Saturday, June 10, 2006

How do Democrats get militrary/Vet votes?

This Diary at dKos focusses on the issues that Democratic politicians might use to try to get votes from the military and veterans which are currently going to Republicans.

This is a good start. However, I think that the "Tribal Identity Politics" that Digby and Atrios have written about come into play here. The military is a classic tribal group in America, and have consistently belonged more to the Repubulicans than to the Democrats since at least as early as the end of the Civil War. The military is also a closed cultural group. You don't join it without going through testing and an extensive indoctrination process, then all leadership positions are achieved from within the group. [The exception was the Democrats from the South who were the losing military of the Civil War, and Nixon's Southern Strategy incorporated them into the Republican Party in 1972.] So how do we Democrats break into the military tribal identity? Here is Digby:
"I am concluding more and more that we are dealing with a pre-modern political situation in a post modern world. It's not about issues, it's about tribal identity. We have to start thinking in terms of how to communicate our ideals and our vision in symbolic terms. Go for the gut, not the head. My view is that we can do this by using our sacred political symbols to illustrate what we believe in. People use the Bible and that's just fine. But it isn't the only game in town. "This Land Is Your Land" can bring a tear to the eye as well."
Here is one thing that will NOT work! Democrats cannot treat members of he military as people who were desperate for job training and had to join. They are not people who look at a problem and automatically wonder what size bomb or artillery round will make it go away (though they have the skills. They also generally know which problems war cannot solve. Unlike civilians like Cheney and Bush.)

People in the military want to be recognized for their experience and expertice, and want to be asked for their help. They don't want to be lectured by ignorant students and "Lefty's" who consider all things military to be rejected. Someone whgo has not been in the military is unlikely to have any clue about what the military is all about.

Murtha is respected by the military because he has been there. Senator John Tower of Texas (1961 to about 1984) was higly respected because he had served in the Navy as an enlisted man and remained in the naval reserve ~without using his political position~ to get a naval commission. He remained an enlisted man until retiring from the reserves.

The trouble with military identity politics is that it is not easily written about. It is something that military and veterans will recognize if it is there or if it is not, but whatever it is, comes from having been there.

Based on this, I think the Democrats ought to make a special effort to recruit ex-military people to run as candidates. Then run the issues by them, and get their responses. Finally, let military and ex-military edit (and even reject) policy proposals.

And if the Lefty's and Peaceniks don't like it, we can just line them up and machine-gun them down. Right? [*]

[*] If you don't recognize a joke, you won't get along with military people. But the wrong joke will lose them. That's what tribal identity politics is all about. I just threw out one that should lose rabid Lefty's. Different tribe, you see.

1 comment:

mike said...

I couldn't join the Marine Corp, my parents were married so I had to go in the Army, thanks for the link to my diary here is my regular work website for veterans and my online magazine (blog) lol thanks for the push I appreciate it