This is one for the books:
In the late 1960s, Mitt Romney vocally supported both the Vietnam War and the draft that conscripted young American men for military service in that conflict.
Romney himself, however, received draft deferments four times during the war and went to France for a couple of years to proselytize for his Mormon faith. That part of Romney’s biography has become fairly well-known during this political season.
What’s not so well-known, as Gloria Borger of CNN tells the story, is the danger Romney faced in France.
You see, the French populace was not very supportive of America’s military misadventure in Vietnam (in part, no doubt, because the French had lost tens of thousands of their own troops in an 18-year war in Southeast Asia). Anyway, poor Mitt had to endure this antiwar fervor during his lengthy stay in France.
Here’s the way Borger, the senior political analyst at CNN, melodramatically states the case in her narration of the documentary “Romney Revealed”:
In 1968, France was a dangerous place to be for a 21-year-old American, but Mitt Romney was right in the middle of it.
Wow! How brave of him!
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite RESPONDS to Borger’s ridiculous hyperbole with suitable snarkiness:
That’s right, in 1968, the year in which the highest number of American deaths in Vietnam were reported (16,592), France was a dangerous place to be for a 21-year-old American who was avoiding service in Vietnam. Aside from the constant danger of having one’s eye put out by an errant baguette, what hardships did Mitt Romney face while he was “in country?”
Well, all those dying Americans were causing protests in France, and as a result, says fellow Romney missionary Mike Bush, “There was no train service, there were no buses, no newspapers. The electricity would go off from time-to-time.”
The electricity would go off from time-to-time? Mon Dieu. Think of the horrific flashbacks to rudely-interrupted Gilligan’s Island reruns and spoiled escargot. But the horrors of Vietnam-era France didn’t end there.
“There were no letters from home,” Bush continues. “The money at the time came via check. That was our lifeline was getting letters from home.”
So, CNN’s story is that Mitt Romney had it tough during Vietnam because the protests in France made it hard for his dad to send him money.