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Monday, September 29, 2008

Ex-generals and admirals back McCain over Obama by 4-to-1 margin

My latest guest-post at HughHewitt.com compares the respective tallies of ex-generals and -admirals who've endorsed John McCain and Barack Obama to become the next commander in chief.

Obama had an impressive line-up, literally, on stage at the DNC before his acceptance speech. But the total numbers aren't remotely close.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)


America's men and women in the military are, of course, comprise a diverse group that includes conservatives, moderates, and liberals, Democrats and Republicans and others. In August, an article in Roll Call announced that a group of about 60 former generals and admirals were "helping [Barack Obama] shape his national security policies and defending the first-term Senator against charges that he lacks the experience to be commander in chief." Quite a few of those appeared on stage during the run-up to Sen. Obama's acceptance speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, and watching them, I thought that was one of Sen. Obama's best moments during the convention.

Retired generals and admirals for Obama at 2008 Democratic National Convention

Sixty is a lot. But two hundred and forty is more. According to a report in Monday's WaPo, fully four times as many former generals and admirals support McCain: [# More #]

McCain has never attracted huge crowds and mass followings the way his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, and his own running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have. But throughout his campaign, the former prisoner of war has enjoyed the fervent backing of a fraternity of veterans and their families, who rallied to his cause even when he looked like a sure loser in the Republican primaries and now provide a key core of support in the final days of his quest for the presidency.

More than 240 retired generals and admirals have endorsed McCain, and veterans — mostly older ones who fought in Korea and Vietnam — form the backbone of his campaign's "victory centers." They travel the country to tell the story of McCain's imprisonment in Vietnam, they man phone lines, and they push fellow veterans to give McCain money and support....

Veterans along the way said they support McCain partly because of their shared experience and partly out of concern for the nation's security. Although polls show that terrorism and the war in Iraq have faded as issues for most voters, they remain prominent in the minds of veterans, many of whom said they do not trust Obama to run the military.

Popularity among the troops isn't a perfect guide to who would make the best commander-in-chief. During the Civil War, Gen. George B. McClellan was enormously popular among the troops of the Army of the Potomac, whose pride and polish he had restored after the disastrous First Battle of Bull Run. When Lincoln booted McClellan in November 1862 because he seemed unwilling or unable to close with Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in order to bring the war to a violent conclusion, that was a very unpopular decision among those troops.

But by November of 1864, those troops had been convinced that despite the vastly higher casualty rates they were suffering under the leadership of Gen. U.S. Grant — the first general Lincoln had found who was willing to "pay the butcher's bill" needed for victory — they nevertheless preferred victory to stalemate or defeat. Accordingly, by an overwhelming majority, they voted for Lincoln's reelection, abandoning their once-beloved general, McClellan, who was by then Lincoln's Democratic opponent.

I don't know if McCain's electoral margin among all present and former military members will match his 4-to-1 ratio of endorsements by former admirals and generals. But suffice it to say that notwithstanding Obama's own impressive list of former generals and admirals, and his not insubstantial support from present and former military personnel of lower ranks, the Obama-Biden campaign is very, very glad that their electoral prospects on November 4, 2008, don't depend on winning the current or ex-military vote.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 01:57 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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