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Will this be the last presidential election haunted by the Vietnam War?  

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
For as long as I can remember, every election I have voted in has had some issue that began in the Vietnam War - Reagan accidentally used an anti-Vietnam war song in his campaign; Clinton didn't serve; Did Bush get a free ride? Did Kerry serve but betray his service? McCain is an honorable POW; Obama is involved with someone who is a radical from that era.

I'm not here to debate any of these points. My question is: Given that the people born in the 1960s are now entering the age that they could be elected present, is the Vietnam War and the radical protests from the 1960s going to have any impact in the next election, or are we going to be able to move past that period of history?
post #2 of 5
I seriously doubt it. Perhaps in a generation , i.e., roughly 20 years, it won't be an issue. WW II ended over 63 years ago, but some politicians in Germany, Austria and Italy are still linked to Nazis/Fascists in news reports. A case in point: Jörg Haider, a far-right Austrian politician, died in a car accident yesterday at age 58, and many news reports have mentioned his parents' Nazi loyalties. Leader of Austria's resurgent far right dies in car crash
In one parliamentary debate, he caused anger by calling Nazi concentration camps “penal camps”.

Such statements were given greater impact by the fact that his father had been one of Hitler’s stormtroopers and his mother a former leader of the Hitler Youth.
post #3 of 5
I was of age during the Vietnam war and I don't see this election "haunted" by the Vietnam war at all. That one of the candidates was in the war, suffered at the hands of the enemy, and served his country honorably, and has been justly and thoroughly compensated and rewarded for it, has nothing whatsover to do with the issues, and because he was a war hero of sorts, and the other candidate wasn't, isn't going to affect the way I vote at all. It's a non-issue; it's simply there -- part of the candidate's background, and so far in the past as to be relevant only as interesting history. No, I don't see it "haunting" this election at all. Not a bit.
post #4 of 5
Honestly I think it will. Between the age of those who served being upwards of too old for political ambition that high, and the ones who protested are more concerned about ALL wars and not just that one, I think it will be almost a non-issue in the next election. Add to that the fact that the next war has taken place and that will be the more important factor, I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't even mentioned. The only mentions of WWII were plagued by not knowing the facts of the war (Obama's saying the US went into Auschwitz, and Biden not knowing who was President or that there wasn't TV), and I would bet that it will be the case with Viet Nam soon as well. And apparently it's OK for them to not know their history probably because most people who heard it didn't even realize it was wrong. (In general, the majority of the US population are so bad with history.) It will only be a point in history that is barely mentioned and won't play any role in the election.
post #5 of 5
It's pretty clear that Biden knew that there was no TV in 1929 and also that FDR was not the president. For whatever reason he didn't make the connection to the year when he made that remark. It's still a lot better than saying that Afghanistan is “our neighboring country†(golly, can you really see it from Alaska? ).

And if Obama mixed up Auschwitz and Buchenwald that is also not something I see as critical. Both were horrible horrible concentration camps liberated by the Allied forces in 1945.

But so as not to hijack the thread, I think we will see more elections where the Vietnam war is felt. I admit that I have a hard time seeing these old men who are Vietnam veterans. I remember when they were young boys with unlined faces. And I remember how this country dishonored them at the time for fighting what many felt to be an unjust war. I don't think the shadow of this war will fade until at least fifty years after its end and we are not there yet.
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