VFW endorses … Senator Ma’am?

posted at 2:40 pm on October 11, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The VFW has a history of tilting towards liberals, but this seems rather stunning.  Barbara Boxer, who dressed down a general in a Senate hearing for calling her “ma’am,” won the endorsement of VFW’s political-action committee yesterday.  The move also comes despite Boxer’s votes to curtail military spending — or perhaps because of them:

Accenting again the campaign focus she has placed on veterans’ affairs, Sen. Barbara Boxer on Sunday formally opened a veterans’ center at Pasadena City College and was later brought to tears by a forceful defense of her record by Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii,  a highly decorated member of Congress.

Inouye joined Boxer for her formal endorsement by the political action committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, whose California chairman also praised Boxer’s work on behalf of veterans. …

As Boxer spoke, a few dozen protesters chanted outside the PCC meeting room where she spoke, repeating “Don’t Call Me Ma’am”–a reference to Boxer’s request years ago that an Army Corps of Engineers general call her by her title rather than “ma’am” in a hearing.

Fiorina has been critical of Boxer’s record on military issues, including Boxer’s vote against a military spending bill that Boxer opposed because she said it did not outline a clear exit strategy from Iraq. On Sunday after speaking at a civic affairs conference hosted by the Iranian American Jewish community in Century City, Fiorina said the VFW PAC had  “lost a great deal of credibility because they’ve demonstrated once again that all they ever do is endorse incumbent politicians.”

“There are a great number of veterans who are offended by Boxer’s refusal to support our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Fiorina told reporters Sunday. “There are veterans who are offended by the way she dressed down a general, and there are, unfortunately for the VFW PAC, now a whole lot of veterans who are offended by the decision the VFW PAC has taken.”

One could understand endorsements for Democrats in the House and Senate with more moderate records on defense, such as Jim Webb in the Senate, who refused to go along with the retreat strategy demanded by Boxer in Iraq.  Barbara Boxer has worked on veterans’ affairs bills in the past, but mainly on broadly popular benefits bills.  There is no evidence that Carly Fiorina would have worked any the less on those issues, nor does it appear that the VFW made much of an attempt to check it.  Remember that the VFW — like NOW — had the option of simply not endorsing anyone at all.

It’s a safe bet in most midterm cycles for lobbyists to back an incumbent.  It may even be a safer bet in this cycle in California to back Boxer’s incumbency.  But I wouldn’t necessarily guess that they’ll be on the winning side this time, and in the meantime, it more or less exposes the rather cynical calculation of the VFW in its endorsing process.

One veteran outraged by this decision is Orson Swindle, who worked on the John McCain campaign and now works on Fiorina’s campaign.  I’ll be speaking to Swindle in bonus minutes on today’s TEMS.


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There goes my renewal. Buh bye, VFW.

Has the American Legion done any endorsing, I’d hate to lose that drinking establishment too.

Bishop on October 11, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Heard this on the Blackfive blog. I have already cancelled my membership, and mailed my membership card back to the national headquarters. VFW has done this consistantly (endorsed Dems) BUT id you look at this year’s endorsements, SIEU couldn’t do better. Example, endorsed Barbara Lee, WHO FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS HAS REFUSED TO RECOMMEND ANYONE TO ANY OF THE MILITARY ACADEMIES.
American Legion still backs the veteran, the VFW BACKSTABS the veteran.

codekeyguy on October 11, 2010 at 6:12 PM

The VFW-PAC is a twisted lot of Vietnam Vets, with only one WWII vet still nominally on the Board of Directors, and a few members who never saw military engagements, including a secretary. The VFW can’t endorse, so the PAC was organized to do the endorsing. But both their websites fail to specify what the determining factors are, beyond whoever will support veteran causes the best. And the boards response for endorsing a slew of Democrats all running against conservative veterans is that being a veteran doesn’t of itself guarantee the PAC’s endorsement. Sick.

maverick muse on October 11, 2010 at 6:14 PM

I heard the VFW national members, including the national commander, who is conservative, are up in arms about the VFW PAC that was created in 1979 and are going to get rid of it next August.

But by that time it will be too late. They really should have anticipated the damage the VFW-PAC, which is not part of the VFW, was going to create.

