THE BLOG
09/30/2010 01:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Needed: Adults in the Room

A few weeks ago the Toomey senate campaign in Pennsylvania decided to try to use my organization, Citizens for Global Solutions, to paint Joe Sestak as an extremist. The Greensburg Tribune-Review picked up the story, which I responded to with a letter to the editor.

Well this guy named Carl read my letter, located my email address, and what follows is our conversation. I want to share it with you because it displays a dangerous trend in our nation, the politicization of national security.

I don't know anything about Carl other than he lives in Pennsylvania and (from his email address display) is married. I googled him and found nothing. My apologies in advance for some of the long URLs. Read on and I'll share a few thoughts afterward:

From: Carl


I had to check out "Global Solutions" after reading your letter in the Greensburg Tribune-Review this morning. Knowing who Joe Sestak is and what he will do to my state if he is elected was puzzling to me as to why you would endorse him especially not being a native Pennsylvanian. A quick review of your web site and a picture of you explains it all. Do you support all "left wing" loons?

From: Don

Dear Carl,

Thanks for your note. The short answer to your question is, no. I guess a better answer is, that depends on how you define a "left wing" loon? But please take a look at this piece I wrote on the Huffington Post for a clearer answer at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-kraus/the-death-of-gop-internat_b_720207.html.

From: Carl

Just read it and don't follow you... only found three Republican senators that supported START which is rather weakening us in the global arena. Hope it's killed in the full senate.

From: Don

Carl - regarding START, seems like a whole bunch of smart and credible people disagree with you. What do you base your position on?


(I attached a long list of quotes that included supportive statements from the likes of Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Former Defense Secretary William Cohen. Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. Jim Baker. Brent Scowcroft and more.)

From: Carl

Who are those "whole bunch of smart and credible people"? Must be all leftists and Obama supporters.

From: Don

Carl - read the quotes I sent you. Generals, R & D former Sec of State and Defense. You calling Kissinger, Stephen Hadley (National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush), Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jim Baker, Brent Scowcroft "leftists and Obama supporters"?

From Carl

Yep

From: Carl

To expand on my Yep answer, I saw only one senator that claims to be a Republican responding, but didn't see a date his comment was made. Just because some of these people claim to be Republican doesn't mean that they are... for example, consider Arlen Specter, Crist, Murkowski and some now in the senate with an "R" next to their name (Collins, Snowe). Why not name a few senators that do not agree with these guys.

From: Don

Carl - First off Danforth and Hagel listed below are former R senators. You can go to Lugar's homepage right now http://lugar.senate.gov/ and START is still the lead. Senators off the committee don't usually weigh in until it comes to the floor. However the bottom line is that this is about national security. That's why the military, Defense Dept., State Dept. are on board. I can give you bipartisan lists of support till the cows come home. But my guess is you care more about the politics that the security issue. So who do you have opposing it and why? Anyone else besides Heritage? Read what Corker had to say about it http://corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=News&ContentRecord_id=f7953712-9847-4e43-8562-0c40244a6f72

From: Carl

Danforth and Hagel Republicans...you gotta be kidding.

From: Don

And what's more important: "R" or "D" or national security? I don't care what party is in as long as my daughter can grow up in a safe, just, and healthy world.

From: Carl

May as well stop this bantering...we'll not agree on this or anything else you guys are for.


That's the end of the thread. Here's my concern: Carl is more concerned about his side winning then all of us winning. And he's more focused on his anger than my daughter's safety. And that's where I draw the line.

My thirteen year old daughter hasn't gone to full teenage anger mode yet. But when she crosses the line, then it's time to patiently explain the rules, again.

But who gets to be the "adult" when it comes to national security? How do we get through to the "Carls" when the stakes are high but the dialogue has devolved to middle-school cafeteria "gotcha"?

We are never going to agree on everything, but when it comes to our security, we really need more adult behavior and less teenage angst. You got that Carl?