VFW’s Tea Party Revolt Just Got Revolt-ier

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarmyafrica/4098438560/sizes/m/in/photostream/">US Army photo</a>/Flickr Creative Commons

Looks like we were on to something. I’d like to think of it as revoltiness.

This morning, Mother Jones reported on a tea party-fueled mutiny in the country’s top club for combat veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Strangely, the captain of this 2.2 million-strong ship is now one of the mutineers.

Seems many rank-and-file VFW members didn’t take a shine to the organization’s political wing, VFW-PAC, and its Election Day endorsements. The group reserved its seal of approval for incumbents only, including the likes of Democrats Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. In doing so, VFW-PAC snubbed at least a dozen military vets running for Congress as tea party-endorsed Republicans, from the Palin-endorsed Alaska Senate hopeful Joe Miller to a card-carrying VFW member (and shooter of Iraqis), Ilario Pantano, in a North Carolina House race. MoJo talked to VFW members who were angry at the group’s pooh-poohing of these “patriots” and discovered a few smaller, GOP-financed, right-wing vets’ groups stirring the pot of discontent.

Now, in a development straight out of Colbert Nation, even the VFW’s commander is PO’d at the organization he skippers. The club’s home page is emblazoned with a stern letter from him to the membership, sharing their discontent with the club’s political endorsements. “Our recent endorsement process unintentionally provided favoritism to the incumbents. It is now evident it was unfairly skewed and actually subverted that process,” writes commander-in-chief Richard Eubank. “We are requesting the chairman and the directors of the Political Action Committee immediately rescind their endorsement actions.”

“Requesting,” he says, because he doesn’t have any control over the group’s PAC. Or he claims not to. That’s not what VFW members think, not the ones MoJo talked to. Nor are their online stewards, the milblogging community, doing much to back up the commander’s claims. “Legally and Financially, the VFW-PAC is a separate organization from the VFW, but let’s not kid ourselves, the two are closely related,” one wrote yesterday.

What’s it all mean? Perhaps the usual tea party narrative we’ve learned from the elections and primaries so far this year: These patriots will destroy a political party or a storied service organization—or maybe even a nation—in order to save it.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.