On Memorial Day’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer explained why a recent Gallup poll of veterans showed that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a 24-point lead over President Barack Obama.
First, Goldberg, author of “The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas,” said that veterans tend to be the demographic that votes Republican, but there’s also an element of disapproval within that group.
“I spent part of my Memorial Day going over some of the demographics of veterans,” Goldberg said. “And it shouldn’t actually shock us that Romney is doing well. Veterans skew older, male, red state, to a certain extent southern, and that’s where the Republican advantage is generally is in the electorate, so it should capture some of that. At the same time, it seems to me that if you were a traditional military voter, you might have some serious problems with Obama. The way he sometimes talks about the military, he talks about the troops — it can often seem narcissistic, political, and rub people the wrong way. For example, the other day when he said that the military are fighting on his behalf. That is not the kind of thing that I think a lot of veteran voters really like to hear.”
Later in the segment, Krauthammer explained the historical aspects of the political parties and how they’ve been viewed by the military.
“I think it helps explain the huge gap between the Republicans, whether it’s a Romney or a McCain, in getting support from the veterans,” Krauthammer said. “It isn’t only demographic — it’s history. And the fact is in the Vietnam era, the Democrats were the anti-war party. And we heard Obama today doing essentially doing penance for a country that spat on soldiers who returned from the Vietnam War. And what he didn’t say is that in the large part that was the work of the American left; it wasn’t the work of American right who supported the war. And Democrats were the anti-war element in the country, the anti-war party — particularly in 1972. And they inherited the stain of this association with the left that really denigrated soldiers, which is the word that Obama used and he said it shouldn’t ever happen again, so in some ways he is trying to undo this legacy of 50 years. But that’s why for 50 years Democrats were always seen as the weak and anti-war party, weak on national defense.”
Krauthammer also cited the current budget situation, where looming sequestration cuts are set to hit defense budget the hardest hit.
“But it isn’t only that,” he continued. “It isn’t only the history. It continues. Democrats have for decades used the defense budget as a piggy bank for social spending. And we see it today — the sequester of half a trillion dollars which is going to happen, which the secretary of defense under Obama said would hollow out military and be a catastrophe. Republicans are opposing it and trying to get out of it. And what are Democrats doing? Leaving it in place and using it as a stick a and blackmail weapon against Republicans in return for trying to get increase in social spending or increase in taxes. So who stands up for the weaponry and the training and the protection that the soldiers will have to have? It’s the Republicans. So it isn’t only history and demographics, it is actually the standing of the parties on policy.”