"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, August 10, 2012

Military Need Not Apply... But Has Anybody Noticed?

In looking back at previous presidential tickets and races, it's significant to notice the number of candidates with military experience.   Some were heroes, some pretended to be heroes, others did their service honorably if not heroically.   But there were a lot of men with military experience.   George H.W. Bush.   Bob Dole.   John Kerry.   John McCain.    Al Gore served.   Dan Quayle and George W. Bush were in the National Guard.   It was news that Bill Clinton had actively avoided the draft during Vietnam.  

But look at who we know will be on the parties' tickets in 2012.   Barack Obama.    No military experience.   Joe Biden.   No military experience (five draft deferments for school in the 1960s, followed by 4-F status due to his asthma... which doesn't seem to have kept him from being a complete blowhard).   Mitt Romney.   No military experience (and, in fairness, he also got draft deferments).

So the only spot left is the Republican VP slot.   But consider who's up for that position:

  • Paul Ryan.   No military experience.
  • Tim Pawlenty.   No military experience.
  • Rob Portman.   No military experience.
  • Bobby Jindal.   No military experience.
  • Marco Rubio.   No military experience.

I'm not saying that it's an absolute requirement that men (or women) who run for national office have military experience.   I'm just noticing that none of these men have it, and I doubt whether we've ever had an election where none of the major party candidates had any military experience at all.  

If I were waxing large on the subject, I might argue that a civil society in which those who would govern are so disconnected from the experiences of those who would serve the country in the military is, or could become, dangerous.  

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