The Nation: Palin's Pet Has Taliban Ties

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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA i i

hide captionRep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, 2007.

Gerald Herbert/AP
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, 2007.

Gerald Herbert/AP

One week before Election Day, the special election to fill a vacant House seat in New York's North Country is heating up. It's a three-way split, pitting a Republican, a Democrat, and a Conservative against one another. It's close.

And the conservative on the ticket has the kind of support the Democrat running against him must love.

Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has already received the backing of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the anti-public-spending Club for Growth. On Monday he was endorsed by another beauty: Dana Rohrabacher, the senior Orange County (CA) Republican who began his career as a speechwriter for President Reagan. Said Rohrabacher "We don't need Tweedle-Dum or Tweedle-Dee, we need Hoffman. He's not afraid to stand up and speak the truth."

Like Palin, Beck, Limbaugh et al, Rohrabacher's of the belief that if Hoffman wins, it will send a message to the GOP establishment that they should run hardliners in 2010 and pitch to the Tea Party crowd on health care, government and everything else.

It's a great endorsement — as far as Hoffman's opponents are concerned. As special assistant to Ronald Reagan, Rohrabacher played a key role in the late 1980s getting money and arms to Muslim extremists in Afghanistan. Throughout the 90s, he lobbied shamelessly for the repressive Taliban. A November/December 1996 article in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs said, "The potential rise of power of the Taliban does not alarm Rohrabacher" because the congressman believes the "Taliban could provide stability in an area where chaos was creating a real threat to the U.S." Nice. In April 2001, Rohrabacher met privately in Qatar with the Taliban's foreign minister, then seeking increased aid for his country.

Rohrabacher's railed against the evil Taliban since, but still. The man who once thought the Taliban were good for US interests now thinks Doug Hoffman will be good for his party. If the Hoffman's opponents can't make anything of that, they're not trying.

Having a former Taliban funder joining the rogue's gallery backing the Hoffman has got to make it easier for his opponents. If the Democrat, lawyer Bill Owens, ekes out a victory amid the Republican infighting he'll be the first Democrat to win that district in 140 years.

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