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Tags: Ricardo Sanchez

Where’s Sanchez?



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Over on the home page, I take a look at retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez – campaigning as “Ric” Sanchez — in Texas’ Senate race. Despite a lot of optimistic headlines when he debuted in the race, he’s been rather quiet since then:

Despite all the fanfare, Sanchez has stumbled coming out of the gate, and the quiet debut doesn’t offer many signs that he’ll be the man to turn around Texas Democrats’ fortunes. His fundraising is pretty weak, considering the costs of running in Texas; in his first quarter as candidate, he raised about $160,000. (In the 2008 cycle, incumbent Republican senator John Cornyn raised $19.3 million and spent $18.9 million.) By contrast, on the Republican side, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz raised about $800,000 in his first quarter and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is putting more than $2 million of his own money into his campaign coffers. In Sanchez’s first quarterly report with the FEC, $9,000 of the $11,657 he spent in the quarter was to Integrity, a St. Louis tech company, for “website” expenses.

So far, Sanchez’s online effort is a nonentity, at least compared to those of his Republican rivals: 576 people like Sanchez’s Facebook page; for Ted Cruz, the total is 61,739. Sanchez has a Twitter account with one tweet, from June 7, and 46 followers. The Cruz campaign account has sent out 915 messages and has 14,203 followers. Sanchez’s campaign YouTube account has no videos posted yet. As of July 25, the last “news item” on hiscampaign website is dated June 8.

Needless to say, when I see the headline “Sanchez Debut Fizzles” I cringe, but that’s just my instincts as a Jets fan.

Tags: Ricardo Sanchez , Ted Cruz , Tom Leppert

Ricardo Sanchez, Still Instantly Associated With ‘Abu Ghraib’



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Somehow, I suspect this is not the way Texas Democrats would like articles about their likely 2012 U.S. Senate candidate to begin:

Former Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who oversaw coalition forces in Iraq before retiring in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, is running for Senate in Texas as a Democrat.

Two Democratic sources with direct knowledge of Sanchez’s plans said he will announce his run Wednesday on Facebook, then file campaign paperwork in San Antonio. The sources would speak only on condition of anonymity before the announcement.

Oh, sure, the Senate race in Texas will probably be dominated by issues like jobs, the economy, gas prices, drilling on and off shore, immigration, taxes, spending, etc. But the Democrats are attempting to rebrand a figure they pretty vehemently labeled a villain less than a decade ago. That effect may linger, even if we suspect that most members of the party are, as Allahpundit eloquently puts it, “ridiculous frauds whose standards of behavior turn entirely on the party identification of the president.”

Or the Senate candidate.

Tags: Ricardo Sanchez

Texas Democrats’ General Confusion - Or Perhaps Lt. Gen. Confusion



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The first Morning Jolt of the week features a look at Rand Paul’s compromise talk and a famous forensic obstetrician branches out into parasitology, but a bit more on the surprise news of Ricardo Sanchez:

Maybe Texas Democrats Meant to Run Former CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez

A bunch of conservative bloggers, including myself, noted the rumor that Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of coalition forces in Iraq, could end up running for Senate in Texas as a Democrat.

Ed Driscoll tries to get his head around a stunning about-face: “In 2004, the New York Times, perhaps the chief house organ of Democrat politics, ran 32 consecutive front page stories on the incident at Abu Ghraib, establishing during that election year that this was a very, verybad thing. (The more recent “Obama Ghraib” incident in Afghanistan? Not so much, of course.) But that hasn’t stopped  the Democrats from apparently wanting to, as Bryan Preston writes at the Tatler, “run the highest ranking officer who was connected to Abu Ghraib, whom the Army found to be derelict in his duties”, for the US Senate.”

Glenn Reynolds adds, “It’s like they never cared about this stuff except insofar as they could score cheap partisan points. Gobsmackingly vile. Various readers expect to see Andrew Sullivan, Josh Marshall, etc. flacking for this guy. Well, stay tuned.”

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey tries to put the latest shift in the other dramatic 180 degree turns in Democrats’ thinking on matters of war: “I swear, sometimes it is difficult to keep up with progressives and Democrats.  First they demand an exit from Iraq, and then the most progressive administration in decades starts signaling that they want to stay in Iraq longer than George Bush did.  Speaking of Bush, remember when the Left screamed about the “imperial Presidency” because Bush went to war in Iraq without sufficient consultation with Congress?  Their champion in 2008, Barack Obama, took us to war in Libya without any consultation with Congress in 2011.  Not only that, but the White House openly scoffed at the idea that Congressional approval was necessary at all.”

