After the last 8 years it still seems, surprisingly, that the military vote is swinging Republican. You would think after Iraq, Afghanistan, Walter Reed, and the healthcare scandals the military would be looking for a change in leadership.The main argument seems to be that, "Bill Clinton cut the military in the '90s which is why we are short people today." But when I try to tell them the guy with the brilliant idea of drawing down the military was a SECDEF named Rumsfeld under his 1st tenure in the 80's I get nowhere.
It is engrained in the military mythology that the democrats cut the military in the 90's when we didnt need a large military and they are going to do it again. No mention of 2xSECDEF Rumsfelds smaller leaner force. Or his compadre Cheney's involvement either.The other issue seems to be this meme within the military that Republicans are better for National Security and the military. For instance, arguing with one of my cohorts the other day after John McCain announced his VP pick. He didn't even know that McCain had said he would keep us here (in Iraq) for "100, how about 1,000 years." After I told him that and someone else verified it for him his whole mood changed. Like I had just told him there was, indeed, no such thing as Santa Claus.
You used to find a disparity in the miiltary where the officers tend to be more conservative and the enlisted tend to be more liberal. This paradigm no longer pertains. Now there is no telling who is for what. You will find that the more time a person has spent deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, or the more that deployment has affected their life via injuries physical or mental that they tend to lean more Democrat in this election. I think it has more to do with the change agent than is has to do with party affiliation.
I dont think the false memes will ever be destroyed completely but I do feel that Obama and Biden could make significant headway in the military vote if they just keep forcing the message that they believe in a strong national defense. If they reiterate the plan to continue with increasing the size of the military and doubling the size of Special Operations Forces. I think a good show of faith would be considering keeping SECDEF Gates in place unless he wants to resign.
Obama's plan and regard for the military just hasn't penetrated. The historical memes put in place. It is something that will have to be reiterated over and over again. And visiting a large post like Fort Hood and holding a town hall meeting would go a long way. Especially since half of the post, like me, is deployed right now.
It still surprises me how often people are convinced to vote against their own best interests.