Theodore's World: Military Experience Rare Among '08 Field

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April 10, 2007

Military Experience Rare Among '08 Field


The 2008 presidential campaign is long on war rhetoric and short on warriors. Despite the high-profile roles of the battle against terrorism and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the presidential campaign, few of the candidates can claim military experience on their resumes.


* Delaware Sen. Joe Biden - None. Rejected for medical reasons, but would have been eligible in a national emergency.

* New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - None.

* Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd - Served in the Army Reserve (1969-75).

* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards - None. Draft number was never called.

* Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich - None. Was rejected for military service because a heart murmur.

* Illinois Sen. Barack Obama - None. Too young to have been drafted for the Vietnam War.

* Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico - None. Received student and medical classifications. Draft number was never called.


* Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback - None. Came of age as draft was ending.

* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - None. Received student and occupational deferments. Draft number was never called.

* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - None. Came of age as draft was ending.

* California Rep. Duncan Hunter - Served as an Army paratrooper and Ranger in Vietnam (1969-71).
Also his son, a Marine, has completed two tours of duty in Iraq.

* Arizona Sen. John McCain - Served in the Navy (1958-81); prisoner of war in Vietnam (1967-73).

* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney - None. Received a deferment as a Mormon missionary in France, was eligible for the draft upon his return to the states but was never selected.

* Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo - None. Received student deferments. Was available for military service in 1969. Reclassified in 1970 because of stress-related anxiety and could have been called up only during a pressing national emergency.

Congress has also seen a drain in the number of members with military experience.

Only 131 members have had some form of military service, according to a Congressional Research Service report. During the 93rd Congress from 1973 to 1975, 390 veterans served.

Even if a military background isn't essential to voters, a sense that a candidate can handle the role of commander in chief remains important to most Americans.

Wild Thing's comment.........

I am not saying that serving in the military is a qualification for President, John Kerry is a perfect example of why that’s not true. But personally I think it helps in the times we live in now to have someone that has served in the military and have that connection to be Commander in Chief.

At least that is what I would wish for, but he would have to be a Conservative and not a Rhino.

Posted by Wild Thing at April 10, 2007 12:50 AM


Warriors don't have to have served in the military.
There are plenty of us out here--those who's spirit is that of a wolf or an eagle--who will do what is right when everyone is telling us it's wrong, to protect what we have.

Posted by: Lynn at April 10, 2007 06:05 AM

I'm very much impressed with Duncan Hunter's military background.

What strikes me as funny is the news media calling Sen. Clinton's position on the Senate Armed Services Committee "military experience." It's a joke.

Posted by: Nathan at April 10, 2007 06:41 AM

Military experience, for a male, is important to me. If Tancredo dodged the then draft via "stress axiety", then he just went off my "for" list. It looks like Fred Thompson has no military experience. Duncan Hunter is the person I am backing right now. He impresses me even beyond being a combat vet.

Posted by: TomR at April 10, 2007 09:14 AM

Is Military experience that important for a candidate ? If so, to what extent should it be a qualifier? We have had General become President From washington, Grant, McKinley and a few others from that era, then we had IKE, all the command level Generals who became President were unremarkable as presidents.

That said I don't think being on the Armed Services Committee qualifies(Hillary Clinton) for Military experience. The idea should be, I think, is that the candidate served and didn't necessarily try to avoid it because of whatever circumsatnces.

To me Bill Clinton was one, I didn't think should have even been considered with his record.

I think the candidate has to have a dedication to his country, its people and its culture. When a candidate like John Kerry, who we know actively, tried to sell his country out, runs for President, it says volumes about him and his supporters. That man Kerry is a traitor.

One thing Military Service does say about Duncan Hunter is that he has been consistent for the last 40 some years in what he believes, I like him.

I also like Tom Tancredo, Tommy Thomson, and Fred Thomson.

Dick Cheney, is one of our best leaders and would make a great President and he had deferments during the Vietnam War, but again it is his consiseancy over the years to his country.

So to me the bottom line is are they foursquare for this country and what it stands for, from our soverignty, to its constitution. They have to be a ligitimate conservative: Less Government, Less Taxes, and more individual freedom.

And most importantly they have to have a spine ala Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: Mark at April 10, 2007 11:19 AM

I like Mark's assessment, I don't much care about prior military service either. We're not electing a soldier or even a general officer, they can be too myopic although a former servicemember has a better understanding of the military neeeds.

As Mark stated we've been there and they were unremarkable. Imagine Wesley Clark for prez, yeah it turns my stomach too.

I want a leader that puts the United States interests before everything else, one that protects and upholds our Constitution, one who is conservative, a leader who believes we should remain sovereign and have a strong standing army for our defense, a leader that doesn't try to micromanage and has the strength to select good delegates and appointees to carry out the diverse roles of governing the country.

If that leaves out Condi Rice, Colin Powell or some other U.N. dependent sycophant so be it. This is the United States not the United Nations States, I'm fed up with our leaders sucking up to the UN everytime we are attacked when the proper response is a swift and severe punitive retalliation.

I see very few out there with the courage to slip on those shoes. It doesn't have to be a male, although I find the press's assessment about Hillary Clinton's position on the Senate Armed Services Committee being "military experience" as a qualification as funny, she's qualified to be something else too I suspect. Her presidential attributes is not one of them.

It might be a Duncan Hunter or a Fred Thompson or a Tom Tancredo, but who ever it is they'll have to support more than a single cause, with border security being only one issue. Until that happens we are stuck with the Harry Reid - Nancy Pelosi malaise, thanks to the ongoing support of the RNC.

Posted by: Jack at April 10, 2007 12:19 PM

"Bush invites Dems to discuss war funding" (AP)

Why not, just once, invite them to kiss your ass?

Posted by: OINK at April 10, 2007 02:38 PM

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd - Served in the Army Reserve (1969-75).

I wonder how the Democrats and MSM are going to play Dodd for being in the Reserves during Vietnam?

Posted by: BobF at April 10, 2007 07:08 PM

Lynn you are so right, there are a lot of people that are warriors that have never served in the miltiary. I love the way you put it too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:06 AM

Nathan I am impressed with Duncan Hunter too, and I just wish he would get more coverage in the media. They give coverage to Rudy and McCain and some others but very little to Hunter.

Time will tell how well he does. We need a conservative so badly.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:08 AM

Tom, I am so concerned with this next election. The way thigns have been going, the hate for Bush from the left and there being soooo many Rhino's running, plus so many Rhino's that are going to vote for Rudy and McCain.

This country is at a turning point I think, we need strong leadership that is conservative. I feel so much that we are outnumber. Not a good feeling. But I remain positive and hope and pray things turn around for all of us and for America.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:12 AM

Mark, thank you, I love how your and others input help me put my wishes and thoughts too in a better and clearer way.

I am a big Cheney fan, always have been, I know he can't run, due to health reasons for one thing. But I would have loved it if he could have. You are so right about his not being in the military and at the same time being perfect for being President.

I was so devastated when Clinton actually got to be President and was a draft dodger, it just did something to me, to my heart I think. It drove the importance of service home even more. But in Cheney's and Thompson's case of course then it does not matter to me. I agree with you. yessss

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:16 AM

Jack, I agree,.."I want a leader that puts the United States interests before everything else"....and with the other things you said as well.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:20 AM

Oink, I heard today on Laura Ingram that Bush said that the illegals have no way to enter this country legally. I about fell off my chair.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:21 AM

Bob, the dems will turn things into whatever they want. It is always a double standard for them. sigh

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2007 12:23 AM