Four years ago I proudly drove around with my "Veterans For Obama" sticker on my car, right above the Purple Heart license plate. I don't think it got much notice either way, and Obama handily lost the veteran vote to John McCain. Before that, John Kerry lost their votes, too.
President Obama has wound down America’s war in Iraq, ordered the operation that killed Osama bin Laden and set in motion the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. He also has focused particular attention on veterans and military families, increasing funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs, implementing the post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill and launching job programs for returning troops.
Along with Jill Biden, Michele Obama has made caring for military families a priority. Given all that, it's puzzling to me when I hear a veteran reflexively say something disparaging about the president. I get that warriors are in the business of war; but sending them off unprepared to an unnecessary and unwinnable war, and ignoring the ones that made it back, as Bush did, doesn't seem much of a foundation for veteran love.
Interestingly, it seems to be the older vets -- myself among the excepted -- that tend to dislike Obama. Maybe it's residual resentment from the liberal rejection of Vietnam, and a knee-jerk association of Barack Obama with that. What's more interesting, though, is that, if a new poll is accurate, among younger vets there's more support for the president than for The Rominee:
Disaffection with the politics of shock and awe runs deep among men and women who have served in the military during the past decade of conflict. Only 32 percent think the war in Iraq ended successfully, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. And far more of them would pull out of Afghanistan than continue military operations there.
[...]Romney, along with his primary rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, had also accused Obama of "appeasement" toward U.S. enemies — a charge that drew a sharp Obama rebuttal. "Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaida leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement," the president shot back. He has reproached GOP candidates: "Now is not the time for bluster."
If the election were held today, Obama would win the veteran vote by as much as seven points over Romney, higher than his margin in the general population, according to the poll.
In 2008, veterans favored Republican presidential hopeful John McCain — a distinguished war veteran and former prisoner of war — by 10 points over Obama,according to an ABC News poll. In 2004, President George W. Bush won the veteran vote by 16 points over his Democrat opponent, Sen. John Kerry.
I don't know if it's accurate, but in the world of reality it sure ought to be. Most of the "Support Our Troops" stickers are on vehicles with R slogans, too. (I have this fantasy of talking to a few people with those stickers, showing them my license plate, and asking them if they'd like to sign a petition asking for a surtax to pay for troops' and vets' needs...) Unlike George Bush, Barack Hussein Obama actually has supported the troops. Maybe, having borne the consequences of neocon adventurism and deceptions, the younger troops are less susceptible to the blarney than the older ones, so many of whom seem to consider their time at war as the high point of their lives...