Wednesday, February 20, 2008

US electorate shuns soldiers

There is an old belief in the United States that a military career helps a political career.

Who knows why? Experience killing foreigners may have been thought to give one the intestinal fortitude to attack and kill on a larger scale as commander-in-chief. The suspicions of post-traumatic stress disorder may have been thought to give one an advantage in negotiations (e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis). Or perhaps it may have seemed that a person who had experienced war would understand war better and consequently be less likely to allow war to occur.

But, in fact, Americans have a long record, in the last 3 decades, of choosing the candidate who has NOT served (who?) in the military.

1980 Carter (Navy) lost to Reagan (film set, imaginary wars)

1984 Reagan beat Walter Mondale (US Army)

1988 *GHW Bush (Navy pilot) over Dukakis (US Army, Korea, 1955-57)

1992 Clinton beat GHW Bush (58 combat missions in the Pacific)

1996 Clinton beat Dole (US Army, right arm paralyzed by German machine gun fire)

2000 GW Bush (National Guard slacker/cokehead/drunk) beat Al Gore Jr (US Army journalist in Vietnam)

2004 GW Bush beat John Kerry (US Navy, Silver Star, Bronze Star, 3 Purple Hearts)

That is 6 times out of 7 where the person with LESS military experience won, and one election where both candidates had military experience, and the one with more experience won.

Perhaps government has come to be seen as a profession for which mass killing is inadequate preparation. Yes, these days, there is more to government than just killing, (my friends).

On that basis alone, John McCain has over an 85% chance of losing.

John McCain: Bob Dole warmed over.

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