BRODER BEING BRODER…. The basic gist of David Broder’s new column is that President Obama may have angered the left with his decisions on military tribunals, photos of abused detainees, and delaying DADT repeal, but he’s really just begun to take “on the mind-set and priorities of a commander in chief.”
It’s a strange argument. In fact, it’s not really an argument at all. Broder didn’t weigh in on whether the president’s policies are correct; he merely concludes that the president “has learned what it means to be commander in chief.” Why? Because Obama has moved away from some of the positions he took during the campaign. It’s not exactly a persuasive pitch.
But more troubling is Broder’s case that Democratic presidents struggle more with national security issues, in part because “the prevailing ideology of grass-roots Democratic activists has been hostile to American military actions and skeptical of the military itself.” If Broder has any evidence to back this up, he chose not to include it. He added:
…Democrats really are isolated from the military. Harry Truman had been an artillery captain; John Kennedy and Carter, Navy officers. But Bill Clinton did everything possible to avoid the draft, and Obama, motivated as he was to public service, never gave a thought to volunteering for the military.
Consider a slightly different take. George W. Bush avoided Vietnam and failed to complete his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard, while Dick Cheney sought and received five deferments. In the House, neither the Minority Leader nor the Minority Whip served in the military. In the Senate, neither the Minority Leader nor the Minority Whip served in the military. Prominent Republican governors eyeing the 2012 presidential race — Jindal, Sanford, Palin, Romney, Crist — have no military background. Leading Republican voices outside government — Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck — chose to never wear the uniform.
Does Broder believe Republicans “really are isolated from the military,” too?