New York

The Sunshine Patriots


George W. Bush


Age 58

Born New Haven, Connecticut, July 6, 1946

Military service Texas Air National Guard 1968–1973 (Removed from flight status in 1972 for failing to take annual flight physical. Honorably discharged in 1973.)

Quote “I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.”

Dick Cheney

Vice President

Age 63

Born Lincoln, Nebraska, January 30, 1941

Military service None

Reason Four student deferments and one deferment for married men with children.

Quote “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.”

Bill Frist

Senator, Tennessee; Majority leader

Age 52

Born Nashville, Tennessee, February 22, 1952

Military service None

Reason Student deferment (Princeton 1974).

Quote “We must stay the course, keep true to our principles, have faith in our armed forces, and know that history, in the end, will be on our side.”

Dennis Hastert

Representative, Illinois; Speaker of the House

Age 62

Born Aurora, Illinois, January 2, 1942

Military service None

Reason Rejected from advanced ROTC at Wheaton College for bad shoulder stemming from sports injury. A college wrestler and coach, Hastert is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Quote [Responding to ex-P.O.W. Senator John McCain’s “Where’s the sacrifice?” criticism of Bush’s plan for wartime tax cuts.] “If you want to see the sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda [hospitals]. There’s the sacrifice in this country.”

Karl Rove

Senior White House Adviser

Age 53

Born Denver, Colorado, December 25, 1950

Military service None

Reason Student deferment (University of Utah; George Mason University—no degree).

Quote “We’re fighting a different kind of war, and no negotiation can bring it to victory.”

John Ashcroft

Attorney General

Age 62

Born Chicago, Illinois, May 9, 1942

Military service None

Reason Six student deferments and one occupational deferment (teaching law at Southwest Missouri State).

Quote “I would have served if asked.”

Paul Wolfowitz

Deputy Secretary of Defense

Age 60

Born Brooklyn, New York, December 22, 1943

Military service None

Reason Student deferments (Cornell University 1965; University of Chicago 1972).

Quote “I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq.”

Trent Lott

Senator, Mississippi

Age 62

Born Grenada, Mississippi, October 9, 1941

Military service None

Reason Student deferments (University of Mississippi, B.S. 1963 and J.D. 1967).

Quote “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”

Tom DeLay

Representative, Texas; House Majority Leader

Age 57

Born Laredo, Texas, April 8, 1947

Military service None

Reason Student deferment (University of Houston 1970); high draft-lottery number.

Quoted Told press in 1988 that there was no room in the military for people like himself because minority youths took all available slots to escape poverty.

Rudolph Giuliani

Ex-mayor, business consultant

Age 60

Born Brooklyn, New York, May 28, 1944

Military service None

Reason Student deferments (Manhattan College 1965; NYU Law School 1968); special deferment at request of federal judge for whom he was clerking.

Quote “Freedom is about authority.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor, California

Age 57

Born Thal, Austria, July 30, 1947

Military service Drafted Austrian Army; went AWOL to compete in body-building competition. Jailed for a week.

Quote “I didn’t care if they locked me up for a whole year. It had been worth it.” (Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder)

Rick Santorum

Senator, Pennsylvania

Age 46

Born Winchester, Virginia, May 10, 1958

Military service None

Reason Turned 18 after draft ended (Pennsylvania State 1980; University of Pittsburgh 1981).

Quote “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever, to my knowledge, included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

Sam Brownback

Senator, Kansas

Age 47

Born Garnett, Kansas, September 12, 1956

Military service None

Reason Turned 18 after draft ended (Kansas State University 1979; University of Kansas 1982).

Quote “We are in a battle for the soul of the nation, make no mistake about it.”

Saxby Chambliss

Senator, Georgia; Armed Services Committee

Age 60

Born Warrenton, North Carolina, November 10, 1943

Military service None

Reason Five student deferments (University of Georgia 1966; University of Tennessee College of Law 1968) and 1-Y medical deferment for bad knees (football injuries).

