Romney no military service

Top conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie in a Saturday statement scoffed at Romney’s description of his own tenure as Massachusetts governor as “severely conservative” in a Friday speech to CPAC.

Viguerie insisted that in 50 years of work in Republican politics, he’d never heard Romney described that way.

“Romney has shown, once again, that he can mouth the words conservatives use, but he has no gut-level emotional connection with the conservative movement and its ideas and policies,” said Viguerie, chairman of, who has endorsed Santorum.

Conservative Pundits Find Romney Disengaged, and Say That’s Puzzling

…by serving as a missionary and being given the deferment, Romney ensured that he would not be drafted from July 1966 until February 1969. Romney’s draft record from the time describes him as a “minister of religion or divinity student.”

…Romney has denied that he sought to avoid the draft. Asked years later about his lack of military service, he said, “I was supportive of my country. I longed in many respects to be actually be in Vietnam and be representing my country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.” But on another occasion he seemed to contradict himself, saying, “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligble for the draft.” 62

Like many members of his generation and class, Mitt Romney did not serve in the military during the Vietnam War. Others, like Dan Quayle and George Bush, sought refuge from the draft and possible service in combat arms, by enlisting in the Guard.

Mitt Romney, would-be president of the 0.001%
We keep hearing that Romney is a moderate, but his economic policies make Reaganomics look like socialism

John Stoehr, Saturday 14 January 2012 09.26 EST

Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of engaging in ‘class warfare’. Photograph: David Allio/Corbis

An old photograph of Mitt Romney has surfaced and, understandably, both liberals and conservatives are disgusted. Taken in 1966 by the Associated Press (and dug up by Buzzfeed), it shows a 19-year-old Romney rallying in support of the expansion of the Vietnam war and the military draft. The current Republican frontrunner would later win a draft deferment on the grounds that he was a Mormon missionary. Like George W Bush and Dick Cheney, Romney is a rich man who loves war as long as someone else is doing the fighting.

We can – and should – judge Romney by the content of his character, but if our judgment ended there, it would be a shame for thinking people. Isn’t this a structural failing, as well as a personal one? After all, Romney wouldn’t have been able to dodge the draft if it weren’t for the implicit power of the American class system.

As you know, the dominant myth of this country is that we’re all equal even when some of us are clearly more equal than others. It hardly needs mentioning that if you’re the son of George Romney, a governor and former corporate chief executive, you have friends in high places far, far away from Indochina. And it hardly needs mentioning that most of those 58,000 working-class teenagers killed in Vietnam did not.

Yet, Romney is able to say with a straight face that President Barack Obama’s economic policies are plainly meant to incite “class warfare”. Just before he won the Iowa caucuses last week, he told a small audience that Obama aims to “substitute envy for ambition and poison the American spirit by pitting one American against another”.

I know. Envy, right? And ambition! Neither is going to help when you’re chronically overworked or underemployed, or upside down on your mortgage or trying to get the health insurance company.

The idea of unity is also hard to take from Romney, the former head of Bain Capital. That Wall Street firm looted companies and laid off thousands of workers. To him, if deregulation and low corporate taxes result in the 99% fighting over crumbs, well, that’s the just the free market. If we start wondering why corporations aren’t paying their fair share, well, that’s getting downright divisive. Or worse, socialist.

Speaking of which, let’s make one thing clear. Obama’s economic policies, no matter your politics, saved American capitalism. There was enough panic in the air that he could have nationalised the banks, as they did in Europe, Iceland and Great Britain, but he didn’t. He could have made the stimulus three times as big (as some passionately urged him to do), but he didn’t.

If he were a socialist, he’d push for an 83% tax on top earners, which, according to a new study (pdf) [this may be an innacuarate link], wouldn’t hurt much. If he were a socialist, he’d at least attempt to argue that establishing such a rate is justifiable, because individual income above $1m a year is just greed.

But Obama would never do that, because he’s a true believer in old-school Reaganomics. Anyone not blinded by the fact that he’s the first African American president of the United States can see that.

You’d think Romney would have a plan for establishing a level playing field from which hardworking Americans, armed with pluck and determination, would be able to reach for the stars. But he doesn’t. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Romney’s $6.6tn tax plan would save the middle class an average of $1,400 per household while saving the 0.001% an average of $171,000. Before you say, “the rich earn more so save more,” consider this: Romney’s plan adds $600bn to the deficit in 2015. Who’s going to pay in three years’ time? You already know the answer.

