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As Rachel Maddow astutely pointed out this morning in reaction, can you imagine the outrage if a Democratic candidate who had no military experience had opted to use a battleship as the backdrop for a vice presidential announcement?
Romney, who came of age at the height of Vietnam conflict, went to France for his 31-month LDS mission and received four draft deferments. Given his reputation for being on every side of an issue, Romney proudly recounts that he supported our involvement in Vietnam, as long as others fought it for him.
When asked if his sons would serve their country in the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions he similarly supported, Romney told reporters in 2007 that "[o]ne of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected because they think I'd be a great president."
Ryan came of age at a time of relative peace--1988--and chose to serve his country by driving the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile around, while taking advantage of Social Security survivor benefits to attend Miami University. To be fair, he did sacrifice his desire to get a PhD from the University of Chicago, home of the Milton Friedman School of (Supply Side) Economics to instead act as an aide to the conservative junior senator from Wisconsin, Robert Kasten, before moving to the Jack Kemp-founded Empower America (which morphed into FreedomWorks) as a speechwriter. I'm sure that Ryan feels confident that he has served his country to encourage them to support their Galtian overlords.
But to give the sacrifice that conservative constantly claim liberals do not appreciate to the point of scorn? Both Romney and Ryan had other priorities.