Chicago, IL – According to pollsters and pundits, next Tuesday's midterm election for the 112th Congress is going to be a referendum on the nation's economic travail. Since our Fox News "War Stories" team returned from Afghanistan three weeks ago, we have been deluged by reminders from so-called mainstream media outlets that the Clinton-era political axiom: "It's the economy, stupid" is all that matters.
President Obama should hope that's true.
If Americans vote only on the question of whether they are better off since Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama became the potentates of pork on the Potomac, then Obama may yet salvage his presidency for another term in 2012. He and his very liberal cronies know that today's "hot button" issues: government health insurance mandates; bailouts, buyouts and stimulus debt; unemployment above 9.5 percent; and plans to raise taxes on small businesses are all likely to diminish in importance as the U.S. economy slowly -– and inevitably –- improves.
Obama has acknowledged here in Chicago and elsewhere, "I'm not on the ballot but my agenda is." Yet, he's also counting on voters' short-term memory, hoping those we elect next Tuesday won't require him to abide by his oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If those we send to Washington next week remember what matters most isn't just the economy but also preserving, protecting and defending our Constitution and our people, then this president's agenda and his hopes for re-election are toast.
The congressmen and senators we elect must do more than offer poll-driven, seven-second sound bite platitudes about creating jobs, cutting the national debt and reducing home foreclosures. The security of our nation is being squandered by the Obama agenda. That won't change unless those we put in Congress on November 2 have the courage to make real "change" happen.
Every American commander-in-chief should know who our allies and enemies are; ought to be able to define victory in war; and must be willing to protect our borders. Obama has proven himself unable or unwilling to do any of these. Congress, through the power of the purse, can make them happen.
Congressional authorizations and appropriations provide nearly $50 billion of our tax dollars to foreign countries. Every cent has some kind of "string' attached. The next Congress must recognize our enemies are not "criminal extremists," but radical Islamists who have declared war on us. That also means Congress must ensure that support for Israel is not withheld by the O-Team to force some fatally-flawed "two-state solution" on our only democratic ally in the Middle East.
Conversely, the aid we provide to Pakistan must be conditional on Islamabad adhering to commitments they made for quashing the Taliban along the Af-Pak border. If the Pakistani government won't do what they pledged to do, Congress ought to cut the subsidies.
Winning the war in Afghanistan isn't as elusive or as difficult to describe as our present commander-in-chief has made it seem. Victory is a representative government in Kabul that respects the human rights of the Afghan people, is able to protect them from internal and external threats and is a friend to the West. The next Congress needs to insist on that outcome.
Obama's strategically unsound commitment to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan next July virtually pushed the Kabul government into an embrace with Iran's brutal theocracy. Reports this week that President Karzai has been accepting "bags of cash" from America-hating ayatollahs shouldn't have surprised anyone. On July 29, this column reported on a web video produced by "Voice of Afghan Youth" that revealed the Karzai-Tehran connection. Congressional oversight committees should investigate who knew what and when they knew it, and what promises were made in secret sessions between Presidents Karzai and Obama.
Securing our borders must also become a congressional priority. Instead of using our tax dollars to press a court case against the governor of Arizona for attempting to stop drug dealers, human traffickers, gun smugglers and money launderers from invading the state, Congress needs to insist that the Obama administration protect our borders.
Finally, the 112th Congress must make certain the O-Team does not succeed in wrecking the finest military force the world has ever known. Amending, eliminating or ignoring Title 10, Section 654 of the U.S. Code, which bars active homosexuals from serving in our armed forces, is simply wrong. Allowing this to happen in the midst of war would be catastrophic.
The abysmal state of our economy may well be what drives most voters to the ballot box next week. If the polls and predictions are right, by Wednesday morning we will be eyewitness participants to a profound and positive change for Washington. But unless we insist that those we elect focus on the issues above, we may yet lose on what matters most: Preserving, protecting and defending our Constitution, our national security and our very way of life.
— Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel and the author of "American Heroes."
Lt. Col. Oliver L. North (ret.) serves as host of the Fox News Channel documentary series "War Stories with Oliver North." From 1983 to 1986, he served as the U.S. government's counterterrorism coordinator on the National Security Council staff. "Counterfeit Lies," is his novel about how Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Click here for more information on Oliver North.