Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Monday, November 24, 2003  

Dean has admitted to dodging the draft. Is this a serious problem?

Howard Dean, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has admitted dodging the Vietnam draft, obtaining a medical deferment for a back condition and then spending 10 months skiing.

Asked if he could have served 33 years ago despite his back condition, Dean told the New York Times: "I guess that's probably true. I mean, I was in no hurry to get into the military."

My guess is that this will be the most damaging in the primaries, but probably not particularly so even there. And in a general election, you could make the argument that it will work to his advantage. As the war in Iraq grows worse by the day, and stories of poor treatment of soldiers become more common, parallels between Iraq and Vietnam will become increasingly obvious. This will bring into sharp focus the judgment of a government who didn't seriously consider an optional war. Dean can point out that bad policy is bad policy, and it's not unreasonable for young men and women to want to avoid having to pay the price for the failures of arrogant chickenhawks. And of course, if Bush presses the draft-dodging issue too hard, he will open himself to criticisms of his own embarrassing military record. So I think Dean will weather this storm.

On the other hand, you might reasonably see this as further evidence that Dennis Kucinich as the superior candidate. Not that I'm, you know, partisan or anything.

posted by Jeff | 7:53 AM |
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