Gen. Clark: McCain "Untested And Untried" On National Security"

Is this a VP audition?

Clark offered opinions on the current state of American foreign policy, the Democrats' emergence as a more "full-service" party on security issues, and -- lest anyone doubt his potential use as a running mate for Obama -- the shortcomings of Sen. John McCain.

"I know he's trying to get traction by seeking to play to what he thinks is his strong suit of national security," Clark said of McCain while speaking from his office in Little Rock, Arkansas. "The truth is that, in national security terms, he's largely untested and untried. He's never been responsible for policy formulation. He's never had leadership in a crisis, or in anything larger than his own element on an aircraft carrier or [in managing] his own congressional staff. It's not clear that this is going to be the strong suit that he thinks it is."

In my opinion, and I have long been a Clark fan, if it can work electorally, Clark should get a long look for the VP slot.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    it would be hard (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:31:27 AM EST
    to do better than Clark.  IMO.

    I still have my Clark04 button in my... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:38:36 AM EST
    ...desk drawer.

    I remeber getting my (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:40:49 AM EST
    "wheels up on the Clark campaign" in 04.  I was so excited.

    that would be (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:41:11 AM EST
    wheels up on the Clark campaign MAIL

    although (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:42:59 AM EST
    I have to say as much as I was for him he was a pretty lackluster campaigner.  he has a deer in the headlights look he sometimes gets that is not so good.

    I know, but I think he's gotten better on that. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:59:06 AM EST
    ...maybe facing down all the fools on Fox has helped.

    Clark honed his skills on FOX (none / 0) (#128)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:21:07 PM EST
    He ended up doing very well slicing up Hannity's views on Iran, ect.  So, Clark has improved and learned to debate in the sound bite culture.

     Biden is good too on this score.  His comment on Rudy, sentences, nouns, verbs and 9/11 was very, very effective.



    if obama wants someone from the clinton camp (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Turkana on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:32:39 AM EST
    without picking clinton herself, there's no better choice.

    Good stuff (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Steve M on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:32:54 AM EST
    But is Clark precluded from running for VP for the same reason he felt precluded from running for President?

    You mean Hillary? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:42:54 AM EST
    I think (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:47:32 AM EST
    if framed correctly it might help on that. But we'll see. As I said, it has to work ELECTORALLY.

    Heck, I would have to accept Richardson if it helped electorally, though that would be a bitter pill to swallow.


    I think it's funny (none / 0) (#30)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:48:53 AM EST
    that he wasn't on the supposedly "short list" leaked yesterday. I suspect that the Obama people know how much of an anti-asset he is.

    A laugh out loud (none / 0) (#88)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:37:14 AM EST
    Funny! (none / 0) (#156)
    by blueaura on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:24:58 PM EST
    On topic, I think Clark would make a credible and valuable VP candidate.

    i have read that obama offered him (none / 0) (#41)
    by hellothere on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:59:54 AM EST
    the veep slot if he would renounce his support for hillary which he refused to do. so in effect i don't think the obama supporters ie the dnc and so called elders would support clark. personally i think clark wouldn't like it either. would it be a good choice, yes. but i haven't always seen clear thinking from the dnc and so called party elders.

    take one for the team? hmm the ohio governor didn't think so.


    Well, according to amendment 12 of (none / 0) (#101)
    by zfran on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:46:17 AM EST
    the constitution (I keep bringing this up) we don't elect our pres and vp the way the consitution seems to read, so why should any rules or regs. affect the vp position, altho' there may be no rule against it. It would play in if he had to take over as pres.

    What preclusion are you referring to? (none / 0) (#172)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:30:51 PM EST
    I believe Clark, having worked, in effect for Dept of Defense, is precluded from being Secretary of Defense without a waiver for 10 years after he left armed services.

    Why would he be precluded from running for VP or Pres?  He ran for Pres.


    I want Clinton. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by liminal on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:34:27 AM EST
    but if not Clinton, I want Clark.  

