Republican National Committee “survey” taps fear of military draft to raise funds


“Are you in favor of reinstituting the military draft, as Democrats in Congress have proposed?” That’s one of 15 questions the Republican National Committee uses to drum up funds in a “2010 Obama Agenda Survey” that arrived in Minnesota mailboxes this week. A search of current legislation suggests that no such proposal is pending in Congress. 

It has been almost three years since U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, a Democrat from New York, last introduced his bill to bring back the draft. Rangel’s effort has been less pro-draft than anti-war; his gambit is that conscription, or even talk of it, would act as a brake on United States military adventures.

Rangel’s list of current bills doesn’t show any legislation regarding the draft. (A call to his office to confirm that hasn’t yet been returned.) An online search for any bills in Congress concerning “conscription” or a “military draft” comes up empty.

Bill Galvin, counseling coordinator at the Center on Conscience and War in Washington, D.C., tells the Minnesota Independent he hasn’t heard of any recent legislation regarding the military draft.

But you wouldn’t know that from the RNC’s mailing. The “survey,” RNC Chairman Michael Steele writes in a cover letter, “is your opportunity to let Republican leaders … know where you stand on the policies and programs being proposed by Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress.” It isn’t long before he gets to the sales pitch: “I’m asking you to include a contribution to the Republican National Committee …”

The Central Committee on Conscientious Objection appears to agree with the RNC assessment that the draft could come back: “It’s not a matter of ‘IF’ the draft will return … It’s a matter of ‘WHEN.’

But the newly confirmed director of the Selective Service System, Larry Romo, told Congress he hopes there is no need for a draft. Still, he plans to ramp up compliance with military registration systems through marketing programs and direct-mail – the vehicle the RNC uses for its “survey.”

The military draft is an interesting issue for the Republicans to try to raise cash with. The politically independent base that the party needs to enlist for electoral battles to come in 2010 and 2012 may be of two minds. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura recently said he favors the return of the draft, while U.S. Rep. Ron Paul seemed to suggest he’d lead a Libertarian resistance movement in remarks he made in Minnesota after the 2008 Republican National Convention.