suggested, Beijing's military leaders could still use the ship line to transport weapons and material that would harm U.S. interests, he believes.
""I've had three security briefings on this,'' he said. ""The point is that Cosco will always have plausible deniability.''
This is not the first time Rep. Hunter has used his legislative position in Congress to try to stop or stall U.S. economic integration with other nations. He has opposed relaxation of controls on U.S. exports of high technology. He also has been a staunch backer of subsidies for U.S.-flag ocean carriers and is among a group of leading Republicans opposing changes to transportation laws that protect domestic shipping for U.S. carriers.
A leading opponent of Nafta and the World Trade Organization, Rep. Hunter co-chairs the bipartisan Fair Trade Caucus with Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio. Together they are pressing legislation this year that would force renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico.
""I believe in protecting American jobs, not trade that's negative for the United States,'' Rep. Hunter says bluntly. All arguments aside, he says his positions - ""protectionist'' and ""xenophobe'' are labels other people give him - just boil down to gut belief.
After Army service in Vietnam (1969-1971), Rep. Hunter went to law school at Western State University. First elected to Congress as an upset winner in the 1980 Reagan landslide, he represents the 52nd District of California, which encompasses the suburbs of San Diego in the West to the Arizona state line in the East.
Bounded to the South by the long, open border with Mexico, his district is a wide-open back door to America for thousands of undocumented immigrants annually. He has called for construction of a fence on the border with Mexico and more use of military assets to control illegal crossings. And he has long fought for more funding for border patrol officers.
""He hates Mexico,'' fellow San Diego Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., said last year after Rep. Hunter blocked a bid by Rep. Filner to win congressional approval to revive a small railroad near the border. The rail line would have run from San Diego's port into Tijuana and then along the Mexican side of the border, re-entering the United States near El Centro, a regional rail hub in Rep. Hunter's district.
Rep. Hunter bristles at any suggestion that he dislikes Mexico. He points out that he practiced law in a ""barrio'' for four years before running for Congress. Good relations with Hispanics, who comprise 20 percent of his district, helped get him elected, he says.
He was re-elected in 1996 with 65 percent of the vote after spending $632, 300. Approximately $1 of every $9 Rep. Hunter raises come from defense industry PACs.
The Almanac of American Politics describes Rep. Hunter as probably the single House member whose views most closely resemble those of nativist 1996 presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and the late former Sen. Robert Taft, who sponsored the Depression-era Taft-Hartley tariffs.
Said one senior official at the Maritime Administration: ""He's a total " Buy American, Love America' type . . . ...That's his deal. That's the problem with Cosco.''
There is a political percentage for Republicans in criticizing Cosco because of the Clinton administration's Asian campaign-money scandal. But he also attacks the company because he can. Cosco wants to lease a former Navy yard. That gives Rep. Hunter an opening to weigh in on the deal and a chance to say no.
Although not among the Republican leadership clique surrounding House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Hunter nonetheless has made his mark as a rising member of the National Security Committee, where he chairs a subcommittee and has worked hard over the years to protect San Diego's Navy operations from base closures.
""If you strip away the veneer, essentially you have one government giving to another government a large part of a former Navy base,'' he said.
But not if he can stop it.
A shame that even LexisNexis doesn't turn up a lot of articles on Hunter.
"I believe in power projection. I believe in the politics of engagement."
"The Chinese central government has not been a responsible party with respect to moving weapons."
"I believe in protecting American jobs, not trade that's negative for the United States."
"If you strip away the veneer, essentially you have one government giving to another government a large part of a former Navy base."
No crap to cut through, no tapdancing. This man's consistency is astonishing.
I’m a student at UAB. I get it for free. :3
Take full advantage. All I know about DH is that he’s a San Diego-area Congressman. Money, folks! Money!
[ping to my favorite San Diegan]
Teach us, please.
They guy is consistent.
I wonder why the Rudy bots don’t dig back in Hunter’s past LOL
Official Hunter channel on YouTube
Iraq Resolution Speech (New Audio Edit)
Audio Interview 4-16-07 Pt. 1 (Immigration)
Audio Interview 4-16-07 Pt. 2 (Economy)
Audio Interview 4-16-07 Pt. 3 (Campaign)
Situation Room Clip
Message To Conservatives 4-4-07
Right to Life Rally
Lets Build This Fence
Pro Life News Interview
Glenn Beck Interview
Glenn Beck II
Memorial Day 06 Audio Link (long)
Podcast Interview (Gun Rights Discussed)
Keep up the good work, gents.
I really like the fact that Hunter is genuinely patriotic. Most of the candidates for president are just trying to advance their own careers, while Duncan is running for president because he truly wants to serve his country.
I think that if he gets elected, he would make patriotism cool again, kind of like Reagan did.
Nice article, Ultra! Thanks. Very timely today with all the talk of China poisoning their own food and OURS!