A must-read article on the appeal of Obama with the Marxism-is-good crowd, those still dreaming of a socialist America, has been written by Kyle-Anne Shiver for National Review Online. She skillfully pulls it all together for the reader. I found myself nodding in agreement and appreciative for the voice she presents that represents a great many of us of a certain age. She aptly says we've been there, done that, grew up and the old Marxists hate us for it. They support Obama because they view him as their last shot at taking over.
I listened to a really interesting panel on C-SPAN over the weekend on their Book TV programming. From the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a panel of authors gathered to speak to an auditorium filled with Army staff and military men about the books they each recently wrote. The subjects were varied but the connecting thread was the need for a larger, professional military. A military that encourages its ranks to make the commitment a career. This was particularly timely as it was Memorial Day weekend and the GI benefits legislation had been bantered about in the Senate last week.
This being an election year, and Senator Jim Webb, (D-VA), a Vietnam veteran with a son in the Marines (like McCain) and grand visions of furthering his political capital by playing to his strength, was chosen to push through a bill of extending benefits for veterans. No problem with that, I personally feel we can't give them enough, but the process would have been honest if the competing bill had not been blocked by Harry Reid, Majority Leader, and not allowed to be voted on. Why? Because McCain was a sponsor of the legislation. The Graham-Burr-McCain was not given a vote on the floor. The Democrats, who promised 'bi-partisanship' and allowing opposition votes once they took over in 2007, lied again. Just like their candidate currently ahead in the Democrat nomination process. He has no history of bi-partisanship either, though he promises it on the stump.
The biggest perk to the Graham-Burr-McCain bill was the ability for the veteran to transfer educational benefits to a spouse or child. As candidate Obama was pandering to an audience with veterans included, on Memorial Day weekend, he said Saturday in Puerto Rico, "I don't understand why John McCain would side with George Bush and oppose our plan to make college more affordable for our veterans. George Bush and John McCain may think our plan is too generous. I could not disagree more." The Democrat talking points are to link Bush and McCain in as many sentences as possible and to do the meany Republican thing. How original for the candidate of change.
The point Obama misses is that the Graham-Burr-McCain bill is more efficient and actually includes a major benefit that the veterans cry out for. As military families move from base to base so frequently, the spouses hoping to continue and finish college are unable to afford the tuition and aren't in one location long enough to meet residence requirements for federal grants. This has been a problem forever and there was actually a chance to fix the problem. It's a shame.
Webb's bill convinces soldiers to go in and serve 3-4 year commitments and then leave. Graham-Burr-McCain encourages career military. As re-enlistment quotas have been met and exceeded, in all branches, already this calendar year, it seems only right to provide what they ask for from the government. Webb's bill expands benefits after only one enlistment. The alternative bill provides a sliding scale of benefits - the longer the service, the greater the benefits. I know, it just makes too much sense for the government. And politicians looking for a headline. Encouraging attrition and slapping spouses and children of the military was the easy way out.
I think it becomes even more clear why President Reagan fired Webb after only 7 months as Secretary of the Navy. He's a cocky, foolish man. He is more interested in personal points than the greater good.
Some Republicans supported the bill, most thinking it was better than not having one. They were wrong and one was from my state. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson voted with Webb. It's a shame. Word is she isn't running for another term when this one is up and she is eyeing the governor's office.
Senator John Cornyn, seeking re-election this year, held strong for the veterans and those currently serving by supporting the alternative. He knows any soldier can leave the military with a two or four year degree if he/she wants it. Educational opportunities are on every base and more are online for those at more remote locations. Over $4500 in tuition assistance per year for those on active duty to attend courses is available without the student even touching the G.I. Bill. Did you know that? Some bases, like Fort Irwin, schedule class so that there is no conflict with rotations. Courses are condensed which means less classroom time.
Cornyn deserves applause for his support of the military spouses and children. We, as a country, owe them the best benefits, too.
Cornyn's Democrat challenger chose to politicize the issue on Memorial Day weekend, too. Unlike Cornyn, who attended a military funeral instead, the Democrat (no name, no publicity here) said "Texas needs two senators fighting for our veterans and our families. It is reprehensible that Cornyn supports keeping our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but refuses to provide for our soldiers once they return home. As a public servant, as a soldier and as a Texas, I am ashamed of Cornyn's continued efforts to deny our troops the benefits they earned defending the United States." Too bad he and Obama have chosen to show their support by turning a deaf ear as to what the military is really asking for.
It's an election year.
"As we meet, in Iraq and Afghanistan, American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are fighting bravely and tenaciously in battles that are as dangerous, difficult and consequential as the great battles of our armed forces' storied past. As we all know, the American people have grown sick and tired of the war in Iraq. I understand that, of course. I, too, have been made sick at heart by the many mistakes made by civilian and military commanders and the terrible price we have paid for them. But we cannot react to those mistakes by embracing a course of action that will be an even greater mistake, a mistake of colossal historical proportions, which will -- and I am sure of this -- seriously endanger the security of the country I have served all my adult life." Excerpt from McCain's Memorial Day Remarks, New Mexico Veterans Memorial, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Somehow that sounds more sincere to me than Obama stating he sees 'fallen heroes' in the audience. Huge gaffe from such an educated man. He sees dead people. "On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes - and I see many of them in the audience here today- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong". And, to boost the pandering, another family story gaffe about a great uncle who he referenced as 'a uncle' (again with the poor grammar from a Harvard Law grad) though his mother was an only child. Claimed he came home from freeing the survivors of Auschwitz. Oops.
The panel authors and books were: Marybeth Peterson Ulrich- "Democratizing Communist Militaries", Peter Feaver - "Armed Servants", Dale Herspring -"Rumfeld's Wars", Matthew Moten - "The Delafield Commission and the American Military Profession", and Don Snider - "The Future of the Army Profession."
Support the troops with greater benefits. And their families.