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Band Of Brothers
February 8, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Band of Brothers is an organization of Democratic veterans running for U.S. Congress. Maybe you'll hear about their DC rally today on the news (but don't hold your breath). Currently, vets in the Senate are about evenly split among the GOP and Dems, but Republican vets are the majority in the House. This is likely to change if the Democrats take control of Congress in this year's elections, in which the Iraq War will be a primary issue. Has a White House full of chickenhawks destroyed the GOP claim as the military party?
posted by If I Had An Anus (41 comments total)

 
I'd not heard of this group, and I like them already. But my favorite is the chickenhawks link. That phrase always reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn; and, son, that always makes me, I said son, it always makes me, smile.
posted by OmieWise at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2006


I can't find any specific info on their site about the DC rally, except that it's today. Am I missing something? Where and when?
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:58 AM on February 8, 2006


Here, MrMoonPie. (Yeah, it doesn't seem well organized for getting general public out.)
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:04 AM on February 8, 2006


The challenge for Dems is to fight the stereotypes of liberals that the GOP goes all-out to propogate. Having veteran candidates helps, but it's not everything. The Dems need to make a stronger pitch on what they would do if they had power, rather than simply saying that they wouldn't have gone into Iraq and that Bush has messed everything up.

But the increasing number of veterans running as Dems is a positive sign. It'll be interesting to see if this group gets a lot of coverage.
posted by js003 at 7:29 AM on February 8, 2006


This is likely to change if the Democrats take control of Congress in this year's elections...

cool it, tiger.
posted by gilgamix at 7:34 AM on February 8, 2006


Are you certain that the Iraq war will be a "primary issue" in this November's election? Iraq's too much of a mess for Republicans to be proud of it and it's too easy to attack the Democrats as weak on defense for Democrats to want to come out hard for withdrawal. And the mess that John Kerry made of a third-way position suggests that Democrats won't like that either.
posted by MattD at 7:39 AM on February 8, 2006


well, the GOP has already said that terrorism and security are the issues for November, and the media (removing their faces from GOP asses for just a moment to say "sure boss!") already has gone along with them. And the majority of Americans don't feel safer, and think Bush has done a bad job on all that, of which Iraq is a giant part. I've heard troop reductions are starting this spring to try to help in the Nov. elections, but we'll see.

The vets running are getting more press overseas than here, i think
posted by amberglow at 7:47 AM on February 8, 2006


I, for one, am hoping against hope that the DEMs will find some mature voices to articulate a platform/position other than just abortion & that they can field a credible candidate that mainstream America can get behind (read, NOT Hilary). Fat chance....
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:51 AM on February 8, 2006


What do you bet all of these folks are lying about their service, and a group of real (Republican) vets will feel the need to set the record straight?
posted by brundlefly at 8:25 AM on February 8, 2006


I went to the rally, and got pictures. I'll post 'em when I get a chance.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:36 AM on February 8, 2006


Wow.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:40 AM on February 8, 2006


Has a White House full of chickenhawks destroyed the GOP claim as the military party?

Doesn't matter. They'll get hateful xenophobic Christian soccer moms to slap a puple band-aid on their chin and thus negate the accomplishments of liberal veterans with the consent of our retarded newsmedia and our even more deeply retarded public.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:02 AM on February 8, 2006


Military experience in politicians is overrated unless you're a career serviceman. Just because you work the register at McDonald's doesn't qualify you to become CEO later in life. It makes a nice story, but that's about it.
posted by b_thinky at 9:08 AM on February 8, 2006


MrMoonPie writes "I went to the rally, and got pictures. I'll post 'em when I get a chance."

Awesome.
posted by OmieWise at 9:10 AM on February 8, 2006


Way to completely miss the point b_thinky.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:12 AM on February 8, 2006


Military experience in politicians is overrated unless you're a career serviceman. Just because you work the register at McDonald's doesn't qualify you to become CEO later in life. It makes a nice story, but that's about it.
posted by b_thinky at 9:08 AM PST on February 8


Thanks for the sneak-preview of the 2006 election's Republican party talking point, b_thinky. Funny how y'all flipped your wigs in 1992 and 1996 about Clinton not being a veteran.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:12 AM on February 8, 2006


Here you go. Rick Bolanos was the best speaker of the bunch, I think--watch out for him. I got just the tail end of his speech on video (1.97mb .mov). I also spoke briefly to Lee Ballenger.

At the end of the set are a few shots of another rally I saw on my way back--some sort of NASCAR-sponsored thing about increasing diversity among auto workers. Or something like that.

I also saw a hawk circling overhead during the rally, and saw what appeared to be a Presidential motorcade leaving the Capitol.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:22 AM on February 8, 2006


Funny how y'all flipped your wigs in 1992 and 1996 about Clinton not being a veteran.

