Ron Paul is described as the "isolationist" (an absurdly inaccurate term to use in describing a vociferous free trade supporter such as Paul) candidate who wants to reduce the size of the US military's global footprint and substantially cut federal spending on defense. Pundits of the mainstream Republican establishment, who must now bite their tongues when they talk about Paul upon the realization that without Paul's supporters a GOP victory in November is virtually unattainable, have in the past expressed no reservations in labeling him an "anti-American". It's noteworthy, then, that those who actual serve in the US military appear to be among his most ardent supporters.
Mangan's post, however, reveals that Romney's tenth largest contributor has donated nearly five times as much as Paul's largest contributor has. So maybe the military branches are just further down Romney's list but still give more to Mitt and the other candidates than they do to Paul.
To find out whether or not that's the case, I went to the FEC's website and downloaded the entire donor listings for all individuals who listed "Army", "Navy", "Marines", or "Air Force" as their employer or occupation through the end of November 2011 (the latest figures available). The following table ranks all 2012 presidential (current and former) aspirants who have received campaign contributions from members of the US military by the amount of money each has received:
|Presidential candidate||$ received|
|1. Ron Paul||$80,500|
|2. Barack Obama||$71,492|
|3. Mitt Romney||$12,700|
|4. Rick Perry||$7,575|
|5. Herman Cain||$7,318|
|6. Michelle Bachmann||$7,157|
|7. Newt Gingrich||$1,375|
|8. John Huntsman||$1,250|
|9. Gary Johnson||$750|
|9. Rick Santorum||$750|
|11. Charles 'Buddy' Roemer||$735|
|12. Thaddeus McCotter||$250|
|13. Tim Pawlenty||$250|
Paul has garnered twice as much in donations for his presidential campaign from military personnel as the rest of the Republican field combined. Even president Obama, who owns the Democratic ticket, comes in below him.
I'd love to hear how Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity would react if questioned about why we should ignore what the "troops on the ground" are saying about the direction of our foreign policy and what needs to be done to change it. Of course we'll hear instead about the need to rally behind someone who supports the military and is strong on defense without a word on how those in the military actually feel about him.