Mitt Romney’s War On Mitt Romney’s life continues apace:
…Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny as he courts veterans and makes his case to the nation to be commander in chief. He’s also intensified his criticism lately of Obama’s plans to scale back the nation’s military commitments abroad, suggesting that Romney would pursue an aggressive foreign policy as president that could involve U.S. troops.
As a presidential candidate in 2007, Romney told The Boston Globe he was frustrated, as a Mormon missionary, not to be fighting alongside his countrymen.
“I was supportive of my country,” Romney said. “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”
Indeed, Romney strongly supported the war at first. As a freshman at Stanford University, he protested anti-war activists. In one photo, he’s shown in a small crowd of students, smiling broadly, wearing a sport jacket and holding up a sign that says, “Speak Out, Don’t Sit In.”
But the frustration he recalled in 2007 does not match a sentiment he shared as a Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, when he told The Boston Herald, “I was not planning on signing up for the military.”
“It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft,” Romney told the newspaper.
But that’s exactly what Romney did, according Selective Service records. He received his first deferment for “activity in study” in October 1965 while at Stanford.
After his first year at Stanford, Romney qualified for 4-D deferment status as “a minister of religion or divinity student.” It was a status he would hold from July 1966 until February 1969, a period he largely spent in France working as a Mormon missionary
His 31-month religious deferment expired in early 1969. And Romney received an academic studies deferment for much of the next two years. He became available for military service at the end of 1970 when his deferments ran out and he could have been drafted. But by that time, America was beginning to slice its troop levels, and Romney’s relatively high lottery number — 300 out of 365 — was not called.
The Times also notes:
Critics note that the candidate is among three generations of Romneys — including his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, and five sons — who were of military age during armed conflicts but did not serve.
(Boston Herald) Gov. Mitt Romney, who has comforted the grieving loved ones of soldiers killed in Iraq and promoted National Guard recruitment, yesterday said he has not urged his own sons to enlist – and isn’t sure whether they would.
The Herald posed the question as Romney – a potential 2008 White House contender and backer of President Bush’s Iraq policy – was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard after he signed a bill extending pay for state workers on active duty.
“No, I have not urged my own children to enlist. I don’t know the status of my childrens’ potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve,” Romney said, his voice tinged with anger.
Massachusetts residents can enlist in the National Guard up to age 39. Romney’s five sons range in age from 24 to 35. Neither the Romney children nor the governor have served in the military, Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer said.
As I pointed out in my original Five Not For Fighting post, what the Romney boys really enjoy is trust funds and, as it was written, so it was done:
Mitt Romney’s five sons — Matt, Tagg, Craig, Ben and Josh — are sitting pretty with a trust fund worth $100 million.
Getting there took investments that produced great growth, according to the Romney campaign. It also took smart tax strategies.
Romney and his wife Ann have been giving to the boys since 1995, and, according to a spokesperson for the Romney campaign, all of their contributions have been below gift-tax contribution limits.
The limit for a couple in 1995 was $20,000 and has since grown to $26,000. In addition, there’s a “lifetime gift-tax exclusion” for all the boys that totaled $1.2 million back in 1995 and has since grown to $10 million.
Add it all up, and the Romneys could have gifted $1.3 million in 1995, and a total of $10.6 million through 2011. All tax free.
To sum up, the Romney family have done a stellar job of avoiding both military service in the wars that they support as well as paying any taxes that might pay for said wars. So, when Mitt Romney says:
“Greatness in a people, I believe, is measured by the extent to which they will give themselves to something bigger than themselves,” Romney said in San Diego last week to a Memorial Day crowd of thousands, flush with military veterans of all ages.
…what he really means is: War is for poors. You bought it … you fight in it.