MoCo Councilman Hans Riemer’s Political Hoax: Reinstating the Military Draft

Montgomery County Councilman (and now Wannabe County Executive) Hans Riemer has proudly taken personal credit for his “fake news” media campaign claiming the military draft was about to be reinstated.

Hans Riemer

Usually, when political operatives engage in dirty tricks, they avoid having their fingerprints attached.  Or they are at least a little embarrassed at being caught red-handed circulating some lie or hoax.  Not Hans Reimer.

Montgomery County Councilman (and now Wannabe County Executive) Hans Riemer has proudly taken personal credit for his “fake news” media campaign claiming the military draft was about to be reinstated.  In the 2004 election, Reimer served as political director for Rock the Vote.  His phony draft reinstatement media campaign was intended to scare younger voters into participating in the election.

On archived C-SPAN footage at a June 8, 2005 “Rock the Vote” fundraiser honoring former President Clinton, Reimer is captured making the following claims:

“…and that is why we tackled the issue of a potential military draft.  This one issue, with this one issue, young people showed their political power.  We saw it, we gave it a megaphone, Congress saw it, and they voted against it, the President – the Presidential candidates saw it, and they were against reinstating the draft, and this is not over, but we know where young people stand.” [i]

Yet, there was never even a remote chance of the draft being reinstated.

The website Snopes concluded at the time: “Claim:  The U.S. military will be reinstating the draft by Spring 2005.  Status: False”

“…the draft issue has largely come to public attention due to a pair of bills introduced in Congress (S.89 and H.R.163) which seek to obligate all citizens and residents of the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 26 (both male and female) to perform a two-year period of national service (not necessarily as part of the military)…However, both these bills were introduced not by legislators genuinely seeking to reinstate the draft but by Democrats seeking to make an anti-war statement, and they languished in committee for 21 months before Republicans brought the House version to the floor and overwhelmingly defeated it in October 2004.”[ii]

This so-called draft legislation was introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and was actually a proposal to create a national service requirement, either for the military or for domestic service.  His bill never attracted a single Republican co-sponsor in the then Republican-controlled Congress.

At the time, another congressman, Rep. John Kline’s commentary in an article at the time, “Reinstating the Draft Is a Ridiculous Idea,” captures the issue.

“Why should anybody take Mr. Rangel’s draft talk seriously?  His lack of sincerity was exposed in 2004 when even he didn’t vote for the bill he authored which would have reinstituted the military draft.  In fact, his military draft proposal was defeated 402-2 in the House of Representatives.”[iii]

Returning to Hans Riemer on tape and the incredible brazenness of the scene that C-SPAN captures.  Riemer is caught on stage with the former President of the United States, claiming to have influenced the outcome of the Congressional national service proposal vote. Reimer even claims that he caused President Bush to reverse his position on reinstating a military draft, and also the positions of other (presumably all Democratic) Presidential candidates.  Not a shred of evidence suggests any of them ever entertained supporting a draft.

President Reagan once popularized the English translation of a Russian proverb, “Trust, but Verify.”  When considering the claims of political operatives such as Hans Riemer, the better advice seems to be “Verify, before ever Trusting.”


[i] https://www.c-span.org/video/?187098-1/rock-vote-awards

[ii] http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/draft.asp

[iii] https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/29488-reinstating-the-draft-is-a-ridiculous-idea