War creates political opportunities for those who fight them. This is meant as an observation of fact, not a remark intended to cheapen the sacrifices made by soldier-politicians whose military service draws the voting public’s attention and praise. Indeed it is a fact that, historically, some soldiers’ motivation for military service has rested on its perceived value for capturing later electoral dividends. Long before Napoleon Bonaparte strategized how to rule Europe from horseback, and even before Julius Caesar rode his military successes across the Rubicon to occupy Rome, soldiers have leveraged their military prowess for political ends. Sometimes they’ve accomplished this peacefully. Often, they’ve employed their martial skills more directly. The ties that bind war and the political do not necessarily mean that those who wage war will become those who rule, but the historical magnetism between the two expressions of leadership is hard to deny.
The formal exception to this historic trend—the United States—only seems to confirm how deep-seated the attraction is. The framers of the American republic intentionally erected barriers between the military and the political realms. Wary of the dangers that “standing armies” posed to individual liberty, and conscious of the threat that a “man on horseback” could pose to a self-governing people, the framers subordinated military power under layers of civilian control and stripped any political power from the military as an institution. In the final Federalist Papers entry, Publius concludes his pitch for ratifying the Constitution by identifying it as a bulwark to prevent “the military despotism of a victorious demagogue.”
And yet since 1789, Americans have overwhelmingly elected former soldiers to be the nation’s chief executive. Of the first 25 Presidents, 21 had military experience, beginning famously with George Washington, whose chief cabinet officers during his two terms (Henry Knox, Edmund Randolph, Timothy Pickering, and Alexander Hamilton) had served with him as Continental officers. Of the presidential contests from 1789 to 2016, military veterans have been nominated by their parties 65 times, compared to nonveterans’ 58 times. About two-thirds of elected Presidents have been veterans. Mitt Romney in 2012 was the Republican Party’s first presidential nominee to be a nonveteran since Thomas Dewey in 1944. The 2016 presidential election was only the 14th time that both of the two main parties have fielded candidates without military experience.
To be sure, we might see more of this in the future, as a downstream effect of conscription-era politicians dying or retiring and decreasing percentages of Americans choosing to serve. Nevertheless, it remains true today that American veterans like to run for political office, and American citizens like to vote veterans into political office. One of the more frequent stories of the 2018 midterm election cycle, for instance, has been the number of veterans, specifically female veterans, seeking congressional office.
So many veterans run for political office, and our political parties so frequently nominate them as presidential candidates, that it seems a truism to observe that this must be so because veterans make for winning candidates. One might find some evidence suggestive of this in the fact that, while about 15 percent of all American males have served under arms according to the Department of Veteran Affairs (out of the roughly 545 million cumulative Americans), 60 percent of presidential candidates have had some military service.
Of course, the veterans don’t always win: Neither John McCain, John Glenn, nor George McClellan ever became President, despite their prominent military biographies and ambitions. “Old Tippecanoe,” William Henry Harrison, was every inch the frontier military hero in 1836, when he lost his presidential bid to non-veteran Martin Van Buren. (Then again, in 1840, when Harrison very much tied his political campaign to his military laurels, he defeated the incumbent van Buren.)
Getting a better understanding of the nexus between veterans and presidential politics is an important exercise not just because of modern vexations over the civil-military relationship. As Ramapo College professor of political science Jeremy Teigen notes in his recently published book, Why Veterans Run: Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016: “The potential implications of military veterans in presidential elections extends to how parties enjoy advantages on defense issues, gender politics, distinctive foreign policy views, and even levels of presidential success.”
To sketch out these latter implications, Teigen treats the veteran component of the presidential selection process as a “set of outcomes” shaped by a series of factors but influenced by wars, military institutions, and basic politics. The outcomes include the number of veterans who run for President, the various kinds of veterans who do so, and the measurement of just how salient a candidate’s prior service is during a campaign.
Teigen notes that different wars require dissimilar recruitment methods, producing different types of veterans—and therefore different candidate “molds.” He identifies six eras of “veteran emergence:” George Washington served as the prototype for veteran candidates between 1789-1820; partisan generals dominated elections between 1824-64; Union generals “waving the bloody flag” were common between 1868-1900; 1952-1990 saw a pattern of low-ranking World War II officers climbing the political ladder; and candidates from the 1990s to the present have all had to deal with the question not just of their service or lack thereof but also of the war they served in and the nature of their service, because of the particularities of the social upheaval surrounding the Vietnam War and the draft.
