This is getting to be sad actually but John McCain is pulling his war hero card again, this time it is in regards to his lack of support for the new GI Bill. McCain was one of only 3 Senators not present (Ted Kennedy and Tom Coburn) yesterday when the Senate overwhelmingly passed Jim Webb's GI Bill 75-22. When Barack Obama called him on his absence, McCain declared that Obama has no right to criticize him because he didn't serve.
It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of. Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.
And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.
Since Senator McCain doesn't feel that anyone who didn't serve should be able to criticize him on veterans issues, I figured I could weight in. I served 9 years including during the first gulf war and I feel that your lack of a vote on this bill is in direct contradiction to your contention that you are pro-veteran. And while Obama has not served in the military, he did feel it was important enough to come off the campaign trail and vote, as did Hillary Clinton by the way. And it's not only this lone veteran blogger that thinks he is full of it, veterans groups are also aware of his voting record on veterans issues as well and it isn't pretty.
The recognition McCain has received from veterans groups is not “high awards” but failing grades:
— Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a grade of D for his record of voting against veterans. (By contrast, Obama got a B+.)
– Disabled Veterans of America noted McCain’s dismal 20 percent voting record on veterans’ issues. (Obama had an 80 percent.)
– In a list of “Key Votes,” Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) notes McCain “Voted Against Us” 15 times and “Voted For Us” only 8. (Obama voted for VVA 12 times, and against only once.)
Finally, where was the "pro-vet" candidate whom has already sewn up his party's nomination when he was criticizing a candidate whom is still battling for his party's nomination but felt it important enough to at least show up and vote on the bill? He was at a fund raiser in trendy Atherton, California getting $25,000 a pop for photos with the "war hero".
UPDATE: Firedoglake takes McCain's argument further documenting other prominent American's that should not be discussing veterans issues because of their lack of service in uniform.
So I guess that means Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Rudy Guiliani -- not to mention Mitt Romney, Charlie Crist, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson -- and of course Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Reynolds and pretty much every other right wing blowhard and elected Republican henceforth needs to STFU when it comes to military affairs, right?
And John, does that mean only those in Congress that served should vote on, or debate for that matter, veterans issues?
If our President didn't serve, can he be allowed to veto veterans bills?