There is no question that Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is passionate about Ukraine. He just has a problem expressing his feelings in a coherent way.
He tries to position himself between two poles: That Biden/NATO/the EU are making the right moves and going as far as they can to protect Ukraine. Unfortunately, that is the Democratic camp.
Then there are his co-religionists: Scott Perry (R PA-10), who spoke on Fox on Monday and blamed Putin’s aggression on “the tepid response rhetorically from the president.” Perry also said the US was “afraid to get its hands dirty.” As in boots on the ground?
Nor will Fitzpatrick jump in the boat with Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik and other GOP leaders who issued a statement saying, “Sadly, President Biden consistently chose appeasement and his tough talk on Russia was never followed by strong action.” So what “strong action” were they proposing? It is easy to spout on about “clear consequences” and “decisive action.” But exactly what action is supposed to be taken?
Fox has given loose cannon and former Benghazi prosecutor Trey Gowdy (as one wag said, “Anderson Cooper put through a pencil sharpener” ) a Sunday night TV slot; Gowdy (former Republican South Carolina Congressman) invited Colonel Doug MacGregor, Retired, this past Sunday to be his guest. When asked the best course of action for the United States MacGregor said, “We should stop shipping weapons and encouraging Ukrainians to die in what is a hopeless endeavor.” In other words, let Putin have Ukraine.
Given those choices (well, not the last one) Fitzpatrick is like a stork who can’t decide which leg to stand on.
When he posts on Facebook and Twitter about Ukraine, Fitzpatrick is honest in his attachment to the country. He was stationed in Kiev as an FBI agent; he is the co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Ukraine Caucus.
But he can’t help himself in his posts. He writes in glittering generalities: “The Ukrainians are reminding the world that freedom isn’t free” and “The Ukrainians are reminding the world that only through showing strength can we obtain peace.”
But that does not sound strong enough for a former FBI agent, so then Fitzpatrick repeats a plea from Ukraine itself: declare Ukraine a no-fly zone. It is understandable when jets are dropping bombs on your country that you want to stop them. It is another thing for a US Congressman to suggest that Ukraine be declared a no-fly zone.
Enforcing that would mean shooting Russian airplanes out of the air. According to U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace of the United Kingdom, “NATO would have to effectively declare war on Russia.”
Fitzpatrick’s constituents did not need to consult experts on such an idea. They began shellacking him with responses on Twitter and Facebook. Their ire not only went beyond pointing out that his suggestion would start WWIII, but also went back to Fitzpatrick’s votes on Donald Trump’s impeachment – Trump being far too cozy with Putin – and expressed other faults they have found with Fitzpatrick, Trump, and the GOP over the years.
Below, Fitzpatrick’s Ukraine Tweet and some responses.
Brian Fitzpatrick will appear on PBS tonight at 10:30, after the State of the Union address, along with Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ, and Margaret White of No Labels. The two men are co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, made up of 28 Democrats and 28 Republicans of the 117th Congress and will probably make mild comments. Yet, considering the enmity of those who respond to even the mildest Tweet from Fitzpatrick, we might warn readers that spitballs will leave ugly marks on their flat screens.
After the broadcast, turn off the TV and unplug it. Wait until the morning, then use a microfiber cloth and a weak solution of water and vinegar to gently clean the screen. Do not apply pressure.