Meanwhile, there was something of a “veteran hiatus” between 1904 and 1948. The political parties rarely nominated the veterans of the Spanish-American War and World War I. While there was conscription during World War I, it was on a much smaller scale than World War II, which saw 16 million soldiers take part. The Spanish-American war was fought by a volunteer army that was small even by contemporary standards. On the other hand, the Dick Act of 1903 set in motion the professionalization of the American military, and along with it the American soldier.
While there were fewer veterans on the whole during this era (from 1866–98, the U.S. Army had only about 40,000 men on active duty year to year), Teigen notes a clear “war-hero fatigue” among the political class. His finding is bolstered by a Warren Harding observation: “We made Presidents out of military men for more than 30 years after the Civil War but there doesn’t seem to be any sentiment for a military candidate at the present time.” Only Theodore Roosevelt, the famous Rough Rider officer who became president during this era, seemed to gain by suffusing his public persona with his military experience.
Like Teddy Roosevelt, some veteran presidential candidates have run on the strength of their military biography (Andrew Jackson, William H. Harrison). Others, however, don’t much mention it (James Monroe, Wendell Willkie). Some have been career generals (Winfield Scott), others battlefield ones (James Frémont). Some have been enlisted men (William McKinley, Walter Mondale), and some have had short but meteoric ascents up the ranks (Benjamin Harrison). Some have disavowed the war in which they fought (John Kerry). Not all veteran presidential candidacies are created equal. Teigen’s point is that they shouldn’t be measured as such either.
One case in illustration: Civil War presidential veterans vs. World War II presidential veterans. Both wars involved a high proportion of the population and produced sizable shifts in public opinion about the role of government in society, the technologies of warfare, and even the role of men and women. But both conflicts differed in substantial ways related to the armies that fought them: “Structure, professionalism, officer recruitment, centralized soldier induction, geographic origins . . . dramatically differed. . . . Among the keenest distinctions is the reliance on regionally based units.” Teigen reminds us that, whereas World War II veterans largely served in federalized 20th-century military machines with professionalized junior officers, the Boys in Blue mostly served in state-based units. They marched under their state flag (along with Union colors), but with officers “who were elected more often because of political cunning than drill and weapons knowledge.”
The state-based units gave the politically-minded Civil War veterans a vast electoral advantage. But the conflict itself had been a highly partisan and domestic affair that blurred many political and military lines (“Reconstruction . . . had to be carried out by the military.”) At the war’s end, everyone knew that George McClellan, Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Winfield Scott Hancock, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley had each participated in Lincoln’s martial efforts to reunify the states. But also at war’s end were two additional electoral factors: The geographically homogeneous regiments that had duplicated already existing civic and political networks when the soldiers mustered in also remained generally geographically close when the soldiers mustered out. This arrangement tended to fortify the electoral appeal of former regiment colonels and generals who had led men from their home state or community.
The second factor tended to maximize the first: the political innovation of the interest group, in this case organized along veteran lines, with local members and chapters, but also with a national orientation. Post-Civil War presidential politics, if not all postbellum politics, can’t be rightly understood without acknowledging the political power wielded by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The GAR was the first truly national veterans’ organization. Mary Dearing reveals the whole complex and compelling story in Veterans in Politics: The Story of the GAR, pointing out that while companionship, solidarity, and charity were GAR ends for sure, politics was an equally important end. The struggle among Radicals, conservative Republicans, and Democrats over the Reconstruction issue formed the background for the founding of the GAR, while the ambitions of several Illinois politicians (General John A. Logan and Governor Richard Oglesby in particular) ushered it into existence. By keeping in view a very tangible legislative purpose—cash benefits for veterans—over several decades, it maintained a considerable political presence until President Benjamin Harrison signed the generous 1890 pension law into effect.
The GAR was instrumental in electing five Civil War and GAR members to the presidency. And, according to the Senate Historical Office, all told, 87 Union veterans eventually served in the U.S. Senate, joined by 72 ex-Confederates.
