It's accepted wisdom that the veteran vote will go for McCain because he's "one of us."
Tell it to John Kerry. A recipient of the Silver Star who got his ass waxed by a weekend warrior and a draft dodger.
Before I tell you why veterans should not vote for a fellow vet, let me make a few obligatory caveats. I would have voted for McCain 2000. Jenny would have, too. We liked him back then, before he forgave all the shameless and scurrilous attacks unleashed on him and his family by this guy.
In fact, McCain is so forgiving that he's hired their author, Tusker Askew, to be on his team. I guess it's true, as LBJ said, that it's better to have the guy inside the tent pissing out than it is to have the guy outside the tent pissing in.
On a personal note, Jenny's brother is a graduate of the Naval Academy and I've often been welcomed by him and other Academy grads at pistol shooting competitions and, last year, their annual Army-Navy football celebration. I've never been with those guys when I didn't have a great time and I was proud to be included in their company. I expect they'll vote for their fellow classmate and comrade. I can understand that.
But they shouldn't. McCain's record is abysmal.
1. McCain has consistently voted against increased funding for veterans' health care. He voted against 5 different bills that would have raised money for VA hospitals and outpatient care. Three times he voted against the funding because it would have been paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.
2. In 2003, he voted against providing National Guard units in Iraq with needed helmets, tents, body armor and tactical vests.
3. Again in 2003, he voted to kill an amendment that would provide 32 million for safety eqipment for troops in Iraq.
4. This year, he voted against the GI Bill for the 21st Century. McCain and Bush were against it because the bill required only 3 years of service before the educational benefit kicked in. They said too many men would be encouraged to leave the service after only 3 years, and they didn't think that was enough sacrifice. They disregarded recruiters who testified that the educational aspect of the bill would replace as many men as the military would lose. Bush finally removed his veto threat. What did McCain do? He didn't bother to show up and vote.
On the other hand, here's what Senator Obama's proposed for veterans:
1. S.1180 authorizing programs to help homeless vets.
2. S. 3988 to improve veterans benefits and require accountability in the war on terror.
3. S. 2358 requiring accountability on VA hospital quality.
4. S. 3475 providing housing assistance for low-income veterans.
5. An amendment to S. 3144 to increase assistance to homeless vets.
So veterans, families, and friends of vets, I'm asking, as a veteran, for you to look again at who really has your back. Is it McCain, who voted against body armor and bullets for men in the field, or Obama, who is trying to improve the lives of veterans while in theater and after they return home?
I think the answer is clear. But don't take my word for it. Look it up, do your homework, and then consider voting for the man, and not the uniform.