Does Wartime Service Matter in Presidential Elections?
1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 all saw the candidate without military service elected over the candidate who had served, in several cases heroically.
One could argue that Vietnam is a bigger part of John McCain's persona and appeal than it was of Al Gore's when he ran for president. And while John Kerry made a big deal of his wartime service, it essentially got dismantled by the Swiftboat folks. I'm not denying the trend; just saying we should be on the lookout for a possible exception this time around.