The GAR expired with its last member in 1956, but by then a multiplicity of other veterans organizations were flourishing. Teigen doesn’t focus overmuch on the political influence of the various VSOs after World War II, but to be fair, that is subject enough for its own volume. Rather, in keeping with the compare-and-contrast of veteran presidential electoral politics after the Civil War and World War II, he highlights how the “Greatest Generation” presidential candidates served in a diversified (geographically, socially, and economically) large-scale conscripted force, in their youth, and generally as lower-ranking navy or army officers. Between Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower in 1952 and Bob Dole in 1996, only Hubert Humphrey, who had been denied entry into the service on medical grounds, and Bill Clinton weren’t military veterans.
Perhaps because of the nature of the war they fought, World War II veterans were looked up to more as civic leaders than as political partisans. The American public’s sense that the conflict was “a moral crusade to liberate countries overrun by the Axis powers rather than to expand America’s borders,” Teigen writes, cast a certain ameliorating glow over the political aspirations of its veterans. No doubt it facilitated the public perception that the armed forces had long ago discouraged the more overt partisan practices of the 19th century—a time which saw active duty generals such as Zachary Taylor and George McClellan campaigning in uniform (by 1930 even the wives of officers were discouraged from voting). But party politics had also changed substantially over this same period. Parties after World War II tended to reward candidates who had worked their way up the political ladder rather than simply coronate famous generals who were newcomers to politics, as they had done in the Antebellum era. Out of the entire World War II veteran presidential candidate cohort, only Eisenhower mimicked those earlier generals and skipped the partisan ladder climb.
Teigen does a valuable service here in reminding us that, however intuitive it might seem to think that veterans play an outsize role in presidential politics, in truth veterans have actually operated within the organic development of political parties, their changing presidential nominating process, and the crescive development of presidential power in the American political nation. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Zachery Taylor, and George Bush were all veterans. But the McGovern-Fraser reforms of the 1970s meant that Bush first had to face an enormous number of state primaries requiring a much different kind of political campaigning than practiced by, for example: Taylor, who faced only the Whig Party convention; Jackson, who railed against “King Caucus” but probably owed his presidency to Martin Van Buren’s revival of political parties; or Washington, who (it can be argued) did virtually no campaigning, remaining outside and above political parties, but set the precedent for Presidents (and generals) to step aside from power.
What does this mean for Gulf War and post-9/11 era veterans with presidential-sized thoughts in the 21st century? Why do veterans run for President, or any other political office, for that matter? And why does the voting public continue to welcome them? These questions, I believe, are linked. Answering the first may shed some light on how to think more deeply about the second and third.
Teigen observes that, alongside the social, economic, and ideological questions that fueled the “mixed legacy” of Vietnam, the military veteran status of presidential candidates has taken on such a predominant role in electoral politics because of the confluence of the Cold War and the large cohort of Presidents who were veterans of World War II. The public has come to view the presidency through the eyes of the Commander-in-Chief role, even if fewer American adults these days are actually exposed to military service. This is intensified both by the global status which America continues to assume, and, I would add, by a Congress that has been only too happy to cede the responsibility of decision-making to the Executive Branch for reasons having to do with changing institutional norms and electoral politics.
The optics of a hardened martial experience and the emotional crutch of reassurance that this experience gives in a world constantly described as dangerous seem obviously to favor veteran presidential candidates. Surely that explains why the majority of fictitious cinematic presidents, from Independence Day to Madame Secretary, have military experience. And there’s evidence to believe that candidates’ pre-presidential experiences influence subsequent perceptions about their success as president, and that military experience in particular drives a president towards higher performance in public persuasion. Scholarship shows that substantial differences exist between political leaders with and without experience in the armed forces.
In the “Overinformation Age,” this all translates to a handy biographical shortcut for the time-pressed average voter. Veterans accordingly will continue to run for President, and for other elected positions. As Teigen and, more recently, General Stanley McChrystal in the Wall Street Journal remind us, a uniform is no guarantee of character or political competence.
