In reporting from Politico today, President Barack Obama is lagging behind Governor Mitt Romney by double-digits in veteran support. This appears to be especially true of veterans from post-9/11.
Republican media strategist, Elizabeth Blackney, states, “Romney’s quiet, respectful approach stands in stark contrast. He listens, he learns. His heart is true. That is what our nation’s defenders deserve.”
While we may never know the actual underlying reason why veterans tend to vote for Republicans, I have some ideas based on perception. After all, what we perceive tends to be our reality right? Spin-masters in DC love to tell us what to think. So here’s my two cents on the issue regarding perception.
My Voting Disclaimer
To be clear, I have voted for Democrats and Republicans and consider myself to be rather independent on most issues. I decide for myself what makes the most sense and vote for the politician who most closely embraces those ideals. I do this without worrying about the ridiculous “you’re throwing away your vote” concern. That’s a red herring in my view – this country has never existed solely on just Democrats and Republicans for its political parties.
Why Veterans Vote Republican
I think more veterans vote Republican because, while we were in the military, Republicans seemed like the ones who were funding our weapons systems and other military endeavors. Therefore, they appeared to be very “Pro-Military.” Then, there’s the matter of the Constitution.
It’s the Constitution, Stupid
I wanted to say this really badly when I testified before the Democratic Platform Committee a few months ago. Veterans love the Constitution. We do. Can’t get enough of it. And when you think about it, we did swear to defend and uphold that piece of hemp paper with our lives. So, our attachment to voting for the party that appears to support it “more” than the other party makes sense.
Republicans appear to be very “Pro-Constitution” when it comes to their rhetoric. To me, this is the bigger issue. Since we took and oath to defend that enormously important document, we also like to support political parties who look like they also want to protect the Constitution.
Since the GOP is the party of gun ownership and seemingly pro 2nd Amendment, most of us veterans like them. We also like the 1st Amendment – freedom of speech. We like to be able to speak our minds whenever and to whomever we choose. And by God, many veterans take full advantage of this liberty.
Vets Perceive Democrats as Weak on the Constitution
Meanwhile, we know Democrats appear weak on the 2nd Amendment (I’m not even going to go there on military issues, where most Democrats tend to lose – not all though.) In fact, as I understand the whole debacle on the Fast & the Furious in Mexico, the whole goal of that operation was to make an asserted attack on certain kinds of gun ownership. Tisk, tisk Democrats.
Then there is the issue of the 1st Amendment. Most immediately, I can think of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blasting the 1st Amendment after the Lybian Embassy attack. There were rumors of that anti-Muslim video was the reason the Ambassador was killed. Clinton went on and on in front of cameras about how there must be limits to the 1st Amendment…
Talk about embracing a crisis to support an agenda in classic Rahm Emanuel style – “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Democrats Support Disabled Veterans
On the other hand, Democrats tend to support veterans benefits, and as such, they are perceived to be the party to take care of the disadvantaged. I think this is very important. However, when it comes to votes, only the minority of veterans fall into this category. Plus, many veterans that do, also do not want to be thought of as needing handouts.
So, that’s my synopsis. Republicans appear stronger on military, stronger on 2nd Amendment, stronger on 1st Amendment.
Democrats are stronger on caring for the military after war.
What Benjamin Krause Thinks
Now, do I agree that Democrats are anti-2nd Amendment and anti-1st Amendment? No, I think there are many arguments on both sides of that coin. Republicans have not always been pro-2nd Amendment and pro-Free Speech, especially when the issue comes up relating to Big Business and donors. But, this article is not about facts here; this whole rant is about perception.
I want to know what you think!
Do you think that the President’s waning support has to do with his policies or a perceived weakness of Democrats on national security issues?