Military service is 'conservative value' and questioning Dem veterans' 'cognitive thought process'

Republican Kevin Nicholson, shown here at political picnic, has emphasized his military experience but questioned veterans who are Democrats. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Republican Kevin Nicholson, shown here at political picnic, has emphasized his military experience but questioned veterans who are Democrats. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

As a Republican candidate hoping to unseat U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., political newcomer Kevin Nicholson has tried to counter questions about his time as a Democrat by emphasizing his time in uniform.

Nicholson served as president of the College Democrats, then served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As he campaigns against GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir for the right to challenge Baldwin in November 2018, Nicholson has equated military service with conservative credentials.

On May 2, 2018, Nicholson made state and national headlines with those comments in an interview with Steve Scaffidi, a conservative talk show host on WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee.

The remarks also drew reaction on Twitter, so we thought we would present a fuller version of Nicholson’s remarks in our periodic feature, In Context, which fleshes out comments that grab attention.

Scaffidi alluded to the first Nicholson-Vukmir debate, six days earlier, saying: "On policy, there was a lot of agreement, which shouldn’t surprise anybody. But on that issue (conservativism), it boils down to military experience versus voting experience. Where do you fall on that?"

Nicholson replied:

Well, I think you know where I fall (chuckles), but I’ll summarize it for you quick.

I mean, look, the insinuation on the part of state senator Vukmir was that my track record doesn’t count, and it’s just too suspicious or I haven’t spent enough taking votes in the state Legislature to be qualified as a conservative.

And the reality is -- as you know, as your listeners know -- conservatism is so much more than just your politics, right? I mean, signing on the dotted line in order to defend the Constitution of our republic is, of course, a conservative value.

And not only that, I’d sure warn against those in the party that want to undermine and demean it and say, Oh, no, that doesn’t count, it’s got to be political and it’s got to be in a state legislature, it’s got to be recorded in a vote tally and all that nonsense.

And just because some people that don't call themselves conservatives and don't always act conservative do something conservative -- like, let's talk about John Kerry -- and signed up to serve his country, that doesn't mean that that's not a conservative thing to fundamentally protect and defend the Constitution. Because I'll tell you, the Democrat party has wholesale rejected the Constitution and the values that it was founded upon.

So, I'll tell you what: Those veterans that are out there in the Democrat party, I question their cognitive thought process because the bottom line is, they're signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud.