Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA10) apparently has a dilemma. Is she a Republican? A Democrat? An Independent? She has an “R” by her name in the Congress, and has run on the Republican ballot in the last two elections.
But recently, she has taken three specific actions that call into question her allegiance to the Republican Party. (Well, four, if you count her questioning President Trump’s firing of discredited FBI Director Comey.)
Let’s start with a House of Representatives resolution Comstock sponsored, HRes. 257, which condemns undefined hate crimes and “any other form of racism, religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States.” Resolutions of this type do not carry the weight of law. Rather, they express a sentiment.
HRes. 257 has only four Republican co-sponsors, whereas sixteen Democrats have signed on to be co-sponsors. It is an adaptation of a similar resolution introduced in the previous Congress but never voted upon, which specifically condemned “violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims.” It is a different side of the same coin: an attempt to undermine Free Speech protections so that Islam cannot be criticized.
Rep. Comstock’s resolution is a dangerous, undefined attack on First Amendment protections enshrined in the Constitution, protections which are incompatible with the Islamic doctrine of Sharia Law.
Turning now to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), once again Rep. Comstock found herself comfortable in the company of Democrats. The NDAA lays out the annual budget for the Defense Department. On July 14, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) offered an amendment to the NDAA, which called for strategic assessments of the use of violent Islamic doctrine in support of terrorism, and identification of key thought leaders who promote Islamic religious doctrines used by extremist groups. You might say it was a blueprint for connecting the dots of terrorists and their activities.
But the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) adamantly opposed the Franks amendment, and sent out a “Good News Alert” celebrating the amendment’s narrow defeat on a vote of 208 (Yes) – 217 (No). Among those voting “No” were only 27 Republicans, including Barbara Comstock.
During NDAA debate the previous day, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) offered an amendment to deny funding for gender transition surgery to members of the military. Once again, the vote was close: 209 (Yes) – 214 (No). Among the “No” votes were only 24 Republicans, including Barbara Comstock.
Transgender surgeries are not about military readiness. They are about enabling gender dysphoria. These surgeries have direct medical costs (such as hormone therapy, counseling, vocal therapy/surgery), as well as additional costs (such as when post-surgery service members cannot be deployed and must be replaced).
The Family Research Council calculates that direct and indirect costs of transgendering services will cost our military $3.7 billion over ten years. This significant sum of money (tax dollars) could otherwise buy an AEGIS Destroyer, or 22 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Planes, or 116 Chinook Helicopters, or 3,700 Tomahawk missiles. Not a very good trade-off. And particularly perplexing, given that Comstock touts herself as an advocate for a strong national defense.
These recent legislative positions should give constituents pause. Barbara Comstock has aligned herself clearly with Democrats. It’s doubtful she’ll attract (new) Democrat voters in this political environment. And she’ll most assuredly lose Republican voters. She’s not just reaching across the aisle … she’s walking across it!
Might Barbara Comstock be positioning herself to run as an Independent?