This morning one of my students asked why the Democrats "are so weak on defense." I responded by asking the student to look up the political affiliation of the president at the beginning of every major conflict in the twentieth century.
Note: I know Eisenhower was president at the very beginning of our involvement in Vietnam, but let’s give credit to Kennedy and Johnson for the significant escalation.
Update: You may have trouble believing this, but the student in question actually came back by the end of the day having completed my little assignment. She brought a list that included the following:
Woodrow Wilson, Democrat: World War I
Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat: World War II
Harry Truman, Democrat: Korean War
Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat, Vietnam (I made sure to explain the role that Eisenhower played.)
When she asked why the accusation is so pervasive I asked her to think about the nature of the language. In other words to think about the role of politics in shaping public perception. I suspect that we will have another conversation tomorrow. I will update if anything does indeed transpire.