Bendinelli: Who is Duncan Hunter?



Ryan Bendinelli

Over the next two months, a large amount of media attention will be going to the “first tier” candidates of each political party. These are the candidates who have raised money, signed up a core group of supporters and, most importantly, yet also ironically, managed to gain attention in the media. On both sides of the aisle there are still candidates who have served their country to the best of their abilities and are offering up their own ideas and talents to serve in the highest office.

One of these candidates is Congressman Duncan Hunter, a representative from Southern California. First and foremost, this is not meant to be an endorsement or rejection of Congressman Hunter. However, as the evening news and daily papers will undoubtedly saturate voters with information on Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, it seems a fitting role to find an alternative topic of discussion.

Hunter was elected to Congress in 1980. Since that time he has served on the House Armed Services Committee, acting as chairperson from 2002-2006. The committee is responsible for all legislation dealing with national security and defense.

Hunter’s experience on the committee has given him more hands-on experience in dealing with the war in Iraq than most other candidates for president right now. Similar to John McCain, whose sons are enlisted in the military, Hunter’s son will be returning for a third tour of duty in Iraq. His Web site contains a video explaining his ideas for preparing Iraqis to take responsibility for their own security.

Hunter believes that a primary element of the United States’ national security policy should be a stronger missile defense program. He has also been one of the strongest advocates for more intense border security. The Congressman was a sponsor of the bill that established the border fence project last year.

A major difference between Hunter and many of his rivals for the Republican nomination is his view of abortion and the role of federal judges. Fred Thompson, the candidate endorsed by the National Right to Life, does not support a Constitutional Amendment that would outlaw abortion. However, Hunter fully supports this measure.

Furthermore, Hunter is much more blunt than most in his judicial philosophy. Many take the stance on abortion that their chief concern is judicial activism. Hunter promise son his Web site, “I will not appoint judges who do not believe that the unborn are precious and should be protected.”

The Congressman also supports an Amendment to outlaw gay marriage. To go above and beyond the call of duty for social conservatives, Hunter is willing to express his discontent with alcohol and gambling. He believes that interstate gambling, especially over the wire, is a serious problem in America that must be dealt with.

Then there is health care, that really complicated issue that conservatives have to be extra careful about so they are not accused of being socialists. A major proposal that Hunter puts forward is to allow people to buy health insurance across state lines. His argument is that people should be allowed to buy insurance in states that do not have as extensive coverage requirements (such as providing occupational therapy) to save money. He believes that people should have more of a say about where their money goes.

There you have it: Hunter’s campaign for the presidency. Next time your friends are debating whether they like Rudy or Mitt, you can baffle them by asking what they think of Duncan. In all likelihood, he will not be a contender for much longer. However, why his candidacy has not taken off is another question.

He has mainstream conservative views and having served as chairperson of an important committee should theoretically be well qualified. It makes a person wonder what actually goes into deciding who the “favorites” in any race really are and whether there is too much stock in the deciders.


Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].