The Military Vote Is Not in the Bag for McCain


Martha Raddatz of ABC News interviewed U.S. soldiers in Iraq (who had just finished listening to a pro-war speech by Dick Cheney) about the political issues at home that most concerned them, and which candidates they were supporting:

Though the military is not supposed to engage in partisan political activity, these soldiers spoke out about their personal endorsements, and their opinions are likely to matter. In 2004, 73 percent of the U.S. military voted for a presidential candidate, and officials believe it may be even higher this time around.

PFC Jeremy Slate said he supported Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because of his stated intention to pull out of Iraq right away.

“That would be nice,” Slate said, “I’d like to be home, yea.”

You can listen to the interviews on video here.

Far right bloggers are complaining about selective interviewing and biased reporters:

I don’t want to imply that Martha approached scores of soldiers in order to cherrypick a few that she found pleasing to her agenda, but does anyone really believe that a majority of today’s military has forgotten Democratic efforts to disenfranchise them in 2000? Or the humiliation of the Clinton era, including mass force reductions and an awful sacrifice in Mogadishu that was thrown away by the C in C?

I don’t know about “a majority of today’s military,” but perhaps the soldiers Raddatz interviewed have more immediate concerns than what the Democrats did or did not do eight years ago, or even farther back in the past.

Mark Kilmer at Redstate goes the “liberal bias” route:

Remember, folks, a small collection of anecdotes chosen to tell the story a reporter wants to be told is not scientific, is not journalism, and is indicative only of the reporter’s dishonesty. It is not news that some of our soldiers are registered or even partisan Democrats who support their party’s potential candidates; after all, they come from amongst Americans. It is disingenuous to misrepresent the words [of] a few of them to attempt to indicate that the entire military supports Obama because they believe Iraq is an unjust war which we should surrender immediately. That is the province of Barry and Hillary and Raddatz; our soldiers can speak for themselves without the journalistic spin.

I believe that is what they have done, actually — but it’s not to Mark Kilmer’s liking. And as Steve Benen points out, the suggestion that Martha Raddatz has an antiwar agenda is not supported by the video footage:

I suspect a conservative would watch or read the report and conclude that ABC was only showing troops who expressed support for Dems, but that seems unlikely. Martha Raddatz almost seemed to try be second-guessing the troops’ responses (if I’m not mistaken, at one point, she told one Obama-supporting soldier, “But [Obama] wants to pull out of Iraq right away?” That’s not even fully accurate, and it’s not the kind of thing a reporter who’s trying to get pro-Democratic responses would say.)

Steve is right; Raddatz did make that response to the first soldier interviewed on this video. She responded in the same way, just leaving off the “right away,” to another soldier who named Barack Obama as his choice for president.

Bottom line: Despite the pro-war bloggers’ accusations, no one is saying that everyone in the military — or even most of the military — plans to vote for the Democratic candidate in November. But gung-ho support for staying in Iraq and “completing the mission” is not necessarily something the right can take for granted anymore, either.

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One Comment on “The Military Vote Is Not in the Bag for McCain”


  1. […] MILITARY VOTE IN THE BAG FOR JOHN MCCAIN? There are indications it is not and that has sparked a big debate on ever-polarized […]


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