Gabe on October 11, 2010 at 6:25 PM

This is very disappointing, Barbara Boxer, of all people.
The democrats over and over have shown their disdain for the Military. I stopped quite a few years ago paying any attention to whom groups endorsed and support. The leadership of these groups speak only for themselves and not the rank and file. Unions are a very good example. Not all Union members are democrats but Union leaderships come out strong for democrat candidates. The VFW endorsing Barbara Boxer is just as shocking if we found that NAACP endorsed and supported David Duke.

flintstone on October 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Having active campaigns by credible conservative candidates is forcing liberals who have been hiding in the shadows to expose themselves.

And then the new media blogs are doing a great job of spreading the info rapidly as it comes to light.

This shows Conservatives are making tremendous progress!

Keep up the good work fellow patriots!

Only 22 days until Election Day!

Although judging by the number of phone calls and emails I have received today from friends who are making their voting decisions, early voting is actively in progress in California!

wren on October 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

I’ve said it before, the VFW has lots and lots of Boomers, until they die off or there is more of us from Afghanistan and Iraq that join and remove these fools, this kind of stupidity will continue.

LincolntheHun on October 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM

VFW, WTF?

MikeknaJ on October 11, 2010 at 6:35 PM

She only likes them when they’re done serving the country, she holds only contempt so the ones who are still serving.

Scrappy on October 11, 2010 at 6:45 PM

The VFW has certainly lost their way. The entire CA House and Senate delegations (can anyone say Ron Dellums?) had been deplorable in their support for the military the last 35-40 years. Commissions that decided to close the many bases in CA certainly took revenge in how hard they decided to hit the state with closures.

Ft. Ord, The Presidio, Mare Island, Angel Island, Moffet NAS, Norton, McClellan, Mather, George, Castle AF Bases, Concord, & Pittsburgh NAS, and Sacto Army Depot are just a few of the facilities I can rattle off in a moment. Boxer’s support of veteran’s facilities regards her SEIU and Fed employee union constituents, nothing more.

jfshaughnessy on October 11, 2010 at 6:49 PM

The VFW is not the VFW PAC, and it looks like the VFW is about to do some house cleaning:

VFW Leadership at Odds with VFW-PAC

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 8, 2010 – The national line officers of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are at odds with the VFW Political Action Committee (PAC), calling the methodology process used by the PAC “seriously flawed at best this year and in immediate need of extensive review,” in the wake of the recent congressional endorsements made by the committee.

“Even though the law requires that VFW-PAC be a separate organization, the acronym ‘VFW’ is attached to the committee and the natural assumption is that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is somehow making the endorsement decisions. Nothing could be further from the truth, but perception is reality,” said National Commander Richard Eubank.

“Obviously, an organization’s political positions have to reflect the opinions of its members. But those opinions can’t be perceived as ‘off the wall,’ and the methodology used this year to grade candidates obviously is skewed in favor of the incumbent. That isn’t fair, and it actually subverts the democratic process.”

Because of the controversy surrounding the endorsements, VFW line officers have decided to bring the question of continued existence of the PAC to the floor during the 112th VFW national convention in August.

Richard L. Eubank
National Commander

Richard L. DeNoyer
Sr. Vice Commander

John E. Hamilton
Jr. Vice Commander

Chuckie on October 11, 2010 at 6:54 PM

http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5596

Chuckie on October 11, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Nice.

Scrappy on October 11, 2010 at 6:58 PM

I am beginning to see how we got into this mess. A while ago I read about the insane NRA action, and now this.

As Pogo once said: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Our country is doomed.

lsheldon on October 11, 2010 at 7:01 PM

As a Vietnam Vet living in CA, I often wondered why I was never overly attracted to joining the VFW, even though I am proud of my service there, yet I have had a lot of animosity towards LBJ and his class of clowns that sent us there to fight a war they had no intention of winning, and then the Democrats that cut-off war funding for the South Vietnamese, which resulted in a blood-bath after the Communists took over.
After the VFW-PAC’s endorsement of Boxer, I am realizing that perhaps I made the right decision, after all….

DL13 on October 11, 2010 at 7:17 PM

This can be explained by O’Sullivan’s Law, named after the National Review writer: All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.