Finally, Moe Lane brings the fury: “ If Sanchez runs as a Democrat, the groups that would have been most likely to push for further investigation at this late date – the antiwar Left – will not be interested in pursuing the issue.  The antiwar Left will, in fact, enthusiastically support the man who was their head devil in their designated Hell on Earth… because to do otherwise would be to show some elementary sense of self-worth and dignity, and the antiwar Left has neither. So – when your Democratic masters get around to picking your candidate for you – go ahead and endorse Sanchez, ye progressives. Get on the floor and lick those boots.  Not that Sanchez will win, anyway; 2012 will be a bad year for a Democrat in Texas.  But it’s always fun to watch the antiwar movement futilely beat its own ‘principles’ to death on command for the benefit of their masters. You’d think that it’d get old eventually, but no… [But] we cannot allow the Democrats to get away with encouraging the aforementioned smears without consequences.  The Left fund-raised on Abu Ghraib; in fact, it probably still does.  They must be forced to either stay consistent to their past positions, or else publicly admit that they never believed in those positions in the first place.

As a Jets fan, I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to guys named Sanchez.

Tags: Ricardo Sanchez

Will Liberals Learn to Love Ricardo Sanchez?



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Democrats think they have a candidate who can win Texas’ open Senate seat: Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.

Democrats appear to have recruited retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas, setting the stage for the party to field a well-known candidate in the 2012 race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, a Democrat, confirmed that Democratic Senate campaign chief Patty Murray, D-Wash., was referring to Sanchez on Thursday when she said Democrats were close to announcing a candidate in Texas.

Sanchez, reached by phone at his San Antonio home, asked where the reports of a Senate run came from and then said, “I can neither confirm nor deny.”

Sanchez, the former top military commander in Iraq who was left under a cloud from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, would not discuss the Senate race.

As far as your usual Senate candidates go, Sanchez will indeed have a more interesting life story and resume: rising from humble roots, one of the top ROTC students in the nation, platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne, led his mechanized brigade to Basra in Desert Storm, director of operations of Southern Command, and of course, commander of Coalition Ground Forces in Iraq. While he led the military effort, Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed and Saddam Hussein was captured.

But sooner or later, Sanchez will have to take stands on the usual domestic, economic, and social issues in what remains a very conservative state, where Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in seventeen years. So Sanchez will either become something akin to Zell Miller, a Democrat who is apostate on so many issues that his own party’s grassroots outside the state can’t stand him (and conservatives make him their favorite member of the opposition), or he’ll have to try to sell liberalism in Texas — in a year when the top of the ticket is Barack Obama, no less. Already, he is emphasizing that he’s going to be more to the right than the average Democrat:

“I would describe myself as during my military career as supporting the president and the Constitution,” Sanchez said. “After the military, I decided that socially, I’m a progressive, a fiscal conservative and a strong supporter, obviously, of national defense.”

Then, of course, there’s Abu Gharib. As Beltway Whispers notes at Red State, some of the Democratic senators who are hailing him as a candidate now were among those furiously denouncing him during the prison abuse scandal:

Senator Patty Murray, who steers the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm and vaguely teased reporters earlier this week of a top Texas recruit, said in 2004 that all those responsible for Abu Ghraib — no matter where they fell in the chain of command — must be held to account for their actions.

“These actions are a disservice to the thousands of American soldiers in the region who serve us honorably each and every day, and, sadly, are likely to make their efforts to calm a troubled region even harder,” Murray said of the controversy.

When former President George Bush tapped then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to fill the nation’s top law enforcement post, Murray joined Senator Maria Cantwell in opposing the nomination over his green-lighting of Sanchez’s interrogation techniques.

In a 2004 statement, Senator Patrick Leahy accused Sanchez of authorizing “the use of techniques that were contrary to both U.S. military manuals but also international law.” “Given this incredible overstepping of bounds, I find it incredible that the reports generated thus far have not recommended punishment of any kind for high-level officials,” he added.

Of course, hypocrisy comes as easily and naturally to the likes of Leahy as breathing, and it seems unlikely that Republicans would try to use the Abu Ghraib issue against Sanchez in a Senate election. (However, Sanchez did call for a “Truth Commission” to investigate interrogation tactics under the Bush administration, a stance that may not play well in the Lone Star State.)

However, Sanchez probably will have a tougher time getting donations and support from the liberal grassroots – and it’s not unthinkable that some progressive Democrat might jump in, lest the party’s face in Texas be the man they hold responsible in part for a terrible national scandal. At Daily Kos, Sanchez is described as “complicit in one of the worst abuses in recent US military history, and worse, was part of an effort to sweep it under the carpet.” Also, ThinkProgress accuses him of lying to Congress; they write, “Sanchez himself wrote and signed a 2003 memo that included specific interrogation tactics approved for use despite noting that they may violate the Geneva Conventions. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sanchez denied signing off on these interrogation methods.”

Tags: Ricardo Sanchez , Texas

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