DID YOU KNOW THAT REP. RANDY “DUKE” CUNNINGHAM (R-CA-50) was an official attendee at the scandalous 1991 Tailhook Association Meeting in Las Vegas? I had no idea that this repugnant ideologue in the House of Representatives was part of that misogynist mess.
I just received a powerful and very informed email from Chalmers Johnson, author of the best-selling books Blowback: The Costs and Consequence of American Empire and Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic, that does a great job exposing the seediness of this member of Congress. Chalmers is supporting a Democratic Party challenger who lives in Cardiff, California — Francine Busby.
The entire email is too long to post, but I’d be happy to forward to any interested parties. Just send me a note at steve@steveclemons.com, and I’ll send it off.
I should add that I am not opposed to all Republicans — just those who don’t believe in the Enlightenment. I really like moderate Republicans and have been a supporter and advisor to the Republican Main Street Partnership, which Amo Houghton (R-NY-29) founded. But moderate Republicans are currently an endangered species, regrettably.
Here is an excerpt of Chalmers Johnson’s email:
Cunningham’s most famous naval exploit occurred after he had left the Navy and was a freshman Congressman. In 1991, Cunningham was a member of the board of directors of the Tailhook Association, a private group of active duty, reserve, and retired Navy and Marine Corps aviators, defense contractors, and their supporters. (The name ‘tailhook’ comes from the device that halts aircraft when they land on aircraft carriers.)
The Navy used to provide free office space for the association at Miramar Naval Air Station, and lent its fleet of passenger aircraft to fly attendees to its annual meetings in Las Vegas. At the 35th Annual Tailhook Symposium (September 5 to 7, 1991) at the Las Vegas Hilton, a meeting that Cunningham attended in an official capacity, drunken fliers groped, stripped, and mauled some 83 women in the hotel, according to the report of the Department of Defense’s Inspector General.
Since that time Cunningham has devoted massive amounts of time and energy to arguing that what went on was just good clean fun and great male bonding. In Congressional hearings, he has gone out of his way to undercut official programs to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the military.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune of March 11, 1998, he referred to such efforts as “B.S.” and “political correctness.” In 1998, Cunningham insulted his fellow congressman Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who is openly gay, causing Frank to reply that “Cunningham seems to be more obsessed with homosexuality than most homosexuals.”

Earlier today I encouraged the media to ask James Schlesinger not whether Rumsfeld should be fired — but rather would Schlesinger himself resign from the Defense Secretary job if he were in Rumsfeld’s shoes?
If personal integrity won’t move Rumsfeld to do what is right — then both the media and Congress need to compel him to do so.
But guys like Duke Cunningham (and Tom Delay) have warped the system of checks and balances that so many during our long history have fought to establish and preserve.
How can a guy who thinks Tailhook was just all good fun be counted on to responsibly legislate or investigate matters related to Abu Ghraib. If a House Member cannot be part of an accountability action plan in the U.S. government, then he or she needs to be voted out.
Check out Busby and send her some support if you can. Most of Cunningham’s financial support comes not from his constituents but from DC and New York — whereas Busby’s comes from those she hopes to represent in Cardiff, Rancho Santa Fe and the San Diego metro region.
Maybe some folks reading this can balance out Cunningham’s Northeast Corridor fundraising advantage.
— Steve Clemons