Foxnews.com had an alarming story yesterday about the difficulties that American troops face to vote by absentee ballot. It is difficult for the troops to get the ballots in time to get them back and be counted.
According to the article it takes 18 days for the United States Postal Service to deliver the ballots to the troops and 18 days to mail them back to the proper voting place to be counted. It was estimated that of the 1 million absentee ballots requested by troops in the 2006 elections, 300,000 were counted and as many as 400,000 were cast but unable to be counted due to returning to the precincts too late. If this is true then 40% of troops who wanted to vote, and attempted to, were unable.
Senator John Cornyn, Republican, Texas has introduced a bill that would have the ballots delivered and returned by Federal Express, thus cutting the time significantly and allowing the troops to vote. Twenty nine Senators have co-sponsored the bill, none of them Democrats. John McCain has signed on as sponsor but his opponent, Senator Barack Obama, has not. Obama is pushing for wounded vets to have better accessibility to vote from Veteran facilities but is not sponsoring the current Senate proposal of Senator Cornyn.
I suspect there is a reason why the Democrats, and more specifically Obama, take this stance. Troops have historically tended to vote Republican and there is a good chance that may be even more so this year because of the candidates. They certainly wouldn’t want to encourage them to vote. McCain, a wounded fighter pilot who spent time as a POW, appears to be quite popular with the troops. Obama, on the other hand, does not because of his lack of military experience and his close association with the far left anti-war movement. The anti-war movement has shown a real tendency to be very disrespectful and disdainful of American troops.
As far as his support of wounded veterans rights, I think this is political opportunism on his part also. I believe that Obama and his team have decided that this may be a group that is more disillusioned with the Iraq war and more supportive of him. Plus he gets the added bonus of supporting the wounded vets. What a great guy he is. While I think it is an embarrassment that vets would face difficulties voting, I think it is shameful to use them to score political points. Finally, he did not appear to have this same concern for the wounded troops when he chose not to visit them in Germany after being told by the Pentagon that he could not use them as campaign props. Story here:
As I said, the article is about a bill that was introduced. As of this posting the bill has not been taken up by the Senate. What does this mean, you ask? Well it is August 3rd, the Senate just went on a 5 week vacation. When they return it will be the second week of September. If they acted on it on the day they returned, passed it and sent it to the House for immediate passage and then on to President Bush to sign it, it still would not help the troops for this election. How convenient for them.
As the title says, the Democrats are sending a clear message to the troops, up yours. Considering the shaft they are giving us on gas prices, the question is: Why should they treat the troops any different than the rest of us?