Commissioned officers and their families are overwhelmingly Republican (47%); Democrats are most often found among the lowest ranks of the military; notably, Republicans' share goes down to 35% in the category of those who "served in Iraq or theater" and their families. Since about 83% of the total active duty military personnel are not officers (Department of Defense, Selected Manpower Statistics Fiscal Year 2003, p. 20, Table 2-2), the majority of service members are Democrats and Independents, despite the Republicans' domination of the officer corps.
% Commissioned officers and families Noncommissioned officers and families Junior enlisted personnel and families Military who served in Iraq or theater and families Generally speaking do you usually think of yourself as: Republican 47% 42% 41% 35% Democrat 15% 17% 24% 25% Independent 31% 31% 23% 30%
Source: The Annenberg Public Policy Center, "Service Men and Women Upbeat on Bush, War in Iraq, Economy and Intend to Vote, Annenberg Data Show," Table C, October 15, 2004
Regardless, all of them are treated to Rush Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, courtesy of US taxpayers. On David H. Hackworth's website, a Navy Lieutenant sounds off:
Dear Colonel Hackworth,
I am an active duty Naval Officer with 20 years of service. I began active duty as an E1 and subsequently earned a commission through the Navy's Limited Duty Officer program. I am writing in the hope that you could address an issue that has an insidious impact on morale and "good order and discipline". That problem is the broadcasting of Rush Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. For a proud Democrat like myself, this is like being forced to listen to "Tokyo Rose" in a Japanese POW Camp.
Not only am I an active duty Naval Officer, but I am also a proud "bleeding heart liberal" Democrat. You and I may be on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I know you love this country and care about issues that impact the military. I respect that you have the integrity to speak out about issues that most others would never touch.
Right now sir, somewhere in the world, Rush Limbaugh is telling my fellow servicemen and women that, "I am a terrorist sympathizer." He is telling my fellow shipmates that, "I hate God." He is telling my fellow shipmates that, "I hate the military." Right now sir, he is spitting in the face of every Democrat serving on active duty or in the reserves, and he is doing it with your tax dollars and mine. . . . ("Problem to Good Order and Discipline," December 1, 2004)