President Obama and Mitt Romney don't just want veterans to love them -- they want the adoration that comes with being the candidate most loved by the troops. Both men spent Memorial Day telling veterans how wonderful they are, with mixed results. As MSNBC's Chris Hayes discovered last weekend, talking about troops in anything beyond the blandest platitudes can quickly get you into trouble. But Obama's campaign is going to have to get specific, because they think the veteran vote is swingy enough to win them a few swing states -- Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. More than many other subgroups, veterans and the military fetishists who love them are always watching for any tiny little slips -- mixing up an officer for an noncommissioned officer, mispronouncing a Vietnam battle -- that can then be interpreted as not showing enough deference to the troops.
Don't Make Jokes About Fashion
Manly men's men aren't supposed to notice or care about fashion, because that is for urban sissies. This is where Romney failed Monday, as reported by The New York Times' Michael Barbaro:
Mr. Romney’s stab at humor fell a bit flat. His joke revolved around the cowboy hat of the man who introduced him. Mr. Romney teased that the hat was unlikely be adopted as a uniform by any of the military branches.
“But it’s keeping your head out of the sun,” Mr. Romney said.
This joke was triple failure. First, it was a joke about fashion. Second, it indicated Romney worries about sun exposure. Third, it was false: there are still cavalry uniforms that include a Stetson.