Quote “Max Cleland says he has the courage to lead. But the record proves Max Cleland is just misleading.” (Campaign ad questioning patriotism of Democratic opponent Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam.)

Mitch McConnell

Senator, Kentucky

Age 62

Born Tuscumbia, Alabama, February 20, 1942

Military service Army Reserves, dismissed after serving five weeks in 1967

Reason Eye condition; student deferments (University of Louisville 1964; University of Kentucky Law 1967).

Quote “This issue ranks right up there with static cling as a matter of concern to the American people.” (Calling campaign finance reform “stunningly stupid.”)

Elliott Abrams

Director of Middle East Affairs, National Security Council

Age 56

Born New York, New York, January 24, 1948

Military service None

Reason Bad back; student deferments (Harvard College 1969; Harvard Law School 1973).

Quote “Our military strength and willingness to use it will remain a key factor in our ability to promote peace.”

George Pataki

Governor, New York State

Age 59

Born Peekskill, New York, June 24, 1945

Military service None

Reason Student deferment (Yale 1967); medically unfit (poor eyesight).

Quote “Freedom requires hard work and sacrifice.”

Michael Bloomberg

Mayor, New York City

Age 62

Born Medford, Massachusetts, February 14, 1942

Military service None

Reason Student deferment (Johns Hopkins 1964; Harvard Business School 1966); 1-Y (flat feet) 1966.

Quote “I had a great agreement with the draft board—they never called me and I never called them.” (Bloomberg on Bloomberg)

Jeb Bush

Governor of Florida

Age 51

Born Midland, Texas, February 11, 1953

Military service None

Reason Student (University of Texas 1974).

Quote “We are always mindful of the many sacrifices that our brave servicemen and women make in the line of duty. But mindfulness turns to reverence during wartime, as our soldiers fight to protect our freedoms and demonstrate their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.”

And those who served:

John McCain

Senator, Arizona

Age 68

Born Panama Canal Zone, August 29, 1936

Military service U.S. Navy 1958–1981 (P.O.W. in Hanoi 1967–1973)

Quote “Victory can be our only exit strategy.”

Zell Miller

Senator, Georgia (Democrat)

Age 72

Born Young Harris, Georgia, February 24, 1932

Military service Marine Corps 1953–56

Quote “Everything You Need to Know I Learned in the Marines” [autobiography subtitle]

Heather Wilson

Representative, New Mexico

Age 43

Born Keene, New Hampshire, December 30, 1960

Military service U.S. Air Force Academy and air force 1978–89

Quote “We did the right thing going into Iraq. We can’t just play defense and put up barriers to protect ourselves.”

Sources include Washington Monthly, Slate, Roll Call, Congressional Record, New Hampshire Gazette

Photo credits George W. Bush: White House photo by Erick Draper; Cheney: White House photo by Karen Ballard; Frist: courtesy of Senator Frist’s office; Hastert: courtesy of Congressman Hastert’s office; Rove: AP/Wide World; Ashcroft: courtesy of the Department of Justice; Wolfowitz: courtesy of the Department of Defense; Lott: courtesy of Senator Lott’s office; DeLay: AP/Wide World; Giuliani: Gregoria Binuya/Retna; Schwarzenegger: courtesy of Governor Schwarzenegger’s office; Santorum: courtesy of Senator Santorum’s office; Brownback: courtesy of Senator Brownback’s office; Chambliss: courtesy of Senator Chambliss’s office; McConnell: courtesy of Senator McConnell’s office; Abrams: Israel Hadari/newscom; Pataki: courtesy of Governor Pataki’s office; Bloomberg: courtesy of Mayor Bloomberg’s office; Jeb Bush: courtesy of Governor Bush’s office; McCain: courtesy of Senator McCain’s office; Miller: courtesy of Senator Miller’s office; Wilson: courtesy of Congresswoman Wilson’s office.

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