Ref: O’Sullivan’s First Law -An Eternal Truth

slickwillie2001 on October 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I just wrote them…it wasn’t nice. (US Army (Ret))

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 7:40 PM

I’ve said it before, the VFW has lots and lots of Boomers, until they die off or there is more of us from Afghanistan and Iraq that join and remove these fools, this kind of stupidity will continue.LincolntheHun on October 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM

I wish you wouldn’t lump all “boomers” into this and anxiously await our demise. I’ve been shot at in a couple of garden spots and am US Army Ret. I never joined VFW because I am not a joiner and I look ahead, not back. Their endorsement of a Senator that insulted a serving Soldier, who was being highly respectful, validates my decision to not join. Next on my list is the NRA who endorses Dims that vote anti=2nd’s to the judiciary.

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 7:47 PM

DL13 on October 11, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Ditto

Wade on October 11, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Well I dont support the VFW any more.
and I am going to write them a letter so they know that.
They support the person in florida that is against Col West. funny that jerk has ZERO military experience.
Time cut the ties the bind.

ColdWarrior57 on October 11, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Cold Warrior57:

They support the person in Florida that is against Col West.

Please cite a reference. Understand: I’m on your side and hope that LTC West will be sitting behind Odumba at the next State of the Union as the Speaker of the House.

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 8:22 PM

I’ve said it before, the VFW has lots and lots of Boomers, until they die off or there is more of us from Afghanistan and Iraq that join and remove these fools, this kind of stupidity will continue.

LincolntheHun on October 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM

VFW might become regulated to secondary position entirely; Paul Rieckhoff’s group might supersede it. I don’t think they endorse candidates.

And Dingbat63, Weekly Standard sourced it.

Cr4sh Dummy on October 11, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Something stinks……….

This inexplicable choice, the NOW insanity, Beck going AWOL and Barack O’Reilly carrying DNC talking points with ever increasing frequency and vigor. Looks like the fix is in for November…..

All Hail the Messiah!

dmann on October 11, 2010 at 8:35 PM

I am disgusted that they refused to endorse West.

Grunt on October 11, 2010 at 8:38 PM

And Dingbat63, Weekly Standard sourced it.

Thanks. That is outrageous! VFW members…hello????? Have you expressed your outrage?

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 8:40 PM

As far as I am concerned, they do not represent me or any other veteran who served in war overseas.

pilamaye on October 11, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Maybe they represent the John Kerry type of Vet. I hear he was in Vietnam, you know.

cobrakai99 on October 11, 2010 at 8:46 PM

They support the person in Florida that is against Col West.

Please cite a reference. Understand: I’m on your side and hope that LTC West will be sitting behind Odumba at the next State of the Union as the Speaker of the House.

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 8:22 PM

VFW PAC’s list of endorsements

West is running in Florida’s 22nd district, opposing Ron Klein. Klein is endorsed by the VFW PAC.

malclave on October 11, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Note who this “organization of vets” supports!!! Pelosi? Boxer…look for yourselves:

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 8:56 PM

Note who this “organization of vets” supports!!! Pelosi? Boxer…look for yourselves: http://www.vfwpac.org/Revised%20Endorsement%20List%20Sept%2024-1.pdf

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Boxer 48
Fiorina 46
Undecided 6

Schadenfreude on October 11, 2010 at 9:35 PM

Seems like the VFW, whose leadership is mostly conservative, got burned with its new rules for endorsing candidates because those rules always favor the incumbent. They won’t endorse anyone without a track record of support for veterans.

Does anyone remember how when Republicans controlled Congress, Democrats would always run candidates like this one? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Duckworth#cite_note-61

In that case in 2006, the VFW PAC backed the Republican incumbent over liberal Democrat and challenger Tammy Duckworth, who was a VFW member and veteran and who lost a limb in the war. The VFW usually backs incumbents who support veterans. She lost narrowly, and liberals went on a rampage against the VFW and put the VFW on the defense.

The VFW PAC has made it a strict policy to never endorse candidates with no track record on veterans’ issues and so they backed the Republican over the liberal war veteran in that case.

It is a stupid policy that benefits Republicans when Republicans hold Congress and Democrats when they hold it, as in now.

It is time to just get rid of the VFW PAC altogether, and they will next August when they vote on it at the National Convention.

Gabe on October 11, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Just another reason for me not to join the VFW. When Vietnam was over I heard stories about Vietnam Vets going to the VFW and taking it on the chin from the WWII Vets, “At least we won our war.” sort of crap so I never joined them. I’ve been thinking about joining the Legion but haven’t gotten around to it.