    I'm a giant Clark fan also (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:35:53 AM EST
    I'm so ticked at Obama today though over this Joshua stuff I can't get my mind around Clark being his VP so I'll just focus on Clark.

    He's never been responsible for policy formulation. He's never had leadership in a crisis, or in anything larger than his own element on an aircraft carrier or [in managing] his own congressional staff. It's not clear that this is going to be the strong suit that he thinks it is.

    Sometimes when I listen to McCain I find myself wondering if his POW experience has caused him to believe that every soldier in the U.S. military is willing and capable of surviving a POW experience like his and then carrying on with a "normal" or even "exceptional" life afterwards.  John McCain is definitely made of the right stuff but I sometimes find his beliefs about what the United States military is sanely capable of handling a little on the almost suicidal side.

    thats part of his charm (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:39:58 AM EST
    its hard to be a rebel at 70whatever.

    McCain's campaign song: (none / 0) (#32)
    by madamab on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:50:19 AM EST
    "Still crazy after all these years"

    [just kidding! :-)]


    Doesn't Clark's crit of McCain here (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:42:47 AM EST
    just amplify Obama's glaring weaknesses?  I mean if you can critize McCain on this, imagine what we could say about Obama??  

    I think this is a dangerous tactic and will anger many people since McCain gave so much of his life to the military.  So, who is competent then??  Only a 5-star general??  Again, what are Obama's credentials on this??  Streets of Chicago?  

    Why not take a page out of Rove's book (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:43:42 AM EST
    and attack McCain's perceived strength?

    Um, (none / 0) (#22)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:44:44 AM EST
    because it's a lie?

    How in blazes is it a lie? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:45:33 AM EST
    As I said in another post (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:48:39 AM EST
    if you want to argue that McCain's policies in foreign affairs are damaging, then you have a good argument.

    But if you are going to claim that his background and credentials in foreign affairs is not solid, as Presidential candidates go, then it is basically a fabrication and/or a grotesque distortion.

    And that is really what Clark is trying to argue here.


    Um, (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:49:51 AM EST
    if you want to argue that McCain's policies in foreign affairs are damaging, then you have a good argument.
    Welcome to politics. If the media won't laugh at it (and I think they won't laugh at Clark), then it's a good argument.

    Welcome to (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:52:17 AM EST
    the land where you are expected to lie and cheat and distort on behalf of a weak candidate.

    You think Clark was lying? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:53:42 AM EST
    If so, say so.

    But at the end of the day, I want to win the White House. And this is well-within bounds IMO.


    Let's just say that (3.66 / 3) (#130)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:28:45 PM EST
    Clark is engaged in an egregious distortion, OK?

    I guess you're OK with that.

    And I guess, given your attitude, you must have been OK when the Obama campaign fueled the lie that Hillary was pretty much hoping for Obama to be assassinated, right?

    I mean, Obama wanted to win the nomination, so it was fair, right?

    Or just where do you draw the line?


    I think Clark is wrong. McCain (none / 0) (#76)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:27:33 AM EST
    "managed" a long period of time in the Hanoi Hilton, and refused an offer to leave early unless his fellow POWs were also released.  He has also been in the Senate voting on military budgets, vet bills, matters effecting how we use our military and when.  Clark reads like a shill.  

    the late Col Hackworth on that subject (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:53:04 PM EST

    We really don't know what happened with McCain in the Hanoi Hilton.


    I found that article (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by LoisInCo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:12:33 PM EST
    disturbing. I don't really see anyone calling him "teh greatest hero evah!!!!" . But to suggest that he was perhaps a "run of the mill" POW is just disgusting.

    Hack (none / 0) (#163)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:45:46 PM EST
    The author of the article is very well respected.

    Here is a list of his combat medals.  Aside from Audie Murphy, he was perhaps the most decorated soldier ever.  He received nine Silver Stars, seven Bronze Stars, and two Distinguished Service Crosses (one step below the Medal of Honor.)  