When it comes to shared sacrifice, some share more than others. The American ruling class has always had a knack of persuading the 99% that the 1% are not the ruling class. This is America, after all. If I’m rich and powerful, it’s because I earned it. It has nothing to do with being born into wealth, influence and social standing. Only a socialist would think otherwise.

Three decades of neoliberal economic policy have calcified this view, and if the 2012 presidential contest is about anything, it should be a referendum of those failed policies. Wealth does not trickle down – no matter how many times Romney and other Republicans insist it does. While Obama has offered too few remedies, Romney is offering more of what got us here: cutting taxes for “job creators” who don’t create jobs. In other words, Romney is a rich man who loves capitalism as long as someone else does the losing.

“We would never be on this path if it were not for George Romney,” said Romney’s wife, Ann, during the Iowa caucuses. She meant that her father-in-law, the former governor of Michigan and head of American Motors, was an inspiration to her husband.

Even so, I’m sure that’s true in more ways than one.

The choice facing the US in the November 2012 election
A Congress – half of whose members are millionaires – was at its obstructionist worst last year. But Americans can change that

Chris Miller, Sunday 15 January 2012 14.37 EST

As the recent tax debacle shows, our Congress, led by the GOP-held House of Representatives, cannot agree even on the things they agree on, such as extending the payroll tax break for working-class Americans. The debate in Washington should never have wandered away from jobs.

Republicans argue that average Americans need to endure benefits cuts, tighten their belts and forgo revenue to decrease the debt in order to give more to so-called “job creators”, the very people who arguably caused the situation in the first place, because doing so might create jobs. Conservatives are willing to support the interests of the wealthy over those of average people; they’re willing to let the crew drown to save the ship.

In truth, anyone that spends a nickel in this country is a “job creator”. That title isn’t reserved for the upper crust.

America shouldn’t be run like a company – because it isn’t a company. In tough times, a company can batten down its hatches through layoffs, furloughs, cuts and hiring freezes. The main purpose of any enterprise is profit, and survival of the company is more important than the well-being of its individual employees. Many companies are taking these actions now to survive.

That is not so with America, nor with any nation. Americans are not just employees able to seek employment elsewhere. They cannot be cut loose by their government, especially not when many are already receiving such treatment from employers. Though the long-term health of America is vital, the purpose of this country is to protect and serve its people – not to profit from them or stay in the black while they go under.

We should not forget that it was oversized want of profit by our biggest banks that created our current downturn, not government spending or debt. These banks asked government for a bailout and they were given one. They requested it; it wasn’t forced on them.

Businesses are laying-off employees and not hiring new ones because of this situation, not because of government debt or taxes. Excessive debt, taxation and regulation did not cause this problem; high risk-taking, over-leveraging and profit-seeking-gone-wild did. Excess caused this. Now, average Americans are being asked to bear the burden, leaving many still wondering when their bailout is coming.

Some Americans have taken to city streets and to parks across the country in recent months to show their disgust at the situation. These Americans have been called lazy and dirty whiners who should just get a job. As someone who has a great deal of experience standing for hours in the sun and sleeping in the rain and snow for what I believe in while serving in the military, I have a different take on it. Anyone who is willing to do that deserves to be listened to.

And veterans such as me have much to complain about; among young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, unemployment is almost three times as high as the rest of America.

I and my family, like most Americans, are among those with less. Others have paid more into the system. However, for three generations, the men in my family have served America at war. My grandmother was a bookkeeper who raised 6 kids. My mother was a nurse. My aunts, uncles and cousins are union members, teachers or worked with troubled kids. Though there are others who have paid more money in, the rest of us have contributed as much in kind to building America to have a place here.

America needs real leadership from its elected officials. We need congressmen and women who will serve those they represent – and not some interest group or their own interests. Congress should not be a place people go for decades to get rich, nor should it be a hereditary or anointed position. There is a problem when only 20% of our congressmen served the country in the military, but nearly half are millionaires.

Public service needs to be about service again. Congress needs tough fighters for the average people, for their jobs and for their interests. As a soldier, service to the country and fighting hard for those I serve is what I’ve done my entire life. Fighting hard for us in Congress should be no different. If we want to change Washington, we need to change the type of people we send there, not simply change the party in charge.

This year, Americans will be presented with a choice. I hope and believe they’ll make the right one.

About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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