Funny, I remember that y'all said military service didn't matter when Clinton was running against WWII vets George H.W. Bush in 1992 or Bob Dole in 1996....
posted by Durwood at 9:23 AM on February 8, 2006


Funny, I remember that y'all said military service didn't matter when Clinton was running against WWII vets George H.W. Bush in 1992 or Bob Dole in 1996....

Clinton wasn't an advocate of permanent war.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:30 AM on February 8, 2006


Has a White House full of chickenhawks destroyed the GOP claim as the military party?

Don't ask, don't tell.
posted by three blind mice at 9:33 AM on February 8, 2006


Speaking as one who voted for Clinton in 1992 and 1996, I did, in fact, think military service mattered, and I was quite uncomfortable with Clinton's lack of service.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:49 AM on February 8, 2006


I did, in fact, think military service mattered, and I was quite uncomfortable with Clinton's lack of service.

I lean the other way. I am very nervous about the person in charge being someone who has been subjected to military programming.

It's great that people choose to serve and have feelings of duty ...etc versus being cavalier chickenhawks but and it is a big huge BUT - soldiers are taught to kill other people. A part of their humanity is stripped away by military indoctrination. I want the person with their finger on the button to have the qualms that people naturally have prior to boot camp.
posted by srboisvert at 10:01 AM on February 8, 2006


Dan Dodd is on that list and is running in the District where I grew up (the 3rd District). I like Dodd and would vote for him as I think he would be a fine Representative. I don't know how much traction he is going get, though, running as a Vet against Sam Johnson... the uber-vet. Dodd I think can pick up the seat when Johnson retires.

Charlie Thompson would also be a good candidate in the 5th District, but he isn't going to win because Budget hawk Hensarling is the Gramm protoge and has lots of love.

They should be running one of these guys in my district (32nd), but they aren't.
posted by dios at 10:16 AM on February 8, 2006


The challenge for Dems is to fight the stereotypes of liberals that the GOP goes all-out to propogate.


posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:37 AM on February 8, 2006


Hey, I spy Max Cleland. Good for him, and good for them--this is a win-win approach for my fellow Dems. I think (hope?) Americans have grown to understand what "swiftboating" means.

Take back the Congress in 2006? If only--my hopes are for positive gains in both houses, with the added bonus of many Republican candidates hiding from Bush (a la Kilgore in Virginia) rather than inviting him to their districts. Good times.
posted by bardic at 11:43 AM on February 8, 2006


The challenge for Democrats is media management.

Both Gore and Kerry were veterans that got painted by the Republican media management machine as "weak" compared to Bush's "strong." In spite of the fact that this had no relationship to reality whatsoever.

Running veterans is not enough -- the current Republican party has no problem trashing veterans, claiming they're "French," or crazy, or cowardly, or any other number of slurs that would make an actual decent human being sick.

Military service is not the issue. The issue is media management. Until Dems figure that out, they're in trouble.
posted by teece at 12:05 PM on February 8, 2006


The challenge for Democrats is media management.

Actually teece, the challenge for the Democrats is to come up with an idea. The party of "Oh look how evil Bush is" doesn't have a recognizeable agenda other than abortion.

Media management doesn't mean a damn thing if there is nothing to manage.
posted by three blind mice at 12:13 PM on February 8, 2006


And for the record, military service does not matter. It does not make a candidate good or bad.

Bush has service -- and he's a disgusting candidate, and the manner of his service reveals his character flaws.

McCain has service, and it shows he's endured great hardship, but doesn't tell you a hell of a lot else.

Kerry has service, and it shows he was willing to put his money where his mouth was, but little else.

Military service is not enough to give a politician a nod either way. A bunch of Dems with a military record punches some holes in the GOP myth that they "support the military" (which is actually support of large and private military contractors, not actual support of the military). A veteran is a teeny bit harder to smear as a surrender monkey, but that doesn't stop the GOP, so it's only marginally helpful as a political tool.

But it is always the candidate that matters, not one particular detail about the vocation. Military service never has been and never should be a requirement for office, either official or unofficial.
posted by teece at 12:15 PM on February 8, 2006


tbm, I'd say there's a virtue to undoing what Bush has wraught--bringing back fiscal responsibility (if not a budget surplus), international credibility, and no more body-bags.

As Republican talking points you make some sense, but my own belief is that Bush-fatigue is setting in about two years earlier than it does for other lame duck presidents, and a simple message is fine--people don't need magical policy initiatives, they just want some common sense. 60% of Americans seem to agree with me.
posted by bardic at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2006


tbm, I'd say there's a virtue to undoing what Bush has wraught--bringing back fiscal responsibility (if not a budget surplus), international credibility, and no more body-bags.