Needless to say, if Iwas a member of the VFW in California, I’d quit.

bflat879 on October 11, 2010 at 9:39 PM

There are several races this year where the VFW is endorsing a liberal over a Verteran of Foreign Wars…

What does VFW stand for again? They got the letters wrong for Democratic National Committee… maybe they’re really bad at spelling too.

gekkobear on October 11, 2010 at 9:41 PM

There are several races this year where the VFW is endorsing a liberal over a Verteran of Foreign Wars…

Yeah, because the VFW PAC has a stupid formula whereby if the incumbent has an 80%+ rating in support of veterans’ issues, then they endorse the incumbent. Since veterans’ issues usually receive bipartisan support, this faulty formula supports the incumbents. Democrats currently control Congress, so this formula supports Democrats this year.

The VFW mostly supported Republicans in 2006 because Republicans controlled Congress then. In several cases, they supported the Republican incumbent in 2006 over liberal war veterans and even VFW members who were challenging the Republican incumbents.

So for anyone to say that the VFW historically supports liberals over conservatives is not looking at the history or the facts. They support incumbent supporters of veterans over challengers. They are getting totally burned for it this year, and they deserve to.

By law, a PAC has to be separate from the organization, and so, even with mostly conservatives running the VFW, they can’t do anything about getting rid of the PAC until next August at their national convention. They could defund the PAC, and they most likely will this week.

Gabe on October 11, 2010 at 9:56 PM

Not a dime from me, not a penny. This is disgraceful. I would as soon contribute to the VFW now as to AARP. Listen up out there, VFW national leadership. These boondockers are made for walking.

J.E. Dyer on October 11, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Just incredible! Is there no place the commie bast**ds haven’t infiltrated!!?

Hobbes on October 11, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Gabe on October 11, 2010 at 9:56 PM

I’m not trying to bust your gonads because I think you are on our team and just trying to explain some obscure BS technicality.

So, if the VFW PAC decides to endorse Jane Fonda, I’m supposed to act as if the VFW was just an innocent bystander? Excuse me while I wave the BS flag.

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 10:49 PM

This is truly nauseating. I’ve had an old-timer after me for years to join the local VFW chapter (I’m an OEF vet, and female, which I think may mean more to him than the veteran part), but I’ve been reluctant. Now I’m just repulsed. They’ll never see a nickel of my money.

CantCureStupid on October 11, 2010 at 10:55 PM

Disappointing…

Khun Joe on October 11, 2010 at 11:29 PM

So, if the VFW PAC decides to endorse Jane Fonda, I’m supposed to act as if the VFW was just an innocent bystander? Excuse me while I wave the BS flag.

Dingbat63 on October 11, 2010 at 10:49 PM

The VFW PAC, which the VFW does not represent the positions of the VFW, endorses incumbents who have a 80%+ rating on legislation that benefits veterans. Since challengers are untested, they support the incumbent, be it a Republican or Democrat, over the challenger if the incumbent has been supportive of veterans’ legislation. This has nothing to do with Jane Fonda.

It is a faulty formula because 1) it benefits the incumbent, whether Republican or Democrat, if that incumbent had an 80%+ positive rating on veterans issues, and 2) it doesn’t take into account the fact the conservative challenger this year would probably be just as good on veterans’ issues in legislation.

Veterans’ bills usually pass with bipartisan support. However, some Republicans have in the past been the worst in supporting veterans through legislation, including Bob Dole and Alan Simpson http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5579 , though most Republicans and Democrats have been supportive of veterans.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2010 – The nation’s largest organization of combat veterans is taking strong issue with a comment made by the Republican co-chairman of a presidential commission on fiscal responsibility and reform, who suggested that benefits provided to disabled military veterans are partly responsible for the nation’s financial crisis.

On Tuesday, former three-term U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming said “The irony [is] that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess.”

So the VFW supports incumbents of both parties and doesn’t support Democrats or Republicans, like Alan Simpson, if they have not been good for veterans’ issues.

However, the VFW is going to get rid of the PAC because most veterans and most of those running the VFW are conservative and don’t like the VFW PAC supporting Democrats over conservative challengers, and they probably will defund the PAC this week, and I agree with that.

Gabe on October 12, 2010 at 12:04 AM

Correction:

The VFW PAC, which the VFW does not represent the positions of the VFW. . .

