Well, it’s not a wing of the Republican party, if that’s what you’re thinking…
I suppose I’m one of those people who has long subscribed to the idea that the United States military, while not 100% monolithic, was composed primarily of those who tended to lean toward the conservative side of the aisle, if not actually registered Republicans. I suppose that goes back to my own time in the service when it certainly seemed to be a prevalent attitude in the enlisted circles I traveled in. There’s also an understandable perception that those who are willing to put their lives on the line for their country would likely be strong on national security issues, traditionally a GOP strong point. Further, even in modern social media, the more prevalent “mil-blogger” voices you tend to see are conservatives. (Granted, that’s purely anecdotal from my own perception.)
Now, this is purely supposition on my part, but I wonder about the influence of Reagan here. The military was one of the least trusted, most disdained institutions in America in the post-Vietnam era. Pay for troops was abysmal, and the equipment shortages were awful. When Reagan’s defense buildup came to bear, pay levels rose greatly, and suddenly units had the equipment, spare parts, and funds to train and train well. Quality of life increased enormously. Is it any wonder that Reagan was rather well thought of?
And I think for a long time, that legacy is something that the GOP has coasted on. To be sure, GW Bush was pretty well personally liked by the troops. But then, I knew quite a few troops that really liked Bill Clinton.
At any rate, I knew a lot of liberal young soldiers. Maybe not very many of the Marxist troublemakers we see in the occupy movement, but a fair slice that would never dream of voting for a Republican.
And I’ve said it before, the Left’s disdain for the troops has always astounded me. They should be doing everything in their power to embrace the troops. They are exactly the cohort that the Left should be drooling over: young, idealistic, action oriented, willing to place an organization before themselves.
And yet, the Left never passes a chance to smear troops.