For students of post-war US history, the GI Bill stands as one of the towering achievements of the New Deal coaltion. In the wake of WWII, the so-called Servicemen’s Readjustment Act offered veterans returning home tuition to go to college or vocational school, up to a year of unemployment insurance, and loans to purchase homes or businesses.

Now, VoteVets is hitting John McCain hard for not supporting the latter-day GI Bill, the Webb-Hagel Bill. The above ad highlights one of the most sickening disjunctures between the rhetoric and reality of today’s Republican Party: braying about supporting the troops while treating them like expendable labor. From the horrible conditions at Walter Reed, to the abuse that is stop-loss, to the appalling rates of suicide among soldiers, and now to McCain’s and Bush’s partisan intransigence, the mainstream of the Republican Party uses the women and men who fight this country’s wars to score cheap political points while refusing to treat their service with the respect it deserves.

Via Yglesias.