Michael “Go F–k Yourself” Baumgartner’s Position on Afghanistan Probably Won’t Get As Much Play as Todd Akin’s on Abortion

but what's his stance on miniature american flags? Michael Baumgartner is a state senator
running against the Democratic incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell in
Washington. Baumgartner  is
making some news
for shooting a “vulgar” e-mail off to a
reporter after a story hooked to rape comments made by Missouri
candidate Todd Akins. With an attached photo, the full text read:
“Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in
Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself.”

In the article
, Josh Feit, the recipient of the e-mail,

Concluding that he wanted a truce in the culture wars
and his campaign was about jobs and ending the war in Afghanistan,
he said: “The culture wars are not why I’m in the state senate or
running against my opponent. I’m pragmatic. I objected to the
expansion of abortion services, but I voted for two budgets that
funded [family planning] services.”

Baumgartner actually has a background in America’s
21st century land wars and continues to advise the
military periodically. From a June press

Baumgartner, who holds a Masters degree in
International Development from Harvard, served as an economics
officer at the US Embassy in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 and worked as
an embedded advisor to an Afghan counter-narcotics team in

Since then he has frequently been asked to advise members of the US
military on issues related to counter-insurgency, lecturing on more
than 30 occasions at military bases around the country.

“I was first asked by the US military to lecture on economic
development when I was with the State Department in Iraq, and
regularly spoke at the Counterinsurgency Leaders Course at Camp
Taji. Since then the requests have kept coming. It will be a great
day when it’s no longer needed.”

Baumgartner, who has called for an end to the Afghan War as part of
his political campaign, does not advocate that policy position in
his lectures, instead focusing on economics and civilian engagement
in the effort to erode Afghan civilian support for the Taliban
“Many of these servicemen and women are on their third or fourth
deployments,” Baumgartner said. “While I believe that we need to
bring the war to a responsible close, that’s a political decision
outside their control. My goal during the lectures is to provide
the best support I can to the soldiers preparing to head into an
enormous challenge.”

On his campaign site, Baumgartner says he supports “ending the
wars” and a “smarter foreign policy.”
This Bellingham Herald
article quotes the candidate
pointing out the Senate is supposed to advise on foreign policy and
that too few Senators are capable of that. From the Herald
here’s Baumgartner on Iran:

Asked if he favors military intervention to shut down
Iran’s nuclear program, Baumgartner was skeptical.

“The reality with Iran is that we have a lot of bad options,” he
said. “If something’s going to be done, it has to have more chance
of success than failure.”

Although — like Barack Obama — he believes that intervention should
not be ruled out, he also observed that those who are calling for a
U.S. military strike may not have thought it through.

“Presidential candidates have a natural impetus to look tough on
these things,” Baumgartner said.

Democrats, meanwhile, went to work painting him as an extremist
immediately after his announcement.
From the Spokesman Review

Democrats were quick to brand Baumgartner as a
far-right extremist for signing the 2010
Spokane County Republican platform 
which calls for such
things as withdrawing from the United Nations, eliminating the U.S.
Department of Education, returning to the gold standard and
repealing the Endangered Species Act.

but what about abortion?The Republican is polling
well behind Senator Cantwell
. The article that spurred his
news-making response was part of a “one question” series. Being
more interested in a
self-consistent attribute of a ”pro-life” stance
than in asking
a question like “what would you do about Afghanistan policy?” to a
candidate whose strand of foreign policy politics might stray from
bipartisan establishment orthodoxy, and who’s expressed a desire to
call attention to an issue as important as
the war in Afghanistan, one even the Defense Secretary is trying to
push into the news cycle
, suggests political interest in the
culture wars remains much higher than on the issues that actually
determine the course of the country.

Ron Paul’s
continued fight for delegates
and Gary Johnson’s campaign

to get into the presidential debates
notwithstanding, with less
than a hundred days left in the election the window for the muddled
decade-long war in Afghanistan to enter the forefront on the
campaign trail continues to close.