Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER
Some adaptation is necessary for almost every president because few experiences can really prepare them for the challenges [of becoming Commander in Chief of the military] Obama described to Meacham. George W. Bush went through it after Sept. 11, 2001, subordinating his domestic agenda to focus on the terrorist threat -- and never changing.
But the step is harder for today's Democratic presidents than for their predecessors -- or their Republican contemporaries.
And a third reason is that today's Democrats really are isolated from the military. Harry Truman had been an artillery captain; John Kennedy and Carter, Navy officers. But Bill Clinton did everything possible to avoid the draft, and Obama, motivated as he was to public service, never gave a thought to volunteering for the military.
As opposed to George W. Bush, who got out of serving in Vietnam due to his daddy's connections, then skipped out on his National Guard Duty?
And, since Broder made the broad claim that "today's Democrats" (not just recent Democratic presidents) "really are isolated from the military" due to a lack of military, what about Dick Cheney, who had "other priorities" than serving in Vietnam? Or Newt Gingrich? Or these Republicans?
There are 96 military veterans in the House of Representatives, and 25 in the Senate. That leaves more than 400 members of congress who are not veterans. I'm not going to bother counting them up by party; suffice to say: there are a lot of Republican members of Congress who didn't serve in the military. Broder's suggestion that Democrats, and only Democrats, are isolated from the military because of a lack of military service is nonsense.