Daniel M. Dellinger addresses the morning session of the annual Fall Meetings on Wednesday. (Photo by Tom Strattman)

Commander to NEC: ‘Politics has replaced patriotism’

The current political climate in Washington has given new purpose to National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger’s position as leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization.

Dellinger expressed his frustrations over the recent government shutdown to hundreds assembled for a press conference at the Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis on Tuesday, saying that it is inexcusable that Congress’ failure to pass a budget has negatively impacted veterans and their families. He stuck to a similar script in his address to Wednesday’s morning session of the 2013 Fall Meetings, telling the National Executive Committeemen and various Legionnaires present that he will continue to speak about the adverse effects of the government shutdown at any chance he gets.

“Politics has replaced patriotism,” Dellinger said. “Defending America is a constitutional responsibility that should be job one for any political office holder. And you cannot defend America without supporting the good people who have sworn an oath to do it. This is even more essential in a country with an all-volunteer force.”

Particularly, Dellinger expressed frustration about the prospects of millions of veterans not receiving benefits or GI Bill compensation should a budget not get passed by Nov. 1. Additionally, the government shutdown makes us more vulnerable as a nation to terrorist threats and also has reversed progress that VA has made on the mounting backlog of benefits claims filed, he said.

“The government is repeatedly breaking President Lincoln’s promise to ‘care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan,’” Dellinger said.

Dellinger referenced the Military Death Benefit bill that Congress recently passed and President Obama ultimately signed as an example of how the two governmental branches are capable of accomplishing something when they both decide that they want it done.

Still, he expressed concern that the situation could get worse if further compromises aren’t reached.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this ride is going to get much rougher if they don’t reach an agreement very soon,” he said.

The shutdown and looming deadline of Nov. 1 only magnifies the Legion’s role as an advocate for veterans and national security, Dellinger said.

“If this past month has not proven the importance of membership in The American Legion nothing will,” Dellinger said. “Our elected officials in Washington have not done their jobs. And while we still do not know for certain how long this shutdown will last, it will take strong and LARGE organizations like The American Legion to constantly remind our lawmakers, the president and the American people about the disproportionate impact that these political games are having on veterans and our national security.”


  1. Commander Daniel, could you please help try to have the rule or law changed that would allow discharged service men who served their duty during peace time, be able to join the legion club and be a voting member instead of treating us like second citizens, who are not able to join but not be a voting member?
  2. And another thing,47 hits on FB from our site? Where are all the Legion members?The NEC is our front with Congress but a few of us read the fall conference?It is US that need to goto post meetings and report these activities to fellow members and start raising hell about another dinner or party or what's going on in the canteen,when the real issue is our nation is under siege by an enemy that waltzed in here legally and put one of their own in the White House!Wake up!
  3. I see the only fix being a convention of the states, and Legionaires leading the charge.Foreign aid to countries that hate us? Generations collecting welfare?Why? And why are not us veterans first?Because we allowed our own to beat us down,I say no more.
  4. I thought about renewing my membership until this fiasco. Seems to me AL is yet another SI with its hand out. I served my country and ask nothing in return but the honor of have that opportunity. I sorry but this isn't what I thought being an AL member meant.
  5. I'm pretty much in agreement with you JTC. I'm retired USAF, been a Legion member since 1971, served in USA with the Big Red One in Vietnam and retired from the USAF. I believe this is a new "Legion." When I first joined I just don't remember this much--hand's out--as I see now. There was more patriotism and less greed in those days.
  6. You,Dan Gregan need to be controlled,I'm a Viet Nam Vet and I've seen some lousy things happen to our Veterans,but shutting down our country for a difference of opinion is close to Domestic Terrorism,the tea baggers are sent to Washington by a small group of very wealthy people who would love to abolish Social Security and Medicare and yes maybe even Veterans benefits,they want our country to go back to the 1930 s when the very wealthy ruled the country,and anybody buying in to the tea party crap is a blind fool!
  7. Hey Joe Crocker: Call me a "tea bagger." Call my views "crap." Call me a "blind fool." However, I enlisted in 1965 and considered it a privilege to serve the country I love. I also believe in fiscal responsibility as we members of the Tea Party believe. Am surprised you did not call us "un-American." Nevertheless, the democRATS are jumping the sinking Obamacare ship regardless of the names you can invent to slur your fellow Americans.
  8. Let me get this straight. The House of Representatives (along with the Tea Party folks) pass a budget that would fund ALL of government, would fund everything the democrats wanted, except not fund Obamacare for a year--the democrats refused to negotiate and it's somehow the Republican's/Tea Party's fault! Give me a break. Beam me up Scotty, the inmates are in charge of the asylum!
  9. Couldn't have said it better Euell! I know several Tea Party members and know none who are in the (or even near) wealthy class. Sounds like a member of the occupy movement!
  10. Unfortunately, that statement is probably truer than you want to believe. With all the money contributed by the 2 percenters to those in the "hallowed" or should I say "Hollowed" halls of Congress, there is no care for the Vet. We are just insignificant pawns in this game of high stakes Dollar Bills.
  11. I agree wholeheartedly with MSgt David Crispin,1 faction of the House should never be allowed to shut down the government over a law with some negotiations and clear heads, could work out the bugs,the plain truth is we need some kind of health care reform so working class people can afford decent care,shutting down the government is a stupid and dangerous tactic that should be considered criminal.
  12. Aye Aye! As a descendant of Revolutionary War Patriots I declare that the "Tea Party" is the American Taliban. Look at the $billions$ that was siphoned from our coffers in the last few days.
  13. We as vets took an oath to defend this country against all enemies both foreign and domestic and I hate to say it but our elected officials have become this countries worst enemies. I believe we vets should sign a mandate to the congress demanding they do there jobs or we will take them out of office one way or another.
  14. The facts are that the House passed a budget that only differed from the Senate's in two regards: delay the individual mandate by one year like all the big corporate donors got and make Congress come under Obamacare. The Senate decline to vote on it therby closing the government because they did not want to come under the very law they passed. The Senate, in voilation of the law, has not passed a budget in four years!
  15. Finally a comment based on facts rather than the propaganda of the liberal. Thanks.
  16. You, the leaders of the American Legion should reach out to every congressman and senator - not like the "Tea Party" - Not loud but proud ! That Legionaires vote and will turn out there neighbors in 2014. We should support those who did NOT shut down the government.
  17. You don't speak for me...I'm glad that someone finally had the courage to stand up and fight. Its more than just about you and you benefits. Its AMERICA that is falling apart at the seams and all you people care about is your next check. Won't matter in a few more years anyway, because the government will be open, but there won't be any money to pay anyone if we stay the course we are currently on. Someone has to lead, and we will have to sacrifice once again to bring our COUNTRY back to fiscal responsibility.
  18. I'm getting more then a little tired of your one-sided reporting. The American Legion could be leading the way into the 21st century. When secret agreements are made in the House of Representatives to prevent a vote on the budget, unless approved by one man, then I think the problem can and should be laid at the feet of those responsible. It wasn't 50 rogue members of the house it was that entire party that allowed it to happen. Those are facts.
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