A Conversation with Martha McSally
Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally (R-AZ) is running against Ron Barber for the seat formerly held by Gabby Giffords. Colonel McSally was part of the team that helped plan and execute the U.S. air operations over Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. She also, in January 1995, became the first woman in U.S. history to fly a combat aircraft into enemy territory, in order to help enforce the United Nations' "no-fly zone." In July 2004, McSally took command of the 354th Fighter Squadron, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to command a combat aviation unit. She stood up for American principles after initiating a lawsuit in early 2002, which eventually led Congress to pass a bill which stated women in the U.S. military would not be required to wear any Muslim clothing. Col. McSally made sure that as part of the law, all U.S. servicewomen deployed in Saudi Arabia were given a copy of the legislation.
McSally’s campaign in Tucson, Arizona exemplifies what the Republicans are up against, having to counter the unions, media bias, the Democratic machine, and the Democratic candidate speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Below are some examples of what she must battle.
Regarding the attack plane, the A-10 "Warthog", Barber tried to spin it so that he received the credit for leading the charge against mothballing it. Yet, when asked if there are any real threats to it being replaced, his response was an emphatic “no.” McSally sees this plane as vital to America’s national security, something she knows about, since she flew it on combat missions. She has written two op-eds pointing out the dangerous possibility that the Obama Administration is going to eliminate it from the Air Force’s arsenal. The op-ed from March 10 points out that Barber was MIA during an Arms Services Committee meeting where the Air Force commanders were testifying. In addition McSally wrote, “To top it off, Barber is taking credit for things he simply did not do. He claimed on Feb. 26 in the Star that ‘he led the charge in the House to pass legislation that will protect the A-10 through the end of this year.’ However, Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon’s staff confirmed to me recently that New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and McKeon alone made it happen. The truth is that Ayotte has been consistently leading the charge to save the A-10 -- not Barber.”
Furthermore, she told American Thinker if this ground-support plane is phased out earlier than the scheduled 2028 retirement it will be a threat to national security, something Barber seems to not understand. Especially since, “American troops find themselves in precarious positions on the battlefield. There is no better sound than the rumbling engines of an A-10 bringing its 30 mm gun to bear. It can literally mean the difference between life and death for troops who are pinned down. The A-10 “Warthog” is the world’s premier close air support (CAS) aircraft, tasked to deliver firepower to save American lives in close combat. Its home is right here at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. I flew 325 combat hours in the A-10 and had the honor to command D-M’s 354th Fighter Squadron at home and in combat in Afghanistan.”
Speaking of combat, McSally must fight off the lies of the Democratic machine. Barber has enlisted his good friend Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to run attack ads. Even though the Washington Post gave these ads three Pinocchios the Democrats continue to mislead. The ads state, “Outside dark money is supporting extreme candidate Martha McSally.” She commented to American Thinker, “The last time I checked, isn’t Pelosi from California, so is she not an outsider?”
What are the issues she supports that make McSally so “extreme?” Could it possibly be the fact that she calls for a repeal of ObamaCare, not a fix? Her humor came through when she compared it to a car being totaled. She noted, “You don’t fix something that it 98.8% broken. It’s like saying I kept my totaled car because I basically took the radio out of it and put it in my new car. Yet, Barber is quoted as praising the president on his leadership of ObamaCare. Look, I do think any health reform legislation needs to address the high cost of health care while maintaining doctor/patient relationships, allowing people to make choices, transparency, competition, health savings accounts, no denial for pre-existing conditions, and allowing children to stay on their parents insurance until age twenty-six.”
Maybe Pelosi considers McSally’s views on immigration extreme, since she does not believe in amnesty. What the Republican candidate does feel is that the current immigration system is dysfunctional and that the priorities must be to secure the border, fix the legal system, and find a way to track those who overstayed their visas. “We should not be giving anyone a special pass; yet, we should compassionately uphold the rule of law. In my district there are a lot of Hispanics who came here the right way and they should not be ignored.”
Perhaps, Pelosi does not understand what the word extreme means, since she is supporting this administration’s outreach to the extreme terrorist-sponsored state of Iran. McSally regards Iran as an “extreme threat. They talk about wiping one of our allies, Israel, off the face of the map. We need all the options on the table because that is the only way to deter a state that is a credible threat. Barber and Pelosi do not ever speak out against Obama. In this case silence is not golden. It appears the Obama Administration has given up and has a containment mindset. They are clueless that this interim deal has bought Iran time. Iran learned from the North Koreans that if they continue to negotiate they could buy time to get a nuclear capability. The failed Obama foreign policy is making our enemies laugh and our allies nervous.”
What is interesting is that the local press does not critique Barber and gives him a lot of free exposure as Congressman Barber campaigns for candidate Barber. For example, even though this race is deemed one of the top three in the country and she has outraised this incumbent as well as every candidate in the entire state of Arizona there was no news of this in the local Tucson media.
There was also very little media coverage of Barber’s complete support of the unions which would have cost the Tucson area jobs. The issue involved the FAA deciding to build a new tower at the Tucson airport. Because less than 3% of the construction companies are unionized in Southern Arizona, the decision was made to allow for contracts with non-union labor companies. In February Barber wrote a letter to the FAA to reconsider that decision, which was not part of the public record. Luckily, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) found the letter and made it public. However, there was no press coverage of it and no questions asking Barber about it.
After interviewing Retired Colonel Martha McSally, American Thinker found her to be the true Arizona straight shooter who is intelligent, pragmatic, and funny. She believes that the main themes of government overreach, lack of leadership, and the poor economy is strong enough ammunition to combat Barber. Hopefully, come November she will add another title to her name, that of Congresswoman.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.