FLORIDA, May 16, 2012 — If there was ever a demographic in which President Obama could be expected to find a lack of voter enthusiasm, it would surely be military veterans.
Not so, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Presumptive — finally — Republican nominee Mitt Romney trails him by seven points among veterans who reported enlisting after the Gulf War. Mack McDowell, a former Army master sergeant who “drool(s) over firearms”, once supported Ronald Reagan, but has since come to join Ron Paul’s fan base.
Paul has won the South Carolina retiree’s favor “because of his unchanging stand against overseas involvement.” Unsurprisingly, McDowell has sights set on supporting a candidate opposed to “knee-jerk reaction wars” this autumn, even if this means casting a ballot for you know who: “that Democrat”.
Considering that 32 percent of respondents believe the Iraq War ended in anything but a successful manner, a growing sentiment against internationalism should come as a given.
Two other veterans, both registered Republicans living outside of Columbia, stated that they supported Rick Santorum during this year’s nominating process. However, in 2008, each voted for Barack Obama. Aside from forming perhaps the most unlikely crossover to be heard of this election season, one remarked that “we can’t keep policing the world” after relating feelings of discontent over going to “war for George Bush.”
Despite facing widespread disillusionment about the nature of their overseas conflicts, the vast majority of recent veterans do not view the president on favorable terms. Only a meager 27 percent approve of his job performance, and 37 percent disapprove of him outright. The rest remain undecided.
After carefully studying the survey’s data, I do not think that most veterans are particularly happy with any group of politicians right now. It seems that it is the general direction of the country that has all too many bogged down, and honestly, who can blame them? While the fundamentalist isolationism of Ron Paul is simply too unrealistic for our age of globalization — which in my view is anything but a positive development — the emotional resonance of his message with war-weary Americans is easy to understand.
Hopefully, a foreign policy can be crafted in the near future that prioritizes the interests of the United States first and foremost. This would invariably draw core neoconservative and libertarian elements alike, riling up partisan purists to no end, but it seems to be the most rational course of action by far.
Needless to say, this would involve extensive compromise on Capitol Hill.
Given the prevailing environment of absolutism to the point of toxicity, I expect that common sense will not make a comeback for quite a while. As usual, what a shame that is.
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