After a tour in Iraq, the last thing most soldiers would want to do is volunteer to be a target again. But that is exactly what Jim Engstrand is getting set to do.
It is an incredible irony that the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting to keep the people of those countries free while here in America we are steadily losing our freedoms to an ever encroaching federal government. While it is true that democracy in Iraq will never look like democracy in America, it is also true that democracy in America today bears little resemblance to what our founding fathers intended.
Jim Engstrand is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Minnesota Army National Guard, and has spent the last year in Iraq nurturing that fragile democracy. Now he seems ready to take on a much tougher task-teaching the US Congress what democracy means. Jim is soft spoken but serious in his belief that this country is headed down the wrong path under the leadership of Rep Pelosi, Sen Reid, and President Obama. His solution? Replace the radical-in-moderate's-clothing currently representing the 1st CD in southern Minnesota, Rep Tim Walz.
There are several good candidates in the 1st CD endorsement race, including Allen Quist, Randy Demmer and Jim Hagedorn. I've spoken with each of them, and I think each of them can clearly unseat Tim Walz. Having just meet Jim Engstrand, I couldn't in good conscience endorse him or publicly support him until I know more about him. But the thought of a combat veteran running against Tim Walz, well honestly it has me salivating. As a veteran, I am also excited about fellow vets running for office.
Liberals in Minnesota talk about the immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and CIA torture camps and all of that other anti-war nonsense. Yet they are quick to tout the military service of any candidate or elected official they have. Liberal bloggers never talked about the race between Ashwin Madia, former Marine and Iraq War vet, against Eric Paulsen in 2008 without calling him 'Our Brave Captain" or "Captain Madia". Steve Sarvi was constantly referred to as Sergeant Sarvi (even though his actual rank was Sergeant First Class), and of course Sergeant Major Tim Walz it the standard bearer for liberals who served in the military in Minnesota. In early January, criticizing Tim Walz was akin to treason as national liberal blogs slammed Allen Quist for calling Walz a radical. Why is criticizing Walz akin to treason? Because he served his country.
Tim Walz's military service has been his most celebrated talking point, his biggest vulnerability considering his exploitation of it, and the one sore point lacking among the field of candidates running for the 1st CD Republican endorsement. Jim Engstrand has to potential to change that.
Because of the military's restrictions on soldiers on active duty and politics, Engstrand was unable to do any campaigning while in Iraq. Now that he is back, look for that to change quickly.