by Mark Rhoads
One reason Democratic handlers have leaned so hard on the dubious "credentials" of Sen. Joe Biden as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (he is a very poor chairman), is to cover for both the lack of foreign policy experience or national security experience of Sen. Obama. After the Gallup poll found no bounce at all for the Biden selection over the weekend and in fact a two point bump for Sen. McCain, bloggers around the country started talking today about an interesting fact.
The Obama-Biden team is the first national Democratic ticket since the ticket of FDR and Henry Wallace in 1940 that does not include a candidate who has worn an American military uniform. It should be noted that Sen. Biden has a son, Beau, who is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard who may deploy to Iraq in October. Even former Gov. Bill Clinton, who very skillfully delayed and avoided two induction orders from his Draft Board in Arkansas, at least could say his vice presidential candidate had worn an Army uniform. Sen. Al Gore pulled the miracle of serving only four months in a public relations job for an engineering company in Viet Nam before he was sent home early and discharged early in 1972. In violation of Army regulations, Gore conspicuously wore his uniform while making a political TV commercial for his father, Sen. Al Gore, Sr., in 1970.
The last GOP presidential candiate with no military service at all either active or reserve was New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 whose reputation was that of a fighter against organized crime when he was a New York prosecutor. Except for Clinton, all other GOP and Democratic presidential nominees once wore a uniform--Army, Navy, or Air Force--from Ike in 1952 through Sen. John McCain in 2008. No military experince is required by the Constitution to run for president. But the lack of such experience does not make one particularly well prepared for the roll of Commander in Chief as we found out with Bill "Let's bomb the milk factory in Sudan" Clinton. Of all the GOP vice presidential candidates since 1952, only Jack Kemp in 1996 and Dick Cheney in 2000 did not have military service in their resumes.