This still sets aside the (very large) question of the institutional effects that increasingly politically active veterans might have on both the military and the political process, in an increasingly partisan world in which veterans are thought of as a “tribe apart.” But here, too, it’s arguable that the long shadow of the Vietnam War has skewed perceptions of the partisan identity of those who enter and exit the military. Since the Vietnam War, the Republican Party has generally owned defense and national security issues in the eyes of the electorate. A disproportionate number of veterans are older, white, and male—proxy factors that are typically associated with GOP support. This leads many to assume all veterans are Republicans too. But the increasing numbers of Democratic veterans running for office indicate that it may be time to reevaluate who politically our veterans really are.
That larger question appears in the title of Professor Teigen’s book: Why Veterans Run. Teigen gives us, in blessedly jargon-free prose, a much needed taxonomy of military veterans in presidential election politics. He tells us when they run, how they run, and what happens when they do. He gives us clarifying charts and graphs; a straightforward roadmap which he faithfully follows; case studies; and a wealth of well-researched insights that will illuminate and enlarge the knowledge of academic, veteran, and layperson alike. He shows how veterans have always responded to larger social and political currents, and how underneath it all, veteran identity is entwined with a perceived patriotic identity thanks to the inseparable role the military played in the formation of the American nation.
His title is a statement, for which the book is the explanation. But I had approached it as a question, and I’m not satisfied that it was answered. To me, answering the question of “why veterans run” requires moving beyond the quantitative data that Teigen has gathered and organized so well. But here we move into the arena of character, both high and low—a subject that is far more difficult to know and certainly quantify, even if no less important for finding an answer.
For the inscription to his monograph on soldiers and politics, Samuel Finer chose a musical notation from a Mozart opera about an epically seductive albeit thoroughly wicked man. “In testa egli ha un cappello . . . E spade al fianco egli hà,” a disguised Don Giovanni sings about himself. The soldier’s panache is unmistakable and powerful, Finer suggests.
He’ll be wearing a special hat
With white plumes on his head;
A great, big cloak is on his back,
And at his side he has a sword.
Soldiering and politics make for a seductive match.
That encapsulates sentiments very much in the timbre of the civil-military community’s discussions as the electoral clock wound down in 2018. In late September, Mara Karlin and Alice Hunt Friend wrote against the “myt[h] . . . that battlefield experience is the most authoritative source of military policy expertise.” A few days later Kathy Roth-Douquet of Blue Star Families argued: “Military service fosters connections that transcend the era of bitter partisanship.” Jim Golby responded with a (wonderfully informative, concise) 25-tweet thread of scholarship about why “we should be careful to think that vets can save politics.” Meanwhile, the nonpartisan “super PAC” With Honor celebrated the fact that nearly 200 veterans were running for Congress in November, as did VoteVets.org.
Largely missing from this discussion: Why do veterans run for office? And why does the American public seem to like that they do?
Why veterans seek public office is a question that my AEI colleague Gary Schmitt and I have been researching. We took up this question because we were curious about the rising numbers of post-9/11 veterans running in, and winning, political races. We’ve wondered whether veterans ran for Congress or against it; to “fix” a “broken Congress;” or to change Washington. We wondered what policies they typically advocated, if any, or whether they mostly ran against a particular incumbent, or his or her policies. We also wondered about the level of civic knowledge of congressional candidates and what their rhetoric on the campaign trail suggested about their institutional knowledge—as well as, more narrowly, whether military veterans had a deeper or different understanding of government and the state. Individuals in the armed forces do take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, after all.
The juxtaposition of individuals affiliated with America’s most-trusted institution campaigning to become members of the least-trusted institution especially caught our attention. It’s sparked a range of Congress-heavy questions. How would veterans of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) affect the Legislature’s performance—and especially public perception of that performance? Veterans arguably have a heightened civic awareness and, by the nature of their service, an equally heightened awareness of the consequences of decisions made in Washington. Can their increased participation in the electoral process help turn Congress’s dismal approval numbers around?
On the other hand, veterans are former members of an institution that is by necessity organized along illiberal lines and relies on hierarchy and (in extremis) the achievement of objectives through non-democratic, decisive action and the use of force. The “can do” attitude inculcated as a part of military service may pose a stumbling block to veterans-turned-legislators as they respond to the dynamics of representation and legislative deliberation. Indeed, in running for office, will they—and the segment of the population that supports their election—contribute to a dynamic whereby it comes to be seen that Congress’s problems can only be fixed by members who see themselves as standing outside of the necessarily complicated and politicized character of politics today?
