Alex Massie

Giuliani and Romney: Heroic Warriors and Leaders of Men

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Mitt Romney was so desperate to serve his country in the late 1960s that rather than go to Vietnam (as he so  very much wanted to) he was compelled to spend years in France as a Mormon missionary. But what about Rudy Giuliani? Glenn Greenwald has a useful reminder:

Romney's draft-avoidance isn't quite as shameful as Super Tough Guy Rudy Giuliani's, whose deferment request was denied in 1969, thus placing him at imminent risk of being drafted, when he somehow convinced the federal judge for whom he was clerking "to write to the draft board, asking them to grant him a fresh deferment and reclassification as an 'essential' civilian employee." The very idea that a first-year judicial clerk, just out law school, is "essential" for anything is absurd on its face. Yet the swaggering tough guy Rudy Giuliani used that blatant lie to ensure that someone other than himself was sent to fight in Vietnam.

Now as it happens I don't think that what a young man did nearly 40 years ago should necessarily disqualify him from the Presidency (not when there are so many other, more recent, reasons!) but it is worth remembering that poor old Bill Clinton was hammered time and time again for his draft-dodging. That being the case Messrs Romney and Giuliani can hardly complain if they receive a measure of the same treatment.

Still, even talking about Vietnam reminds one that perhaps the most persuasive part of Andrew Sullivan's argument for Barack Obama is that an Obama Presidency would finally move us all on from the Vietnam and Baby Boomer era.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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