As Republican talking points you make some sense, but my own belief is that Bush-fatigue is setting in about two years earlier than it does for other lame duck presidents, and a simple message is fine--people don't need magical policy initiatives, they just want some common sense. 60% of Americans seem to agree with me.
posted by bardic at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2006


*stupid computer. sorry about that.*
posted by bardic at 12:18 PM on February 8, 2006


Thanks for the sneak-preview of the 2006 election's Republican party talking point, b_thinky. Funny how y'all flipped your wigs in 1992 and 1996 about Clinton not being a veteran.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:12 AM PST on February 8 [!]


Military service doesn't matter to me, unless you're a career military person. Otherwise, it says nothing about who you are today, only who you were 30 or more years ago. I was ineligible to vote for Clinton in both elections, so I haven't flip-flopped.

Way to completely miss the point b_thinky.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:12 AM PST on February 8 [!]


I don't see how I've missed the point at all. The point seems to be, "hey Democrats have veterans, too! We should have credibility on security issues based on what we did 30 years ago!" I don't think it works that way. I'd prefer to vote for the person and his or her leadership capabilities.

Today's politicians and media focus too much on superfluous characteristics (John Kerry fought in Vietnam! Barak Obama is BLACK!). it's really quite stupid.
posted by b_thinky at 12:34 PM on February 8, 2006


three blind mice: you've pointed out, yet again, another facet of the media management problem.

The Dems have ideas. It's falling for vapid GOP spin to pretend they don't.

In the dictionary (not polisci) sense of the word, today's Dems are the conservative party, and the Republicans are the radicals. In that respect, the Dems are going to have a harder time elucidating their message. But they've got one.

They just don't have the 8 second, infantile sound-bites that the Republicans do (small government, judicial activism, etc.). But those terms most certainly do NOT represent some ultra-coherent message on the part of the Republicans. Rather, they are marketing slapped on vague and shifting notions of what Republicans stand for.

Don't fall for the hype. Dems need the marketing, too (and that's their main problem), but they've already got a party with core beliefs, just like the Republicans.
posted by teece at 12:37 PM on February 8, 2006


b_thinky, did you forget to read the links again? Many of these guys are Iraq II vets.

As for the "media focus," you do realize Republicans set up their own news organizations to "report" on the swiftboat veterans, right?
posted by bardic at 12:50 PM on February 8, 2006


Funny how y'all flipped your wigs in 1992 and 1996 about Clinton not being a veteran.

okay, so now that hole is plugged. But the dems are still fighting the previous war. to mix metaphors just a bit.
posted by Miles Long at 12:58 PM on February 8, 2006


If Republicans don't like it, Democrats are finally doing something correctly.
posted by bardic at 12:59 PM on February 8, 2006


Certainly the statistic that in this single election cycle ~55 out of ~95 veterans running for Congress wear the Democrat label is very interesting in and of itself, regardless of their individual chances against incumbents (who generally have a 95% re-election rate). The group that Kos (a vet himself) calls Fighting Dems has spawned -- in addition to the Band of Brothers PAC -- a blog and a regular radio feature as well as multiple media profiles. (It's an intriguingly successful "brand".)

As bardic notes, perhaps the most interesting part of this is how many Iraq War vets are running. Out of nine, eight are Democrats.

I don't think military service should be an essential for any higher office -- that's the way toward Heinlein's Starship Troopers military state. But it matters to some, and it's significant that those with experience and unquestionable honor are interested in serving for the party regularly denigrated as having none. These folks are not going to be happy to be lectured by the likes of Hastert, Boehner, Frist, and McConnell. The Republicans may have an edge now in Congress based on raw numbers of vets, but their leadership shows a distinct characteristic.
posted by dhartung at 2:21 PM on February 8, 2006


This'll be good for the GOP. It'll give more Democrat veterans in Congress for Jean Schmidt to call "cowards" when they bring their experience to bear on key military questions.
posted by darkstar at 2:58 PM on February 8, 2006


Does anyone have a link to which congress critters actually have military service (not ones hiding out in the state guard to avoid war duty)?
Not that I'm questioning the statement in the FPP but I really would like to see it proven. I'm thinking if you exclude military academy education and state guard duty that those figures for GOPers serving would be way off.
Where did you get that information If I Had An Anus?
posted by nofundy at 4:57 PM on February 8, 2006


never mind [blush]
posted by nofundy at 4:58 PM on February 8, 2006


The Dems could legitimately make a stand on any or all of these values: (a) civil liberties; (b) worker rights; (c) stewardship of public resources; (d) foreign policy; (d) social security for the poor; (e) education and training; (f) appointment on merit; (g) fiscal responsibility; (h) a commitment to ending the Iraq war.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:53 PM on February 8, 2006


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