    He loved the little guy, the grunt.  He worked his way up the ranks--no fancy West Point or Annapolis education.  His book, The Vietnam Primer, was (and still is, I think) the infantryman's guide book for small unit combat and guerilla warfare.

    He testified before Congress in 1971 that the Vietnam War was lost and that the Viet Cong flag would fly over Saigon by 1975.  Prescient to say the least.

    Hack had the ability, as few do, to question McCain.


    Good One (none / 0) (#148)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:10:31 PM EST
    The McCain war hero myth is the basis for his being top rated for CIC.

    Nice to see that is not going unchallenged.


    I didn't like it when Sen. Kerry's military (none / 0) (#169)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:07:34 PM EST
    history was impugned and I don't like it when Dems. to the same to Sen. McCain.

    Kerry had to have eyewitnesses for his medals (none / 0) (#175)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:42:38 PM EST
    McCain did not. I'd have more respect for McCain, had he strongly defended Kerry. He did not. But that said, I will concede McCain is a brave man who served his country with honor.  Lets leave it at that.

    I don't think so (none / 0) (#139)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:57:00 PM EST
    Democrats, more so than Republicans, venerate McCain's stay at the Hanoi Hilton.  McCain has blasted other Republicans over the years, and they have tired of his self-righteousness.

    Yes, McCain deserves a lot of respect for turning down an early release while a POW--but so did many others.   And there were many, many stories of heroism among the POWs--some of them Democrats....

    Having been a POW does not constitute, however, foreign policy experience.

    Clark has much more combat experience (as a young company company commander in Vietnam he was severely wounded leading his men), has been decorated for valor (a Silver Star, I believe), led the NATO forces in Kosovo--without a single U.S. KIA.   He was a General (four stars) and was the SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe)--love those Army acronyms--which was Eisenhower's old command.  Clark has more actual experience on the battlefield than does McCain.   And certainly more stragetic experience.  

    Throw in being Valedictorian at West Point and a Rhodes Scholarship, and McCain fades away into a erstwhile pilot who cannot now tell the difference between a Sunni and a Shia.

    My only reservation with Clark has been that when the head of the U.S. Southern Command, he gave the commencement speech for the School of the Americas in 1996.  He was obligated to give the speech, and the abuses had occurred long before that...but it bugged me for awhile.  Some on the Left objected to Clark during the Primaries in 2004 based on his opposition to the closure of the SOA (or its successor)--but it's not really an issue of consequence or a deal breaker, and I care about the SOA.

    Bill certainly had the chance to reverse the decision of Cohen and Shelton but did not....Clark still apparently bore no grudges and supported Hillary whole heartedly....British General Jackson was a wimp and an alarmist, so no worries there....

    Clark would be a good choice.....


    Well (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:23:00 AM EST
    considering the fact that over 1/2 of the voters think that the media is biased in Obama's favor it seems that the voters are not taking what the media is selling.

    What are his creds? (none / 0) (#57)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    McCain graduated at the bottom of his class at an elite school (West Point); shot down in Vietnam and survived in a prison camp -no mean feat, but does that enhance your national security cred?

    So what specifically makes him "solid" if his policies in foreign affairs are terrible?


    Sen. McCain is also a graduate of the (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by wurman on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:12:18 PM EST
    National War College, a program that focuses on geo-strategic & political issues for the Armed Forces, in both war & peacetime.  Also, Sen. McCain was both executive officer & commanding officer of a training group at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville FL--a place where I served several years earlier.  In my time, we referred to the command as "the country club."  As on 0-6 Captain, McCain turned the unit around & earned it a meritorius service award.

    Shortly thereafter, McCain was on the list for rear admiral, but chose to retire & enter politics.  Many who know him think that the reality he would never make 4-star admiral was a factor in this decision.

