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Rep. Robert Andrews and Iraq Veteran Jon Soltz Outfox Sean Hannity

Reported by Ellen - March 25, 2007 -

More proof that a well-prepared and enthusiastic guest can overcome Sean Hannity’s bullyboy machinations. In a discussion about the House of Representatives vote setting a deadline to redeploy the troops, there were two such guests. Alan Colmes held up his end well, too. With video.

Hannity & Colmes devoted the first half of its show Friday night, 3/23/07, to the House vote that day calling for redeployment of troops in Iraq by August 31, 2008. The guests were Republican presidential candidate and former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Congressman Duncan Hunter, Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews, Kosovo and Iraq War Veteran Jon Soltz and FOX News Military Analyst Col. David Hunt.

I had never heard of either Andrews or Soltz before. I expected Soltz to be the usual kind of military representative on FOX News – an enthusiastic supporter of President Bush and just as eager to attack Democrats – but I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that Soltz is an awesome warrior against the “Support the president or you’re supporting the terrorists” meme of right-wing pundits. His organization, votevets.org, is affiliated with Gen. Wesley Clark. Although votevets is devoted to putting “Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans in Congress who are critical of the execution of the war in Iraq,” it strives to do so by providing their campaigns with early candidate training and messaging among other things. Judging by Soltz’ showing Friday night, I expect good things from them in ’08. In fact, many non-veteran Democrats could from Soltz' example.

Congressman Andrews bills himself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate but he was as fearsome as Soltz in taking the bully by the horns and playing offense rather than the kind of meek Democratic defense that is all too common on FOX News.

Andrews and Soltz are our two newest top dogs.

Some highlights:

Hunter predictably called the bill “a betrayal of the troops.”

Soltz said that he was well-equipped in Kosovo but lacked armor in Iraq, and noted that pointedly that Hunter was Chairman of the Armed Services Committee at that time.

Andrews said, “The other side wants to avoid those issues, I understand why, because they gave the administration a blank check.”

As Hannity embarked on one of his browbeating harangues, Andrews asked, “Do I get a turn, Sean, or do you just filibuster for the whole time?”

After Hannity attacked Democrats for “emboldening our enemies,” Soltz said, “This war is emboldening our enemies.”

In Part 2, there was a discussion about Iran. Colonel Hunt called the Iranians' seizure of 15 British sailors and marines “absolutely an act of war.” However, he also said he liked the fact that we kidnapped some Iranians previously. So it was all the more surprising that he later refused to go along with Hannity’s not-so-subtle attempt to goad him into saying that the House bill “guarantees defeat.”

Soltz: Attacking Iran unilaterally would undermine our troops. Iran is stronger today than they were six years ago.

Andrews: What we won’t do (about Iran) is to vote to put them in the middle of a shooting gallery, civil war, where 90% of the violence is sectarian violence against each other. We won’t send our kids to be referees in a bloody civil war. And I don’t think you should support it, either.

Hunter tried to blame Clinton for not equipping the military properly, but insisted that under his chairmanship, the military became better equipped.

Soltz refused to allow himself to interrupted and said that in Kosovo, under Clinton, the US fought along with allies and used fewer troops. “We went to war as the leader of the world (in Kosovo). In Iraq, we went to war as the leader of America. And because of that, we have completely overextended our force and we’re not able to provide for the troops on the ground. And Chairman Duncan (sic) was the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and didn’t ask any hard questions when guys like me were getting shot at in Iraq.”

Hannity tried, but failed to break into Colmes’ portion of the discussion to attack Soltz as he spoke. “You were the guy getting got shot at,” Colmes noted.

In Part 3, Colmes showed some quotes of then-candidate George Bush saying that there should be an exit date for the Kosovo war and that victory means having an exit strategy there should be an exit date. “Was he wrong back then?” Colmes asked.

After trying to avoid the direct question, Hunter had to admit that Bush was wrong then.

Andrews: You’ve guaranteed defeat by staying with a policy that has had us suffer more casualties, spend more money and go backwards in the world’s prestige. You’ve got the formula for defeat and you’re following it very closely.

As Hannity insisted that Democrats had bribed members to get them to vote for the bill, Andrews demanded relentlessly, “Tell me who we bribed. Where’s your evidence? …Tell us right now. …Tell us on national television…. You tell us.”

Hannity never responded.

Hunt said the surge is “reinforcing failure.”

Hannity to Hunt: “Does this guarantee defeat, yes or no?”

Hunt: No.

Andrews: There you go, Sean

Hannity: This will embolden our enemies.

Andrews: Sean, you picked the wrong witness to lead.

Hunt: We’re getting attacked at 150 times a day.

Parts 2 and 3 of the discussion below.