See below for video and some highlights (bolding added by me for emphasis) of Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07)’s appearance earlier today on C-SPAN, where she discussed the Iran situation, the immigration/humanitarian crisis at the border, the supposed “deep state,” and her relationship with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Very interesting interview.
- On Iran, Rep. Spanberger said: “The challenge that I see with the strategy is there doesn’t appear to be a very consistent strategy, and I say that as someone who has been in both classified and unclassified briefings related to Iran…I think the challenge that we are facing is...if a consistent strategy isn’t apparent to a member of Congress with a background in national security, I think it is alarmingly absent to the view of the Iranians. And I think it puts us in a more challenging circumstance when we are dealing with a foreign adversary – often malign acting nation – and they can’t understand what our priorities are because frankly they haven’t been well outlined…I think we need to recognize our engagement on the international stage has likely been seemingly frenetic because we are now saying we want to have what it is we walked away from.“
- On Congress’ role in authorizing the use of military force, Rep. Spanberger said: “It is absolutely our responsibility, not just our constitutional authority, but it’s our responsibility to have the say in whether or not we are sending U.S. soldiers and airmen and marines and sailors off to war… It does seem as though the administration is, to some degree, trying to create a pathway to use the prior authorized use of military force to potentially take action against Iran.”
- On the $4.5 billion bill for humanitarian relief at the border, Rep. Spanberger said: “I believe there are the votes for it…And yes I support it. I support it because we have seen horrific humanitarian conditions, and we have seen troubling reports which every member of Congress should be absolutely alarmed by. It is not a partisan issue how we treat people in U.S. custody. It is an issue of who we are as a country and how we conduct ourselves and the standards to which we hold ourselves. And there is an absolute need for additional funding. These detention facilities are at their breaking point and we need to authorize the funds. And so I will be supporting this bill. In addition to other pieces of legislation, the Keep Families Together Act, an number of other bills…trying to outline what our minimum standards that we as a nation should consider necessary in any detention facility that holds children…We can’t jeopardize the health and safety of people held in those detention facilities by not funding them.”
- Also on the Iran situation, Rep. Spanberger said: “As a regional actor, one of our greatest conflicts with Iran is…its aggressive stance towards Israel, one of our closest allies in the region…. When we determined that we wanted to move forward with the JCPOA, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, just a couple of years back, part of our motivation was a nonnuclear Iran is not just an issue of securing our national security, but those of our partners in the region and particularly the security of Israel…. Iran is a malign actor in the region, it is very difficult to deal with Iranian intentions…[but] we had a multilateral effort to address the challenges posed by a nuclear Iran…I do think it is important to note that for a time even past the U.S. withdrawal, Iran was keeping to its portion of the [JCPOA] agreement.“
- Asked about being a “deep-state wonk,” Rep. Spanberger bristled: “I actually don’t understand why anyone would think that someone who has devoted his or her life to public service with the goal of keeping this country safe from attacks, safe from terrorism and worked wholeheartedly to inform Republican presidents and Democratic presidents — I don’t understand why anyone would determine that there is some sort of deep state. I actually just find it quizzical. But it is an insult that seems to be coming about and in recent terms it was certainly something that some of us heard on the 2018 campaign trail. I would challenge everyone to question the notion of this deep state…My intentions are very clear; I worked as a CIA officer in support of this country and our priorities…I swore an oath to the constitution. As a member of Congress this is now the third time that I’m serving in a role where I’ve sworn an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and protect this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.. I think it is probably an easy insult for some to lob on Twitter, but it has no bearing in fact.“
- On being called a “moderate Democrat” in a purple district and her relationship with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Spanberger said: “Alexandria is a feisty, passionate, and driven member of Congress. We disagree on a lot. We also agree on a lot. I respect her passion. I respect her voice. And the conversations I have had with her have generally been very fruitful. I think our districts are so incredibly different. And I hope that where I have been able to explain to her what a district like mine is – a suburban Virginian district, a rural Virginian district, where I’m looking at priorities such as broadband internet…concerns related to my soybean farmers — I have a lot of moderates in my district, I have a lot of strong Democrats…a lot of strong Republicans, we run the gamut….Where I’ve have been able to tell her what a district like mine is, I hope that has been useful to her view of who I represent and what some of the calls on my time and my priorities have been because of my constituency. I think the media loves to make these sort of stories where they pit all these different members against each other. It is not about the personalities. It is about the policy. We agree on things where we agree, and wherever I can partner with her or somebody on the opposite side of the aisle, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m going to do that if benefits my constituents and the people of this country.”
By the way, is Abigail Spanberger an enormous upgrade from Dave Brat or what? I mean, for starters, Spanberger is a pragmatist who has served her country her entire life, and who is firmly grounded in the world of fact and reality. In stark contrast, Brat was a rabid, nutty, extreme far-right ideologue who had, at best, a tenuous grasp with the fact-based world. Just on those grounds alone, I hope that 7th CD voters will resoundingly reelect Spanberger in November 2020!