What They Say & What’s Been Said
Most treatments of veterans in politics don’t tackle these questions. Of course, questions about how veterans have shaped, or are shaped by, American politics pre-date the Constitutional Convention, but relatively few contemporary scholars have studied their political opinions. There’s been some movement in the field since Armed Forces and Society published a 2007 literature review revealing that much of the existing literature related to the draft era and might not apply to our all-volunteer military. Jason Dempsey’s Our Army, Donald Inbody’s The Soldier Vote, Jeremy Teigen’s scholarship, J. Tyson Chatagnier and Jonathan Klingler’s 2015 Survey of American Veterans, and the Hoover Institution’s recent Warriors & Citizens volume, among others, do yeoman’s service here in exploring themes raised by Peter Feaver and Richard Kohn about the “civil-military gap.”
That these questions are not more explored is surprising, given the anxieties of civil-military observers since the 1990s about the military becoming partisan or acquiring too much influence in areas of American society. Outside of this particular community, it’s entirely possible that the dearth of research is the product of academic neglect. This supposition is reinforced by Federal laws that prohibit polling members of the armed forces on their past or future voting preferences.
That’s among the reasons why, for our forthcoming report, Schmitt and I concentrate on the publicly available campaign rhetoric of veterans running in the 2016 election—as Democrats, Republicans, Third Partiers, or Independents. This includes campaign websites and literature, interviews, and video recordings. We’re juxtaposing what we see across veteran candidacies with the academic literature on the motivating factors of running for public office generally. If it’s true that there’s been a net decrease in political ambition in the “candidate eligibility pool,” indicating that serving in office has become less appealing, we hoped to discover in veterans’ own words why increasing numbers of them clearly did find it palatable.
The two Wordle graphics below, culled from the data we collected from 232 veterans running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016, provide some insight. These represent what veterans said was their motivation for running for office (Figure 1) and what top policies that motivation was directed toward (Figure 2).
Neither of the graphics are earth-shattering in their revelations. Initial analysis tends to confirm the thesis that Republican veterans and Democratic veterans run for reasons and causes similar to their non-veteran peers. Out of the 232 veterans represented here, 133 ran as Republicans and 67 ran as Democrats, and the enlarged phrases reflect this breakdown. Both Republican and Democratic veterans most commonly emphasized the need to represent their state and district’s values in Washington as a reason for running. Democrats were more likely to emphasize social justice issues; Republicans, economic security and growth. Republicans were more likely to discuss national security, foreign policy, and the military than Democrats were, but virtually all veteran candidates emphasized the need to address veterans’ affairs. Importantly, Democrats and Republicans alike invoked a dedication to public service and a sense of civic duty.
Veterans demonstrate a willingness to run more frequently in general, and in long-shot races in particular, where other high-quality candidates choose to sit out a potential losing candidacy. This suggests that a civic sense of duty—one might even say patriotism—may well be the obvious but overlooked element in explaining why veterans run and why, in turn, we have to probe more deeply than an analysis of their campaign talking points.
Weighing in with Philosophy
Veterans enter politics because they have a profound, perhaps even primal, connection to the political. This is different from saying that veterans enter politics because they’re existentially connected to the nation or nation-state by virtue of defending it from foreign enemies. It’s also different from saying that (American) veterans have a unique bond with their country because of the indispensable role the military played in forming the American nation. While these aren’t invertebrate statements, they don’t capture the bedrock phenomenon. In spite of some purplish prose, the words of sociologist Willard Waller may come closer to the mark: “The veteran is always a powerful force, for good or evil. . . . He has fought for the flag and has absorbed some of its mana. He is sacred. He is covered with pathos[.]”
This is a grand claim. But it’s one that political science is ill-equipped to prove or disprove on its own. To appropriate Carnes Lord’s observation about political science and the art of statecraft, political science is too preoccupied with identifying lawlike regularities in behavior to be able to handle the often intangible, and therefore unmeasurable, dynamics of the same. Although necessarily less exact, it’s political philosophy and even poetry (literature) that can better describe the dynamics between veterans and politics. Even here it’s a struggle, though. We’ve long since lost the ability to talk this way in the realm of public policy.
