It’s rather well-known by now amongst those who care for matters political that Mitt Romney conveniently received a Vietnam War deferment for Mormon missionary work in Paris, France. This detail wouldn’t be so interesting if it were not for Romney’s pro-Vietnam war position activities in 1968, in which he staged a counter-protest to demonstrations against Stanford University’s draft-status tests.
Indeed, if he was so gung-ho about the anti-communist effort in Vietnam, why didn’t he simply bypass the draft and enlist? For Romney, religion was a convenient shelter. He was not ultimately interested in the blood and gore of battle but in the wars launched by men in boardrooms against other companies and, indeed, common people.
So it is with some wonder that a recent poll indicates Romney enjoys wide support from military veterans.
According to a Gallup poll, veterans account for 13% of the U.S. population, though it is mostly comprised of older men. “U.S. veterans… support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama for president by 58% to 34%, while nonveterans give Obama a four-percentage-point edge,” reports Gallup, which added, “Those younger than 50 are roughly as likely to support Romney as are those 60 and older.”
Perhaps the current veteran support for Romney is simply a function of many military folk traditionally voting Republican. The GOP is quite open about a robust defense budget, which signals (at least symbolically) no shortage of work for warriors. However, one is left wondering if the GOP’s penchant for war-making ever enters the veteran thought process. And when one considers the fact that President Obama has hardly cut the defense budget — indeed, he has maintained it — the bafflement only grows.
What veterans must see in Mitt Romney, a draft dodger who received three academic deferments after the gift of his religion, would be a source of curiosity if it were not so damned discouraging. Nothing in his personal and business biography indicates any sort of comparable life experience with the average veteran. But this is the version of America hatched from that acting hack Ronald Reagan. The genius of his method — and it was an acting method — is to adopt a role and project an image of success (financial and economic prosperity) that so stupefies an audience (voting population) that reason is rendered a mental after-thought.