Everyone is talking about Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) expressed intent to call for the reinstitution of the military draft as if it were something new. Back in 2003, however, Rep. Rangel sponsored the Universal National Service Act of 2003 along with thirteen co-sponsors—all Democrats, though certain sectors of the Left were spreading the disinformation that President Bush and/or House/Senate Republicans were the actual draft-planners.
Right before the 2004 presidential election, however, the House Republicans got tired of that particular bit of rumor-mongering and decided to call out their Democrat cohorts. They brought the bill—HR 163 of the 108th Congress—to the floor for a vote and the bill was defeated resoundingly by a 402-2 tally. Neither Rep. Rangel nor any of the co-sponsors voted ‘yea’ and the only two who did so were Pete Stark (D-CA) and, interestingly enough, a then-obscure congressman named John Murtha (D-PA).
Having Rangel vote down his own bill seemed odd at the time (he even sent letters to his fellow House Democrats advising them to vote the bill down), but now it’s quite understandable: he was waiting for a possible moment when his party would have a majority--and, thus, a more favorable image--and that time is now. Perfectly logical.
We can only wait to see whether a new version of the bill—which neither most military nor most civilian citizens want passed—will find itself up for a vote.
(On a personal note, one of my cousins told me back in 2003 that the president was looking to implement the draft. Coincidentally, he ran that by me right after I posted “Drafty Story.” He had been very frightened that his younger son, then a high school senior, would be drafted, but I pointed him to my blog. BTW, much to his father’s chagrin, the son in question joined the Air Force upon his graduation.)
(Thanks to Pajamas Media)