At bottom, what’s really in question is spiritedness. It’s a concept tied to what Socrates and Plato termed thymos or thymoedies. Alongside desire and reason, spiritedness (thymos) is one of Socrates’ three elements of the soul. Operating in a pre-Marxian world that doesn’t take a narrow, economizing view of politics, Socrates describes political order as emerging indirectly from the need people experience to defend their lives, lands, and liberty from the dominating designs of others. In Plato’s Republic, it’s spiritedness that answers this challenge: As a form of anger, spiritedness seeks to overcome all obstacles in its way. It lends itself toward a willingness to kill and be killed, and is the essential quality of human beings who would live free from the oppression of others. In this way it’s also associated with a sense of justice and injustice; it leads an individual to strike back at those who have harmed him. Spiritedness is thus attached to a concern for honor.
Homer’s Achilles demonstrates these dynamics. Homer’s muse sings about the anger of Achilles, because the thumotic rage with which he kills and desecrates Hector’s body in revenge for his friend’s death differs nowhere in kind from his rage at the injustice of Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek army facing Troy. Agamemnon has affronted Achilles’ honor, as well as undermined the accepted system of spoils distribution to warriors. Not surprisingly, it’s against the backdrop of Achilles that Socrates identifies thymos as the psychic origin of distinctively political action.
Spiritedness as the political passion shows itself as a yearning for victory, superiority, rule, honor, and glory. It’s not desire simply, nor desire for just any goal; it’s a yearning toward goals that are the most difficult to attain. That’s why, when it comes to honor, spiritedness translates into the desire for recognition by free individuals, and so gets tied to political liberty, and hence to law, and hence to justice. Spiritedness expresses itself positively as a zeal for justice, and negatively as moral indignation when the latter is threatened. In Plato’s Republic, the dialogue on justice shows how under these circumstances spiritedness is the connective tissue through which diverse human beings can become, and remain, a unified community. Suffused throughout this platonic discussion is the overt role of the guardian or warrior or soldier in accomplishing and maintaining these ends.
But the guardian or soldier can also destroy his community, through an excess or misdirection of thymos, as seen in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. The nature of spiritedness, it turns out, is inherently equivocal. Like Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the spirited individual is always on the lookout for something—anything—that is larger than himself, that will test his mettle. While unacknowledged, some recognition of the ambiguity of thymos arguably undergirds the caution some within the military-civilian relations community urge about veterans as political candidates.
Democratic Politics and the Veteran Candidate’s Panache
Despite the historical and philosophical distance between Plato and today, his observations about the origins of politics are helpful in understanding what the ties are that link veterans and politics. It might be less the fact that the veteran is “wrapped in the flag” than that his character has what the ancients would describe as an affinity to justice that makes him attractive as a political candidate. That affinity might also partially explain why veteran candidates of all political stripes emphasize their sense of civic duty and public service, and the electorate typically accepts that motivation with little cynicism.
However, as Samuel Finer’s inclusion of that Mozart quotation about a soldier’s seductive panache reminds, the philosophic insight about the instability of spiritedness suggests that a tad of cynicism about veterans as politicians may be in order. Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibited something like this in a famous essay for The Atlantic Monthly. A year into the Civil War he predicted that future political candidates would attempt to outdo one another in claiming the veteran’s mantle. (“One terrible idea occurs. . . . Military merit, or rather, since that is not so readily estimated, military notoriety, will be the measure of all claims to civil distinction.”) He understood that in a world of democratic politics, the electorate will continually be searching for distinguishing factors of candidates that appear to confirm superior character, leadership ability, and concern for the common good. Then, as now, military service fits the bill in the public eye.
In more recent years, veterans on the campaign trail and in Congress have been taken to task for embellishing their service record or otherwise falling short of the “White Knight” image. This does suggest that voters, after all, do pay attention to the person behind the uniform. At the same time, this has not seemed to have had an adverse effect on either the amount of veterans running for political office or the number of veterans elected into office. Nor does it seem likely to in the immediate future, if the history of the veteran and politics is any guide. Given that deep-seated dynamic, a better response to the phenomenon than simply castigating veterans for becoming political, or voters for admiring veteran candidates, would seem to involve a civic education of veterans and the electorate: That the qualities a veteran might bring to government can be significant, but are not enough in themselves for sound governance, let alone statesmanship.