Draft Dodger Republicans

War Memories

There aren’t many Republicans who actually served in VIetnam, despite being gung-ho for that war, and any other. George Bush the Stupider served, half-heartedly at best, in the Texas National Guard, but Dick Cheney and other Chickenhawks just evaded military service.

Like Donald Trump:

The suggestion that Trump, the son of a wealthy and well-connected developer, might have cut corners to avoid military service could conceivably hurt his standing with the Republican Party’s base — where reverence for the military tends to be particularly pronounced. In that sense, it’s notable that the issue is being flagged by someone at the National Review — another sign, perhaps, that elite, opinion-shaping conservatives are eager to marginalize Trump.

Whether Trump’s lack of service actually turns into a big story remains to be seen. But that it’s come up at all provides an excuse to point out that the 2012 campaign cycle might be the last one in which candidates have to worry at all about being tagged as “draft-dodgers.”

Besides Trump (if you want to count him as a serious candidate, which we are not inclined to), the prospective GOP field contains three men who would have been old enough to serve during Vietnam: Mitt Romney (who was born in 1947), Newt Gingrich (1943), and Mitch Daniels (1949). None of them actually served — and each has faced his share of questions on the subject over the years.

Romney, for instance, received a two-year draft deferment because of his stint as a Mormon missionary in France; when he returned to the United States, he then received a high lottery number and was never called to serve. When he was a first-time political candidate in Massachusetts back in 1994, Romney explained that “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.” This story seemed perfectly suited for the electorate of the only state that voted for George McGovern in 1972. But when he set out to run for the GOP presidential nomination more than a decade later, Romney changed his tune, claiming that not serving was “one of the two great regrets of my life…I’d love to have.”

Gingrich, meanwhile, received student and family deferments (he married his first wife in 1962, at the age of 19), and Daniels got a student deferment and then — like Romney — caught a break with his lottery number and was never compelled to serve. Mike Huckabee, who was born in 1955, was technically old enough to serve toward the very end of the war, but no one from his birth year was drafted and forced to serve.

(click here to continue reading The last hurrah for the “draft dodger!” charge – War Room – Salon.com.)


There’s a database of a few listed here (they haven’t updated to include Trump)

When an American male (or an especially belligerent female) makes the challenging transition from late adolescence into early adulthood, he is faced with many decisions. One certain, specific combination of choices will result in his becoming a chickenhawk: choosing to “support” war, while also choosing not to serve in the military. His motto becomes: “Let’s you and him go fight; I’ll hold your coat.”

Depending on external circumstances, such an individual may become one of three varieties of chickenhawk: • If there is no draft, and the nation is at peace, the individual becomes a Common Chickenhawk; • If there is a draft, and the nation is at peace, the individual becomes a Chickenhawk First Class; • If the there is a draft, and the nation is at war, the individual becomes a Chickenhawk First Class with Distinguished Fleeing Cross.

We currently have 154 Chickenhawks listed in our database.

(click here to continue reading The New Hampshire Gazette » Chickenhawk Hall of Shame.)

For the record, I would have been a draft dodger too, but also an opponent of the war in general, in contrast to Chickenhawks like Donald Trump.

1 thought on “Draft Dodger Republicans

  1. Katie says:

    Very interesting topic, Seth. I didn’t realize that this may be the last presidential election with candidates who were old enough to fight (or in this case, not fight) in the Vietnam War.

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