I'll bet that John McCain will be the last person ever nominated for president by either one of the major parties that will have served in Vietnam. In fact, he may be the last person who served we get to vote for in either party for president for the next four or five elections. I started thinking about this after reading this grim Grim post (via Instapundit). You will need to read that post for this to make much sense. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Of the Democrats who either ran this year, considered running this year, or might otherwise be considered, Al Gore, James Webb, John Kerry and Wesley Clark served in Vietnam. Of these, only James Webb can be taken seriously as a potential nominee, but I don't think his hawkish credentials will appeal to the Democrat's base and he's burned his bridges with Republicans. Amazingly, of all the remaining Democrats on the horizon I can think of only Mike Gravel has ever served in the military. This represents a major cultural shift from, say, the 1970's or 1980's. Oh, and claiming to have suddenly remembered that thirty years ago you maybe wanted to consider the possibility of perhaps examining the feasibility of joining the military doesn't help matters much.
Of the Republicans who either ran this year, considered running this year, or might otherwise be considered, aside from John McCain, Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter served in Vietnam but neither of them are ever going to be nominated for President. Even more amazingly, there are no other Republicans on the horizon I can think of who have ever served in the military. This represents a major cultural shift from, say, ever.
The only wild card exluded from this analysis is General David Petraeus. I don't know if he is a Republican or a Democrat. Hard to imagine the Democrats and their thousand little tribes of activists embracing him. Almost as hard to imagine the Republicans embracing him, though for entirely different reasons. The cultural shifts alluded to above are going to continue to make it more and more difficult for someone to come out of the armed services and get nominated or elected to the highest office in the land. Our politicians are as much a reflection of society as vice versa. Honestly, it makes me almost wish we would reinstitute the draft. Otherwise, the folks in uniform and the ethos they represent are going to continue to be further and further marginalized in the halls of power and Big Media.
I find this a little troubling. Not that a a president has to have served, but that no one running for the office for perhaps the next twenty years is likely to have served. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" may be kind of hard to understand, debate and articulate through policy when no one competing for the top job has ever bothered to pick up a stick.
DOWNDATE: Another Instalanche. Thank you sir.Posted by Charles Austin at April 6, 2008 11:19 PM