In Mitt Romney, the Republican party has it’s first presidential candidate since Tom Dewey without any military experience. What will this mean for the Republicans and their narrative as the Party of War?
Every Republican presidential nominee from Dwight Eisenhower to John McCain served in the military. Eisenhower, of course, had the ultimate military background as a West Point graduate who rose to five-star general and Supreme Allied Commander. Bob Dole and John McCain suffered grievous wounds in combat, with McCain additionally suffering wounds from torture at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors. For both of them, their military service was a modest amount of time in their professional lives yet had a profound impact on them personally and in forming their professional identities. For others, such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, serving in a supply unit and a film unit respectively, their World War II military service was a minor part of their professional identity, but a part nonetheless.