Gabe on October 12, 2010 at 12:06 AM

Off topic, but: Have any Republicans in Los Angeles County received an email from the Country Registrar of Voters with the title “Help Decide the Future of Your Community VOTE!”?

Just wondering. The only people in my household receiving the e-mail are registered as Democrats, while the Republicans have not (yet?) received them.

unclesmrgol on October 12, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Found out about this via Thursday’s AoS. Outraged e-mail was sent. Immediately:

Dear VFWPAC people:

It has come to my attention that you’ve chosen to endorse Barbara Boxer, Alcee Hastings,
Barbara Lee, Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Mikulsky, Chris VanHollen, John Dingell,
Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Pat Leahy, Henry Waxman, Lois Capps, Sheila Jackson Lee
and Patty Murray for re-election to their Congressional seats.

AND you’ve chosen to endorse Ron Klein instead of Lieutenant Colonel Alan West.
AND you’ve chosen to endorse Mike McIntyre instead of Ilario Pantano.

Your nifty web site says, “The VFW-PAC is dedicated to the support of candidates
who have taken responsible positions on issues involving national defense and
legislation pertaining to our nation’s veterans.”

Take a look at the names listed above and PLEASE tell me how they’ve taken
“responsible [!] positions on issues involving national defense and legislation
pertaining to our nation’s veterans.

Please be assured that when asked to, “Remember our veterans”, I WILL
remember what the VFW really stands for.

Most sincerely,
Richard V Reese

least1 on October 12, 2010 at 2:24 AM

If this POS Senator gets re-elected I’m gonna throw up.

Sultry Beauty on October 12, 2010 at 2:43 AM

The VFW PAC is to veterans what NOW is to women.

Scrappy on October 12, 2010 at 4:11 AM

I despise Boxer as much as anyone, but this is a bit unfair to the VFW.

The VFW lobbying group advocates for issues affecting veterans.

They can’t be seen as partisan, otherwise they have vastly diminished clout.

So they set an objective standard and if Democrats meet it, of course they are endorsed.

Now perhaps they are going to take another look at the standard, but no group that wants to pass legislation wants to be seen as a partisan outfit.

NoDonkey on October 12, 2010 at 4:31 AM

The VFW Pac can now be lumped in with the AARP and the AMA whose Boards endorse programs, policies, and politicians that will do harm to their membership…

Gohawgs on October 12, 2010 at 8:47 AM

I despise Boxer as much as anyone, but this is a bit unfair to the VFW.

The VFW lobbying group advocates for issues affecting veterans.

They can’t be seen as partisan, otherwise they have vastly diminished clout.

So they set an objective standard and if Democrats meet it, of course they are endorsed.

Now perhaps they are going to take another look at the standard, but no group that wants to pass legislation wants to be seen as a partisan outfit.

NoDonkey on October 12, 2010 at 4:31 AM

I agree. At first I was furious when I heard the VFW PAC endorsed Boxer and other lib incumbents, but then when I researched their rationale more yesterday, I can understand it, although it is faulty because many of the conservative challengers would be just as supportive of veterans.

If the VFW PAC only supported Republicans, including Republicans like Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who this month blamed disabled veterans for the out of control budget, then this would hurt veterans. Why then would liberals in Congress support veterans’ issues if the VFW only supports conservatives? It would end up hurting veterans more than helping them.

Also, we have to be consistent. If we weren’t upset when the VFW PAC was endorsing Republican incumbents in 2008 and 2006 and 2004 when Democrats were running far left veterans and “war heroes” and even VFW members against the Republican incumbents, why should we be suddenly be upset when the VFW PAC is endorsing Democratic imcumbents that have an 80%+ rating in supporting veterans against the untested Republican challengers?

In any case, the VFW is going to get rid of the VFW-PAC next August at the convention because of all the complaints by veterans during this election that the formula benefits incumbents.

Gabe on October 12, 2010 at 9:11 AM

VFW-PAC is a separate entity from the VFW

I have a friend in the VFW leadership that assures me this is not an endorsement by the VFW

“Even though the law requires that VFW-PAC be a separate organization, the acronym ‘VFW’ is attached to the committee and the natural assumption is that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is somehow making the endorsement decisions. Nothing could be further from the truth, but perception is reality,” said National Commander Richard Eubank.

topspin67 on October 12, 2010 at 9:35 PM

Stuck on stupid. The latest LINK

Dingbat63 on October 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM

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