I've been a little irritated about the "but he's a veteran" or "but he's a general" business playing into electability. It brings some advantages, sure, but no certain
advantages as Max Cleland and Al Gore (and Michael Dukakis) found out. I think being a veteran is shorthand for having courage. And I think you only need to point to someone like Martin Luther King Jr. to show that courage is not just found on the battlefield. So where else can we find it?
Joe Lieberman may not have been to Vietnam, but he went to the South when civil rights were under attack.
John Edwards may not have been to Vietnam, but...well... hmm...I guess I don't know enough about Edwards to praise his courage. Petey, you got something here?
You all know that I am a supporter of Howard Dean (though not a Deaniac--swore off that kool-aid thanks very much) and one of the things that drew me to him in the first place was in fact his courage. So Howard Dean may not have been to Vietnam, but...
Working in emergency rooms in the Bronx, Howard Dean saved American lives. He was a foot soldier in the war on crime and despair.
As a country doctor in Vermont, Howard Dean was on the front lines in the war against disease and ignorance.
As governor of Vermont, Howard Dean was a target in the war on our civil liberties and civil rights. His signing of the civil union bill resulted in death threats, and Howard Dean campaigned in a bullet-proof vest in the 2000 election, but he ran and he won. (I keep thinking everybody knows this, but it rendered Mr. JMS silent for a moment--not too long, though, since he fired up the Kerry blog when he knew I was going back to look at the computer...)
So, um, courage smourage is what I have to say...