It was announced yesterday that U.S. Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., were heading to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen on a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip.
Levin is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Reed is a member of that Committee and chairs one of the subcommittees.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) is also tagging along with Levin and Reed. Tester does not serve on any military or defense committees. The Helena Independent Record took the press release from Tester’s office announcing his trip and pasted it (almost word for word) on their website. Tuesday evening, an e-mail hit my inbox from Tester touting the trip.
The Western Word (TWW) believes it is fine for elected officials, especially those who did not serve in the military, to visit “war zones” and maybe meet up with some of their constituents and learn from the great people who have sacrificed to serve our country in the military. As a veteran, I know these meetings are a lot more enjoyable for the elected official then for the military person.
Politicians are always looking ahead; Tester is right at the top of the list as one of most vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2012, so this trip also helps build up his résumé for re-election time (look for photos from this trip to pop-up in Tester’s campaign ads next year).
No matter how many trips Tester takes or how many e-mails he sends out promoting his trips, he has a very tough hill to climb to win another term. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D., saw the writing on the wall and yesterday announced that he was done. That open seat now leans Republican and gives the GOP an opportunity to throw much more money into Montana to help defeat Jon Tester.
Meanwhile back “home” unemployment is still high, gas prices are creeping toward three dollars a gallon and our credit cards are maxed out…