(Video analysis from the Jed Report)
The ridiculous Right-wing smear of Gen. (That's General, you idiots!) Wesley Clark's comments on John McCain's qualifications is an epic example of Truthiness. As McCain's campaign message has developed into 'Noun, verb, and P.O.W.™', Clark merely said that McCain's military experience didn't necessarily qualify him to be President.
Shocking, just shocking. Ezra points out that Clark actually answered the wrong question:
In that, Clark simply answered the wrong question. Getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is not a qualification to become president. The McCain campaign, however, is hoping that it's a sufficient qualification to be elected president. And if the media happens to helpfully conflate the two, well, then, that's not exactly McCain's fault, now is it?
Indeed. McCain's sole qualification seems to be his military service. Raphael Noboa, another veteran, begs to differ:
McCain is known for three things, and three things only:
1. His role in the Keating five Scandal, which may have led to
2. His role in fashioning a weak campaign finance reform package, and
3. Being shot down and consequently, spending five years as a prisoner of war.
Look, let’s accept, for argument’s sake, that the Vietnam War started in earnest in 1965, and essentially ended in 1973. That’s eight years. McCain was shot down in 1967, taken prisoner, and wasn’t released until 1972.
McCain suffered greatly at the hands of the enemy, that’s beyond question. I respect what he went through over there, even if he doesn’t. His combat experience, however, was fundamentally different from that of Wes Clark, or mine, or my uncle’s, for that matter.
There’s a further reason why Wes Clark or me or many other veterans don’t really talk about combat — it’s because we have other things to talk about! Essentially, we bring our game to the field, and leave everything on it.
McCain, on the other hand, has…no…game. None. Zip. In other words, Mad Jack is a punk, and he knows it! He knows it!
All he does is hint at his suffering, with a wink and a nod, and because regular folks don’t know how to deal with that when faced with it (trust me, they don’t, and that’s OK, as it goes), they give him a pass — and they’ve been doing it for the last four decades.
Again, let me point out that Wesley Clarkis in fact a General, with a lifetime of military experience. He's uniquely qualified to state that McCain's military time is NOT enough to make him a competent President.
Here's what McCain actually said:
CLARK: He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, "I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not, do you want to take the risk, what about your reputation, how do we handle this publicly? He hasn't made those calls, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.
CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.
DDay, writing at Digby, adds this:
1) Clark is right. He's not blatantly lying about McCain's political service or even disparaging it. Earlier in the interview he called McCain a hero to "all of us in the service." He's making the simple point that military service and executive experience aren't the same thing. Because we've been saturated with this "commander-in-chief" stuff for the last 7 years, and this false notion that criticizing the President's policies equals "criticizing the troops," this dangerous blurring has occurred.
2) I seem to remember a post about the media seeing in McCain a certain honor that they recognize as lacking in themselves and that's why they constantly feel inadequate in his presence and continuously looking up to him. That's what this is going to be about. Bob Schieffer literally couldn't believe anyone would take on McCain's perceived strength, and now that Clark has done so the rest of the media herd will take it the same way.
3) I have few doubts that Clark will handle this head-on. Let's see how the rest of the Democrats handle it. Will they run for the hills screaming? Undercut Clark at the knees?
I think Clark can handle it, but the Obama campaign folds like a camping tent:
And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides. We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period. Full stop.
Crap. Just crap, from all around. Here's more from the Jed Report:
People twisted Clark's comment into being a slam on John McCain, but as I showed on this video, he was merely rejecting an attack on Barack Obama leveled by Bob Schieffer. Still, that hasn't stopped the media from pumping up the controversy.
I've posted video from MSNBC and FOX after the jump if you're interested in seeing what the media blowhards are spewing forth. (I warn you, it's not pretty!)
The stupid, it never ends. St. McCain can do no wrong according to the media whores.
Update: From VoteVets:
We the undersigned thank you for speaking up forcefully and honestly about what it takes to lead this nation, and the kind of judgment we must look for. You were right to say that Senator McCain has not shown good judgment, despite his extraordinary service to America. Just in the past few years:
- Senator McCain's service and experience, both as a POW and as a Senator apparently hasn't infused him with a dose of good judgment.
- Senator McCain's experience hasn't led him to realize that the war in Iraq and it's continuance has empowered and emboldened Iran, and destabilized the region.
- Senator McCain's experience hasn't caused him to recognize that we're losing ground in Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden is still out there, plotting.
- Senator McCain's experience didn't lead him to support the 21st Century GI Bill -- he opposed it. It didn't even make him feel the need to get back to Washington to vote on this -- one of the most important veterans' bills this Congress. He twice skipped votes on the GI Bill, to fundraise.
Go there, sign the petition.