GOP Senate candidate wants to politicize the military

Few things in American democratic traditions are more sacrosanct than the idea that the military must be an apolitical institution.

But Blake Masters, the boyish 36-year-old GOP nominee for the Arizona Senate seat once held by John McCain and currently held by Mark Kelly, a retired Navy officer and former astronaut, wants to change that.

He wants to fire all the generals and admirals, and replace them with political colonels. Masters, who never served in the military and knows nothing about winning wars, calls our nation’s military leaders — who worked their way up the ranks and earned their promotions by demonstrating their capability — “bozos.”

This isn’t an off-the-cuff remark he made in a moment of intemperate frustration with some general or other, but something he fervently advocates. “Masters explicitly called for a wholesale firing of the generals at least seven times between August 2021 and March 2022,” MSNBC reported on Friday, September 16, 2022 (see story here).

He did so, apparently, without giving a thought to what this would do to our ability to defend our nation in a hostile world. He has other priorities.

Masters is a crackpot (see story here), and even if he’s elected in November a single senator can’t fire America’s military leadership; senators don’t have that power. At most, he could harass the Pentagon, but probably couldn’t even tamper with its budget if his party remains in a Senate minority, which is to be hoped for.

But that’s beside the point. My point is something’s wrong with the fact he easily won the GOP primary, getting nearly a third of a million votes and outpolling his closest competitor by almost 100,000 votes (see primary election results here). And while he trails in November polling, he doesn’t trail by much; in the latest poll Kelly leads by only 2% (see poll results here). What the hell is wrong with those voters, are they not listening? This is someone who shouldn’t get more than 100 votes in a statewide contest.

Everyone else needs to wake up to the unpleasant reality that the GOP has gone off the rails, and responsible citizens can’t vote for their candidates until they straighten out. The Democrats aren’t perfect, but this isn’t about policy choices anymore. We’ve got to put the grownups in charge, and worry about policies when it becomes possible again to do so.

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