Food Fight Over The GI Bill
Old Man McCain decided to yell at a cloud today. See, he isn't allowed to vote on legislation while there's money to be raised on the campaign trail, so he wasn't allowed to give his opinion that lucky duckie Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are getting too many education benefits. But Barack Obama did on the Senate floor, saying that McCain's opposition to the Webb-Hagel GI Bill is unconscionable, and in response, McCain got really ornery, on the "how dare you disagree with me on veteran's affairs policy" tip:
"It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of. Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.
"I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has offered legislation with very generous benefits. I respect and admire his position, and I would never suggest that he has anything other than the best of intentions to honor the service of deserving veterans. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.
See, only members of the military have earned the right to give members of the military education benefits.
They used this "he didn't serve his country" crap against Bill Clinton, too, and it didn't work. Obama hit back pretty forcefully.
"I am proud to stand with Senator Webb and a bipartisan coalition to give our veterans the support and opportunity they deserve. It's disappointing that Senator McCain and his campaign used this issue to launch yet another lengthy personal, political attack instead of debating an honest policy difference. He should know that this is not about John McCain or Barack Obama -- it's about giving our veterans a real chance to afford four years of college without harming retention. Senator Webb's bipartisan bill will do this, and the bill that John McCain supports would not. These endless diatribes and schoolyard taunts from the McCain campaign do nothing to advance the debate about what matters to the American people."
It's just not rational for McCain to claim some kind of support for the troops while essentially saying that we can't let them leave because there wouldn't be enough people willing to fight in multiple wars that he'll authorize. Go ahead and keep talking about it. I'd LOVE to have this debate play out in public.
...also, John Cornyn, who voted against the bill today, decided to call those who want to honor veterans' service "the antiwar crowd." Man, that's the wrong way to go with this. Cornyn is in deep trouble in November.