One side touts Cleland’s immense sacrifice in war: he lost three limbs in a grenade explosion, and was decorated for helping wounded comrades during a 1968 rocket attack.
Other veterans point to Chambliss’ conservative politics and unwavering support of the military as outweighing Cleland’s service. That side won.
“This is about whether the liberal Democrats or the Republicans will be in control of the Senate,” said retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd of Marietta, who is backing Chambliss as vice chairman of the Veterans for Saxby organization.
That’s right, it isn’t about veterans or war heroes or who fought for the country and who didn’t. The VFW has joined the Republican Crony Club and that’s all that matters.
When the Republican Machine wants you out of the way, it won’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. War hero? Record of brilliant public service? Record of honesty in your business dealings? Forget it. And it doesn’t even matter how long you’ve on their side – when you’re in the way, you’re in the way and you’re in the way.
For some reason this takes me back to what happened to well-respected, honest, conservative, war-hero John McCain in the South Carolina primary against Bush. He wasn’t willing to play the crony game so the Republican Machine needed him out of the way. The crony candidate – Bush – a chickenhawk, foul-mouthed, alcoholic, drug-using, not-too-bright, spoiled rich boy with a history of failure in business and accepting bribes for his dad, and otherwise no particular resume. Military patriotism is a big deal in South Carolina, so the challenge was great. Remember what the Bush people did? Remember the rumors about McCain as being mentally deranged, being a “Manchurian Candidate”, being too angry to be the leader of a country, “the fag candidate”, and all that?
When you’re in the way, you’re in the way. War hero vs. chickenhawk? VFW chooses chickenhawk. South Carolina chooses chickenhawk.