The nasty VFW/VFW PAC political endorsement spat is boiling over into open political warfare between the two groups. When Ed posted on this story yesterday, VFW leaders were already expressing dismay over their political action committee’s “seriously flawed” candidate endorsement methodology–going so far as to raise the prospect of scrapping the PAC altogether. This posture evidently didn’t stem the hailstorm of criticism from rank-and-file VFW members, prompting leadership to release another statement, this time insisting that VFW PAC rescind its recent controversial string of endorsements:
The angry tone and tenor of the telephone calls and messages being received at national headquarters make it clear that many of our members are not cognizant of the fact that VFW National By-Laws clearly stipulate that the VFW Commander-in-Chief is not authorized to direct or otherwise attempt to introduce his control over the VFW PAC. Furthermore, no membership dues or donations made to the VFW or VFW Foundation are used for the VFW PAC.
As you know, the recent endorsements by the PAC are the subject of much controversy. Unfortunately, many questions have been raised regarding VFW’s involvement in the endorsement process and the integrity of the organization as a whole. Regrettably, many of our members and supporters are disappointed and have misdirected their anger toward the VFW as having lost its purpose.
Comrades, we cannot sit idly by while a great organization is being disparaged and maligned, even unintentionally…
As determined in the VFW By-Laws, as the national officers, we have specific responsibilities to take definitive action when events can have a detrimental impact on the organization. It is clear to us that the current situation now demands direct action; therefore, we are requesting the chairman and the directors of the Political Action Committee immediately rescind their endorsement actions.
…VFW’s values and guiding principles aren’t grounded in a desire to participate in partisan policies in political activities. As veterans of foreign wars, we gave substantially more of ourselves than most to ensure the viability and the integrity of our great democratic process. However, our recent endorsement process unintentionally provided favoritism to the incumbents. It is now evident it was unfairly skewed and actually subverted that process.
What’s almost certainly raising many veterans’ ire is the spectacle of Senator M’am gleefully touting her handy new VFW PAC endorsement on the campaign trail. Team Carly, meanwhile, is circulating a memo (drawing heavily from this debate fact-check) chronicling the myriad reasons why VFW members might take offense to their PAC’s blessing of Babs. A taste:
In 2007, Boxer Was One Of Only 14 Senators To Vote Against Supplemental Funding For The Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Boxer Voted Nay and Feinstein Voted Yea)
In 2007, Then-Sen. Joe Biden Attacked Democrats For Opposing Funding For The Troops, Noting That “There’s No Political Point Worth Anybody’s Life Out There.” BIDEN: “So what did some of my colleagues say about why they voted against the money? They said they voted against the money to make a political point.There’s no political point worth my son’s life. There’s no political point worth anybody’s life out there.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks At The Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, IA, 8/15/07)
In 2003, Boxer Was One Of Just 12 Senators To Oppose The $87 Billion Supplemental Appropriation For The Reconstruction Of Iraq And Afghanistan; The Bill Included Funding For Body Armor And Communications Equipment For The Troops. (S. 1689, CQ Vote #400: Passed 87-12: R 50-0; D 37-11; I 0-1, 10/17/03, Boxer Voted Nay and Feinstein Voted Yea; “Highlights Of Iraq, Afghanistan Measures,” The Associated Press, 10/17/03)
“During A Committee Hearing In June, Boxer Upbraided A Brigadier General For Calling Her ‘Ma’am’ Rather Than ‘Senator.’” (Lisa Lerer and Manu Raju, “Dems Raise Concerns About Boxer,” Politico, 7/23/09)
Boxer Was One Of Only 25 Senators Who Voted Against Condemning A MoveOn.Org Ad Against General David Petraeus; Feinstein Voted To Condemn The Ad. (HR 1585, CQ Vote #344: Passed 72-25: R 49-0; D 22-24; I 1-1, 9/20/07, Boxer Voted Nay and Feinstein Voted Yea)
I suspect the hapless VFW PACers who initially thought it’d be fine and dandy to dole out endorsements to politicians like Boxer and Alan Grayson (!) are learning a valuable lesson: American veterans don’t like being jerked around, and they’re not shy about defending their honor. Just ask Dick Blumenthal.