Because serving in the military and serving in a political capacity require a similar full-time commitment to the country and its well-being, I do think that a candidate's military record should be considered when predicting how responsibly they will approach their time in office.
A military record can indicate many things about a candidate. For example, if the candidate served their full time honorably it indicates that they were able to fulfill a commitment and perform well in a demanding environment. Any awards or merits they receive are an indication that they are capable of going above and beyond duty. It is therefore sensible to review a candidate's military record.
A military record can speak to a candidates work ethic, just as a letter of recommendation, or a reference check can. The military record, unlike a letter of recommendation, should not be the only thing that a prospective employer looks at though. It should be weighed with references, the interview, other qualification and experience, and the employers needs. Being a veteran is typically a good sign to prospective employers though and providing your military record can help you land that job.
A candidate's military record is an indicator of how a candidate will perform in office, because it's a small sample of how they approach life. Take George Bush, for example. He got a job in the National Guard through his daddy's connections, instead of going to war in Vietnam. A clear example of the type of person he is.
Candidates almost always tout their military record unless it contains less-than-flattering details. John Kerry and John McCain, for example, were consistently showing that they upheld the American traditions of service and honor for their country. Meanwhile, candidates that have no military service, such as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, have had to carefully skirt the issue by showing support for the military and service to the United States in other ways. In almost every cases, a military record is beneficial to a candidate's election; it indicates a will to perform in office in the service of the American people.
If a candidate performed his or her duties well while in the military, it stands to reason they would excel in other areas, such as government office. Especially if that person was in combat, then he is used to performing under extremely stressful situations. Even if the candidate did not serve during wartime, the military tends to produce people who have learned discipline and loyalty and the importance of teamwork.
A person in the military acquires a certain amount of discipline. If they don't, they will be reprimanded, unless of course, they come from a powerful family who has connections in high places. Since most people in the military don't have this option, they have to go to work, and do their job, whatever and wherever it might be. If a person in the military has a good record, it means they are reliable, dependable, and honorable. I believe these qualities would cross over into a political office. They would perform well in office, just as they did in the Armed Forces.
While some issues pertaining to military service may reflect poorly or positively on a political candidate, there is no reason to believe that anyone's military service is any better of an indicator of their character or governing ability. It is just like any other type of record from a person's past.
An exemplary military record does not indicate that an individual will perform well as a politician, in the civilian sector. In the military, individuals rely on chain of command, in which most difficult decisions are made by those higher up on the ladder. The military does not train or approve of those who make their own decisions and this, in fact, is not a positive trait for those seeking office. Office seekers must prove that, while they can work within a team structure, they must also have the capacity to think and make decisions outside the group. Military records indicate the individual did a good job and, therefore, should be equated to references found on civilian resumes.
A candidate's military record is not an accurate indicator of how he/she will perform in office, because there are more important factors. It is better to look at the person's overall career history, successes, and failures. Just having military experience doesn't make a proven leader or worthy politician. Looking at their family life would be a better indicator.
Those military assignments are generally from decades ago. It just doesn't have much bearing on current philosophies. Give me something within the last ten years before I heed it that much.
While you can often correlate someone's success in business in a previous position with whether or not they will succeed in a new station, it only applies when they are the same or very similar. Military success is not in any way related to politics and governing society, therefore you cannot take success in the one and say that it means you will have success in the other.
I am in the military, and trust me, if half the people I work with ran for office I'd be petrified. I am also in the infantry, which is the basis of the army. We're the guts of the army. People salute those who serve, but don't think about what they were actually doing. If you were say, a cook for the military, you don't deserve a prize. That's how I feel about officials claiming their military background. If anything it makes them more unstable and shows that they wouldn't run a country well.
I oppose that idea because I believe the behavior, actions and mind frame while in the military is very collective. An individual is always depending on orders being given to him/her and an occasion may arise where there is lack of order, and the individual is unprepared for acting on his/her own. Any wrong doing in that mind frame doesn't necessarily mean it was ill intended or is a blatant fault of the individual. In office, while thinking with more a independent mind-set the same individual can be well prepared and carry out tasks well.
Military environment pose different challenges and situations when compared to a business or office environment. Though we can assume the personality traits of the person with the help of the candidate's military record, it may not provide complete understanding of the the person's skills and performance related to the domain.
I believe that a candidate's military record does not indicate how well he/she will perform in office. In the military, you have set rules that need to, have to, and will be followed. The fact that these rules are already in place and set in stone takes away the need for free thinking and greatly limits the need to make a decision. In office, however, free thinking and decision making are extremely important requirements.
We need candidates who are used to deciding the way things should work, not candidates who have military records and are used to being told the way things should work. In my opinion some of the best Presidents of the United States were those presidents who did not have military records. For example, Bill Clinton does not have a military record and he is widely regarded as one of the best presidents we have ever had. Also, Barack Obama does not have a military record and in my opinion, he's doing a better job than most already. A military record is no indicator of competence in office.
Military service, or lack there of, only makes a minor contribution in the grand scheme of what knowledge is needed to be a good politician. A politician needs knowledge of laws, economics, international affairs, business sense, the environment, and countless others important things. Military service, I believe, is at the bottom of the totem pole. A person can be well disciplined and organized, and have a clear view of military progress without ever having served in the military.