What is Derrick Van Orden Scared Of?

Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Jessi Ebben keeps calling on her opponent Derrick Van Orden to debate her in-person and he keeps running away.

Van Orden is the author of The Book of Man: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to the Lost Art of Manhood, which teaches readers “manly skills,” such as how to throw a punch, sight in a gun, and handle a “terrorist.” Unfortunately for Van Orden, there are no chapters on winning a political debate with a woman.

“We are still waiting to hear from my primary opponent on two in-person debates where we are side by side on a debate stage, answering the questions that matter most to this district,” Ebben said in a video Friday, which accused Van Orden of “hiding and lying.”

What is Van Orden scared of? Could it be that the man who starred in the 2012 action movie Act of Valor is afraid of answering tough questions?

Ebben and Van Orden will take part in a Wisconsin Public Radio debate on July 31 using video-conferencing, but Ebben is challenging her opponent to in-person debates, with live questions from voters.

Van Orden does seem to have a skill for evasive answers. For example, on his own Facebook page, he was recently asked for his opinion on the brutal beating of a fellow U.S. Navy veteran, Christopher David, in Portland, Oregon, by federal officers that quickly went viral.

“I was unaware of this incident,” Van Orden responded when asked about it. “I am running for office in the 3rd Congressional District in Wisconsin. I do not track Portland, OR as closely as I track Portland, WI.”

When Van Orden was pressed again for his opinion on the assault, he added, “As I said, I was unfamiliar with the incident (although by now, he clearly was aware of it) and learned during my 5 combat deployments as a SEAL to not comment on things I am unfamiliar with.”

Fair enough. I guess, if elected, there’s going to be an awful lot of things Van Orden will not be making any comment on, given the vast array of issues Congress works on.

“Without initiating a full and through (sic) investigation, I would be speculating. Another word for that is guessing,” Van Orden continued. “I do not guess when it comes to potential law enforcement misconduct…I will also remind you of a couple of things; I am a congressional candidate and do not have the ability to initiate an investigation. Ron Kind is a congressman, he can initiate an investigation. Because, he is in Congress.”

See what he did there? A classic move any career politician would be proud of. Sidestep, redirect to your opponent, and then move on without answering the question. 

Van Orden might be scared of debating a woman, but he’s more than capable of behaving exactly like the politicians he claims he’s so different from. In the unlikely event he does make it to Congress, he’ll fit right in. 

*Van Orden is running in the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary against Ebben. On the Democratic side, Dr. Mark Neumann is running against incumbent Rep.Kind. The primary elections are Aug. 11. The 3rd Congressional District includes all of La Crosse, Vernon, Trempealeau and Crawford counties, and part of Monroe County.

By Eric Timmons. Email questions to lacrosseindependent@gmail.com.

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