What's in a VFW? A pile of manure by any other name would smell ...
November 8, 2006 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Veterans of Foreign Wars rejects veteran of foreign war. The election has passed, and the voters of Illinois' 6th Congressional District decided that 16-year veteran Maj. Tammy Duckworth will not represent them in the United States House of Representatives. A story worth highlighting, lost amongst the sturm und drang of pre-election coverage, is that Veterans of Foreign Wars chose to endorse Duckworth's opponent, Representative-Elect Peter Roskam, who never performed any military service, in contrast to Duckworth, who had both of her legs blown off and her right arm shattered when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her Black Hawk less than two years ago and still serves in the Army Reserve. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike (17 comments total)
Tempest in a teacup. Roskam had far more local ties to the district and political experience than Duckworth. Duckworth by contrast, was directly recruited to run by Rahm Emmanuel and had and came off as a DNC tool rather than someone who wants to represent Illinois. Also, in case you haven't noticed, veterans tend to be a conservative Republican bunch. Not making any judgments here, about the validity of the candidates or the race, that's just how it came off.
posted by Heminator at 11:05 AM on November 8, 2006

The only statement from the VFW as to why seems to be a confused one — NBC5 calls Joe Buttice the VFW's spokesman and quotes him as saying, "The endorsement [...] speaks for itself. He will take care of the local veterans." (In response to Buttice, one might then compare this to this, or this to this.) However, the Associated Press states that Buttice "did not know the details" and "was at Roskam's press conference on behalf of Ray Soden, a former Republican state senator as well as a past national commander of the VFW." The oddness is compounded given that the decision seems to have been reached atypically — most organizations choose whom to endorse after interviewing the candidate either live or by questionnaire, but according to Duckworth, no such polling was done in this case. Perhaps it was the Photoshop job that got to them, or one too many late-night NRCC robocalls pretending to be from the Duckworth campaign. Still, Duckworth's no stranger to disendorsements. Bob Dole dedicated his One Soldier's Story autobiography in part to Duckworth, calling her "a brave woman wounded in Iraq, who represents all of those with their own battles ahead of them, and their own stories to tell" and told Glamour that he "overwhelmed by [... Duckworth's] courage [and] with her determination" and said "she'll be an excellent candidate for Congress," but then decided to endorse Roskam. Duckworth, who the VFW felt could not take care of the local veterans as well as Peter Roskam, will most likely be continuing her Army Reserve duty and continuing her work with the Intrepid Foundation, an organization conducting fund-raising to build a rehabilitation center for other injured veterans in light of the poor response time of the Veterans' Administration.

veterans tend to be a conservative Republican bunch

Roskam: "The VFW is a bipartisan organization. It is an organization that has in the last election cycle 44% of their endorsements went to Democrats."
posted by WCityMike at 11:18 AM on November 8, 2006

Sometimes you lose close races.
posted by smackfu at 11:18 AM on November 8, 2006

Just to clarify — I don't live in the 6th, Duckworth didn't appear on my ballot, and I wasn't involved in her campaign (or in the campaign of any 2006 candidate, for that matter). This isn't a post complaining because my candidate lost. (In fact, even aside from the House sweep and potential Senate sweep, I'm rather chipper — I never expected Rich Whitney to win, but my vote was one of 300,000 that got the Green Party past 10%, meaning that the Green Party permanently on Illinois ballots.)
posted by WCityMike at 11:25 AM on November 8, 2006

So hypocrisy and the GOP are one again connected in this race?
I'm shocked! [grind, grind, grind]
And what Heminator said, she was too closely identified with the corporate Dems [GOP Lite] by voters.
posted by nofundy at 11:34 AM on November 8, 2006

No doubt - more swiftboating here - she was a "cut and runner," doncha know. I felt badly about this one -- and Ford in TN -- not just because I wanted both to win, but also because their races entailed some particularly dirty pool.

Ford will have a place in future elections. Hopefully Duckworth will too.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:40 AM on November 8, 2006

Newsflash! VFW revealed as cynical political organization! Joins the likes of NOW, the NRA, AARP, The National Review, the Green Party, the Catholic Church and the United States Supreme Court!
posted by aaronetc at 11:45 AM on November 8, 2006

All respect to Duckworth, but I wouldn't decide who gets my vote solely on the basis of who was a vet and who wasn't.
posted by orange swan at 1:20 PM on November 8, 2006

For the last post:

posted by Doohickie at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2006

...that is, for the last link in the fpp
posted by Doohickie at 1:29 PM on November 8, 2006

Likewise, VFW should not give out endorsements solely on the basis of who was a vet and who wasn't. And I'm rather surprised that some people here seem to expect them to.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:33 PM on November 8, 2006

I’m with you on the Whitney vote WCityMike, but you’re way way out of line calling the VFW a pile of manure.
It wasn’t the VFW that endorsed Roskam, or at least, it wasn’t a vote by membership (but hey, they’re horse shit anyway).
It was the VFW political action committee
Beyond that, nice research skills in simply pointing to the VFW site instead of the link which explains the endorsement process:
“Duckworth campaign representative called me in September to inquire about a PAC endorsement. I explained the process and the fact that a 22-question questionnaire had to be completed. This individual then asked if the Roskam campaign had received an endorsement. I said they had not, which was true at the time. No further contact was initiated by her campaign...”
“Our endorsement was about who was going to best serve the interests of the 40,600 veterans who reside in the Illinois 6th District in the United States Congress.”

How dare those big piles of manure at the VFW not knee jerk support the troops like liberals say right wingers always do, or rather, blindly support one ex-soldier who didn’t outline her position to them and instead support the candidate they think has a better chance taking care of 40,000 other soldiers. Yeah, they’re real pieces of shit alright.

I happen to disagree with their endorsement, but I understand where it’s coming from and the reasoning behind it.
But it would have been a miracle anyway if she beat the successor to Henry Hyde. Hell, it almost was, even though her campaign wasn’t that great. She was fighting the political war over Iraq, Roskam was talking about your property taxes.
Hey, maybe it was Diebold? Or is that only for when the Republicans win? (Anyone still going to be on those voting rights or is that going to get beached now that the Dems have won the way conservative fiscal policy and not having the government all over you like a cheap suit was ditched when the republicans were dominant.)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2006

I'm with DevilsAdvocate here. I don't see why the VFW should automatically endorse a veteran. They should endorse the candidate that they feel will do the best job.
posted by bookish at 3:24 PM on November 8, 2006

I knew Tammy when I was in college, albeit briefly. From our conversations, I definitely respect her committment to service and our country. However, I also think that Tammy would have ultimately been a Democratic puppet. My most sincere hope is that she get involved at a lower level of government, if only to establish her own credibility enough that she could go against the party line sometimes. Frankly, I think she is definitely smart and committed enough to represent us well, but I just don't think she'd have been able to assert herself individually.
posted by MrZero at 4:15 PM on November 8, 2006

Also, in case you haven't noticed, veterans tend to be a conservative Republican bunch.

If there is any truth to that statement - which I doubt - it is in a revision to the effect that members of veterans organizations tend to be conservative. We non-conservative veterans are often offended by the political positions the organizations take (because their leadership largely consists of coprolites), so we do not join.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:38 PM on November 8, 2006

I was just reading about this in the Thai papers, which were following her story because she's half Thai (she was born in Thailand to a Thai mother and American father). I don't know enough about the campaign to comment on the loss to Roksam, but I would like to point out that there's a photo of Duckworth with Burt Bacharach on her web site. I don't know what that means, though.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:43 PM on November 8, 2006

I’ll bottle the acid. That ‘manure’ crack got my goat.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:09 PM on November 9, 2006

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