First Lady Seeks to Shore up Veterans' Vote
In accepting invitation, Michelle Obama (and her husband) can seal up more support from young disillusioned veterans.
Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Leeks has secured a companion for an upcoming military ball. The event is a year away and that’s plenty of time for his date, First Lady Michelle Obama, to have an unavoidable scheduling conflict.
But you can’t tell Leeks nothin’.
“She said, ‘yes.’ She’d love to go with me,” the 20-year-old Maryland native told ABC News. “The reason she’s checking with her husband is to make sure that week is clear.”
Well, Mr. Leeks, she and her husband are also having your name run through just about every Secret Service background check at their disposal. And it’s worth pointing out the amount of courage it took to ask a married mother of two to step out on her husband for an evening. I digress.
Mrs. Obama’s acceptance of Leeks’ invitation aligns with her push for supporting military families. Not only would she be the belle of the ball, Mrs. Obama would further demonstrate the lengths she’ll go to see even an unmarried soldier attend the Marine Corps Ball with dignity.
This all happens amid a “responsible” end to the war in Iraq, with veteran unemployment rates much higher than the civilian rate, and with 1 in 3 post-Sept. 11 veterans, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, believing the wars were not worth fighting.
Attending the ball could have a trickle down effect for the president himself, who struggles with support among young veterans. Throughout this year, the president and the first lady have been keynoters at a few military-related program launches and policy announcements.
Top 5 Military Victories by the Obama Administration in 2011
1. Iraq war officially ends (Dec. 15)
2. Administration announces commitment on private sector hiring (Nov. 10)
3. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ends (Sept. 20)
4. Tax credit to businesses that hire veterans (Nov. 7)
5. Intervention in Libya without U.S. troops on the ground (March 19)
Regardless of the political implication, Mrs. Obama’s attending the ball in earnest would say a whole lot about her character. And it says something about the president’s character, too. He’d be loaning his wife out.