A political campaign isn’t a military campaign

Updated
 

We talked yesterday about a recent anecdotal addition to Mitt Romney’s stump speech: he’s begun talking about having met Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and one of the four Americans killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month. It turns out, Doherty’s family is displeased, and the Republican has agreed to stop telling the story.

But last night, Rachel explored this in more depth, and added some context that deserves more attention.

For those who can’t watch clips online, Romney talked about meeting Doherty, and then explained the events that led to Doherty’s death.

“[A]ccording to the reports on CNN International that I read, he was actually in a different building, in an annex, a safe place, somewhere else across town when he and his colleagues there heard that the consulate was around attack. And they went there. They didn’t hunker down where they were in safety. They rushed there to go help.

“This is the American way. We go where there’s trouble. We go where we’re needed. And right now, we’re needed. Right now the American people need us.”

It’s one thing to try to exploit a deadly attack for partisan gain, but note the specific argument Romney is making here – Doherty and his team went where they were needed, and as far as the candidate is concerned, Romney and his team are just like Doherty.

Romney’s done this before. During his last presidential campaign, he was asked why his five sons had not served in the U.S. military. “My sons are adults,” he responded at the time. “They’ve chosen not to serve in the military in active duty and I respect their decision in that regard…. And one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”

In other words, Romney believed wearing a uniform, serving in the military, and putting one’s life on the line for your country is pretty much the same thing as helping a presidential campaign.

Romney, who also has no military background, is comfortable equating his political ambitions with Doherty’s work in Libya, just as he saw a parallel between his sons volunteering for a campaign and the sacrifices of war-time soldiers.

As Rachel put it, “If you think it takes the same kind of bravery for this guy to run for president as it was brave of this former Navy SEAL to respond the way he did to an RPG and mortar attack in mortar attack in Libya, then maybe this was an inspiring moment for you in Iowa. Otherwise, it was probably something else.”

Libya and Mitt Romney

A political campaign isn't a military campaign

Updated