It was a bold move to smear a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, given the fact that their own ticket consisted of one man who spent those same years keeping the skies of Texas safe from Oklahoma kamikaze pilots and another who smugly insisted he had "other priorities" during the '60s. (Apparently, the Intelligent Designer made the "shame gene" an optional feature, like rack-and-pinion steering or a moon roof.)
While I was impressed by the party-über-alles attitude of the modern GOP, I couldn't help but think that their nonstop mockery of our military veterans might somehow chip away at the loyalty of military voters. The shabby treatment they've received at the hands of the Bush administration -- ranging from poor planning for the war, to the extended tours of duty, to the massive cuts in pay and benefits -- couldn't have helped either. And then a longtime supporter of the military like Jack Murtha speaks up on their behalf and what happens? More swift-boating of a military vet.
With all the disrespect shown to our military men and women by the Republicans -- notwithstanding the noble sacrifice made by putting a "Support the Troops" magnet on their SUVs -- you'd think that the troops might start reconsidering which party they support. And it seems they have.
In an op-ed piece in today's New York Times, former Reagan-era Secretary of the Navy James Webb notes that we're seeing a sea change in the party identification of rank-and-file soldiers:
The political tactic of playing up the soldiers on the battlefield while tearing down the reputations of veterans who oppose them could eventually cost the Republicans dearly. It may be one reason that a preponderance of the Iraq war veterans who thus far have decided to run for office are doing so as Democrats.Well said. And, given the massive numbers of Iraq veterans who are running for office this year as Democrats -- and the nearly complete lack of ones running as Republicans -- you've got to think he's onto something.
A young American now serving in Iraq might rightly wonder whether his or her service will be deliberately misconstrued 20 years from now, in the next rendition of politically motivated spinmeisters who never had the courage to step forward and put their own lives on the line.
While the ascendance of a new generation of Democratic veterans is a great thing for the party in terms of its attitudes towards foreign policy and national security, the three dozen "Fighting Dems" who are being promoted by Kos and Air America aren't just strong voices on foreign policy. They also seem to be strong voices for a liberal vision of America at home, too.
Check out what Iraq veteran and candidate for the U.S. Senate Paul Hackett has to say:
Hackett said he opposes capital punishment – too much risk of executing an innocent person – for everybody except the fool who violates his family and home. "Break into my house, we won’t have to worry about the application of the death penalty. It’s going to be a simple 911 call: Come pick up the body."Heh. Fighting Dems, indeed.
With succinct coherence, Hackett said: “I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-gayrights, I’m pro-gun-rights. Call me nuts, but I think they’re all based on the same principle and that is we don’t need government dictating to us how we live our private lives.”
Asked to define being pro-gay rights, Hackett said anybody who tries to deny homosexuals the same rights, including marriage, as every other citizen is un-American. Are you saying, he was asked, that the 62 percent of Ohioans who voted in November 2004 to constitutionally deny same-sex marriages are un-American?
“If what they believe is that we’re going to have a scale on judging which Americans have equal rights, yeah, that’s un-American. They’ve got to accept that. It’s absolutely un-American.”
Of all the miracles that Karl Rove and his associated assclowns have pulled off in the last few elections, we might just be seeing the greatest this year -- a new wave of Democrats who embrace liberal politics without hesitation or qualification. The Swift Boat guys sunk the hemming-and-hawing approach of John Kerry, and it looks like they might have just bought themselves a couple decades of Paul Hackett and his fellow veterans as a result.