Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vetting The Candidates

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.

Since he's been in office, though, President Obama has done immeasurably more for veterans than Bush ever did:
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...


  1. Wow, with such overwhelming support among the Troops...
    Maybe EICOTUS won't try to throwout the Overseas Absentee ballots like the Inventor-of-the-Internets tried in 2000...
    And can I be Frank?
    And I'm sayin this as a Fellow Vet.
    Vets just sort of freak people out, I think its that whole Lee Harvey Oswald/Charles Whitman/Taxi Driver Vibe.
    I mean, I remember when I drove around with a Purple Heart License Plate, IN GEORGIA, people would get angry, and yell, and flip me off.
    Probably cause it was my Grandfathers car, and he never went more than 30mph...
    Seriously, ya can't just drop that "Purple Heart" bit, we want DETAILS, otherwhise we're just gonna think you stuck yourself with a needle.
    Don't laugh, I know a guy who actually tried to get one that way.
    NO, not me.
    I tried for the CMH, hey, ya gotta toot your own horn to get ahead in the Military...


  2. I'm certain there's a Republican think tank hard at work right now, devising a strategy to keep young veterans from registering to vote.....
    Mark V

  3. As I recall, Frankie, the Florida thing was about dates the ballots were sent. And, while sort of pissy, I agree, it was nothing like the thousands of legal African-Americans voters who were removed from the rolls by Jeb and the witch-like Katherine Harris.

    And it all pales compared to the current concerted efforts, as Mark V points out, by Rs across the country to prevent legit voting by presumed D-leaning minorities.

    I was stationed in Danang, otherwise known as Rocket City. 'Nuff said.

  4. @frank,
    Repeat after me... Correlation is not causation. People might be flipping you off for reasons wholly unrelated to your plates.

    Can't you get a better class of troll, doc?


  5. WOW, a whole $5,600 for hiring a Vet?
    Oh wait, its just a CREDIT, and if you read the small print, its only for hiring a Vet who's been unemployed for more than 6 months, i.e. Un-employable.
    And do you blame the Employers?, I mean even it isn't Travis Burkle, they have those creepy Prosthetic limbs, and they insist on having Veterans Day off, and saluting the flag, and y'know, the Veterans I know aren't the most Understanding Peoples when Mahmood in Billing leaves an over-ripe Mansaf in the Fridge...


  6. Younger veterans are angry that BHO proposed cuts in TRICARE while expanding Medicaid etc. They were saying something like, "we risked our lives for our country and now our country is reneging on its promise to us."

    Im not sure how younger vets view the bigger picture of BHO's foreign policy.

    I have a difficult time forming my own opinion on foreign policy b/c there's so much info that we are not exposed to and I can see BHO being diplomatic as long as possible (without publicly beating the war drums) but then ultimately doing whatever he thinks needs to be done (I'll have more flexibility after the election).


  7. Would be nice if EICOTUS would actually pick a few Vets for a Cabinet Position...
    Cause of the 23 Cabinet/SubCabinet positions only.....wait for it.....

    TWO(2) are Veterans,

    Old-Torture-Worked-Himself, SecDef Panetta, who served stateside US Army 64-66,

    and VA head, ummm the former Army General with the Russian name and Chinese Eyes..
    thats right, don't give the VA job to someone who could actually use the money, give it to a retired General.

    Heck, "W" had Rumsfeld and Ridge, besides bein a Vet himself.


  8. You do know the difference between a deduction and a credit, right Frankie?

    But, yeah, your point is right: incentives to hire people via the tax code, which is what Rs like to believe in, is pretty lame. Businesses hire based on demand. But, I suppose if they need a worker, they might hire the vet because of the incentive. Which is not without issues, too.

  9. Actually, I DON'T really know the Ins/Outs of Taxes, I leave that up to Manny, my Accountant/Bookie/Consigliore'.
    See, I can admit my areas of ignorance, I'm a lover, not a fighter.
    But here's how that Vet/Tax Credit works in real life.
    Ex Army Vet Travis-Lee-Harvey-Charles-Whitman-Oswald applies for a job, after being unemployed for 4 months.
    E-ville Corporate Guy says "Come back in 2 months, cause we'll get a Tax Credit"
    Travis comes back in 2 months, only to find Jose-Mario-Guadalupe-Ramirez was hired in his place.


  10. I came home with both legs missing to the hip. What did I get? Poor medical care, limited disability, and forgotten about. Republicans love to start wars, but they don't want to consider what happens to the people they send there. Romney's great patriotic kids can go fight in Iran. I left my body parts in the desert already.

  11. Oh dude sorry. JD Spencer on that last comment. i didn't see the caveat!

  12. Your comment puts the stupid ones above it to shame. Your tragic story is all too common.


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