Friday, October 8, 2010

The VFW-PAC and the National Outrage It's Generated

A recent revelation of the political candidates that the VFW-PAC has endorsed has caused quite the National disturbance. The link to the candidates that the VFW endorses can be found here: http://www.vfwpac.org/Revised%20Endorsement%20List%20Sept%2024-1.pdf If one carefully looks at the list, there are significant numbers of candidates that are generally anti-military and/ or anti-veteran. There have been cries of outrage over the endorsement of certain candidates. I am told that the way it is SUPPOSED to work is that VFW National obtains input from the various State Departments, which obtains input from its various Districts, which obtain inputs from the various Posts within the District. It is clear that this is NOT happening. People are cancelling their memberships in droves. From the Florida State Commander of the VFW:
“On behalf of the Department of Florida, I am writing to object to the manner in which the Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee made its endorsements for the United States Congress. This year’s process is both arbitrary and capricious and devoid of Department input. Consequently, I am asking each member of the Department of Florida to disregard the list of endorsements as published in this month’s VFW Magazine and vote their own conscience since we had no input into this year’s endorsement process.

Apparently, the Committee has abandoned the previous years’ process of “advise and consent” whereby it provided a list of proposed endorsees to the Departments for comment, concurrence, additions and deletions. The Department of Florida certainly understands that the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the VFWPAC are necessarily separate entities, however, the PAC exists because of the support it derives from all Departments, Districts, Posts, Comrades and Sisters. Consequently, the Departments acting on behalf of its Districts, Posts and members should have an opportunity to voice its opinion on which Floridian candidates should or should not receive the endorsement of the VFW-PAC.

It is abundantly clear that the PAC has skewed this year’s endorsements towards incumbents. By weighting selections toward the sitting members of Congress, you are encouraging complacency and taking discourse out of the electoral process. Our position is that a process that only evaluates the voting record of sitting members inherently disadvantages those candidates who challenge incumbents. The extant process negates any previous public or private sector experience of a non-incumbent candidate.

I am concerned that the selection process adopted by the PAC will have both lasting and negative consequences on our ability to recruit and retain members in the Department of Florida. It is evident from the tone of the received emails that the VFW-PAC and by association the Veterans of Foreign Wars is not sewing the interests of some members and potential members. This regional firestorm could have been avoided if the PAC board and staff remembered the old adage that all politics are local.”- Pete Nicholson A link to the actual letter to download and read can be found here: http://www.blackfive.net/files/dept-of-fl-response-to-pac-endorsement-2.pdf

It appears that the VFW-PAC is supporting the following politicians: Barbara Boxer, Alcee Hastings, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barbara Lee, Steny Hoyer, Barbara Mikulsky, Chris VanHollen, John Dingell, Chuckie Schumer, Pat Leahy, Sheila Jackson Lee and Patty Murray. These politicians are some of the most reprehensible politicians when it comes to supporting our troops, the war effort and many of the veterans. I will admit that some of these politicians hold a better track record on Veteran’s Issues than they do in supporting our Active Duty troops. I’ve looked at couple of other Democrats that the VFW-PAC has endorsed in an effort to discern WHY the VFW-PAC threw their support behind a certain candidate, typically an incumbent and almost ALWAYS not a Veteran. What I’ve discovered is that some of their endorsement are for candidates that are pro-veteran and even pro-Military. I’m not suggesting that ALL Democrats are bad, but seriously? Sheila Jackson Lee? Barbara “Don’t Call Me, Ma’am” Boxer, Nancy Pelosi? Harry “the War is lost” Reid? Alcee Hastings, a known criminal? Come on, give me a break! I’m also not suggesting that a Veteran is always the answer. I remember a time when I THOUGHT that Jimmy Carter, an ex-Navy Nuclear Power Engineer, would be a good candidate. I even voted for the man on that premise and that alone. I was young and na├»ve. My first four years in the Navy, mostly during Carter’s regime, were some of the toughest times for my Squadron. Cannibalization of aircraft parts were at an all time high. Many times we had to suspend operations near the end of the Fiscal Quarter because there were no funds to operate with and I even recall a time when the entire military was wondering whether or not we’d be paid at the end of the month. That said, I think that I’d choose the side of a Veteran vs. someone who has never served and views the military with contempt or someone who is historically anti-military. To quote an excerpt from a blog; “What we need in Congress are strong Representatives that put this Nation and the Constitution ahead of personal ambitions and party loyalty. Our strong pool of Combat Veterans ready to accept the mantle of leadership is a good place to look for true Representatives”. http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2010/10/iraq-vet-ilario-pantano-guns-for-congress-nc-7.html

As the Post Quartermaster, an elected Officer, for a North Texas Post, I feel that members cancelling their membership will be counter-productive to the issue at hand. It is tantamount to not voting in an election because one doesn’t care for any of the candidates. It’s quite obvious that the VFW-PAC has acted in its own interests, instead of using the tools they have to obtain a consensus. The VFW, being a democratic type system, holds elections each Spring. These officers are duly elected by its members at the Post, District, State and National levels. By dropping out of the VFW, it will be nigh on impossible to effect any change. That change MUST come from within. I won’t even get into just how difficult that it will be to recruit new members when an organization is in chaos. No, we must stay the course, make ourselves heard and elect responsible individuals that will see to our needs instead of using their position in the organization for their own ends.

3 comments:

Rosemary said...

Could you please provide me with the national VFW's address or email? Our VFW closed down when they closed our base. Creepy congresscritters. (Long Beach, CA) Thanks.

Thor said...

Rosemary, I remember visiting your base before they closed it down. I was stationed at NAS North Island at the time and had a friend on the Pelilieu.

Contact the
VFW Political Action Committee
VFW-PAC
VFW Washington Office
200 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Tel. (202) 544-5868
Fax (202) 544-8495

Thor said...

And here's for the VFW, itelf:

Please send to info@vfw.org
National Headquarters
406 West 34th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64111
(816) 756-3390
FAX (816) 968-1149