    I respect Gen. Clark.  He's been my go-to guy as a demcrat.  His nationwide work for Kerry & all of the downticket Dems in 2004 was exemplary.  If he signed on with Sen. Obama, he could probably carry Arkansas & bring a large number of anti-war independents in all states to the ticket.

    His comments about Sen. McCain's background are less than entirely appropriate.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#159)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:40:20 PM EST
    It's quite refreshing to hear a reasoned and fair comment from someone who actually knows something about the military and McCain's record.

    Speaking as someone who knows nothing about military service and who detests McCain's policies, it is still incredibly galling to me to hear armchair critiques of a POW from people who've never had to face anything close to that.


    Don't think Clark was Critical of McCain's Service (5.00 / 0) (#174)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:37:14 PM EST
    I think there is a difference among:
    •   Military service/strategy
    •   National security experience
    &   Foreign Policy.

    I don't think Clark was in any way impugning McCain's service, his patriotism, etc. But I think many things have changed since the Vietnam days, and national security is certainly a whole new ballgame in the last decade.  Why is it inappropriate for Clark to say that McCain's experience, as laudable as it is, is not strong on national security?


    Gen. Clark did make a factual error. (none / 0) (#180)
    by wurman on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:58:19 PM EST
    He's never had leadership in a crisis, or in anything larger than his own element on an aircraft carrier

    This is not true.  "Leadership" of his element, a flight of A-4s in combat is very clearly the equivalent of a grunt officer taking charge of a firefight & any air combat sortie in which folks are shot down by anti-aircraft fire absolutely is a crisis.  And as my post states, McCain took over a huge training squadron (largest in the USN) & turned a ragtag mob into a decorated unit.  His leadership of that unit is certainly much larger than "his own element," which is actually considered important in Naval aviation.

    Furthermore, McCain's national security credibility as a senator is equivalent to Sen. Biden, more extensive than Sen. Clinton & many others.

    I have no use for John W. McCain; not his policy, his votes, his campaign; nothing about him.

    Even so, it's important to stick to the real stuff about Navy Captain McCain & not mis-state his credentials.


    I was not referring to Clark's comments (none / 0) (#181)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:06:32 PM EST
    I was referring to the idiotic comments from some posters here, who think they actually have the creds to critique a POW.

    bottom of his class... (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by desertswine on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:29:18 PM EST
    894th out of 899.

    And a little pull (none / 0) (#140)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:58:07 PM EST
    from his Father and Grandfather being Admirals didn't hurt.  

    He didn't (none / 0) (#74)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25:44 AM EST
    graduate from West Point, he graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis MD.

    I think that the national security strength comes from the general perception that the GOP is better here, whether it's true in reality or not. By virtue of being in the senate as long as he has seems to give him some foreign policy creds. It's a perception thing I guess.


    My bad thank you for the correction (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:30:51 AM EST
    re: elite schools.

    Its time we changed the perception. The GOP has brought us to a new low in national security.  I wouldn't cede a d@mn thing on the subject to them. And McCain has embraced their Iraq policy- whatever National Security Cred he may have, he threw out the window.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#87)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:34:35 AM EST
    but Obama is doing a terrible job in this area. His whole national security argument so far has been that he lived in a foreign country as a child and did a speech against the war.

    Something to keep in mind: Strong and wrong often beats weak and right. And just because McCain has been wrong doesn't mean that Obama being right (kinda maybe) works to our favor. Frankly, I really don't see much Obama can do in this area. Large parts of his problems are due the way he comes off.


    Obama only has to convince (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:37:41 AM EST
    voters the risk of voting for him is less than the risk of voting for more of the same policies. He doesn't have to convince them he is the 2nd coming of General George Marshall

    Oh (none / 0) (#96)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:44:06 AM EST
    I agree on that one. And all McCain has to do is make Obama so toxic that changing would be worse.

    Sen. McCain is actually helping Sen. Obama (none / 0) (#170)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:09:47 PM EST
    on this if Huff Post is accurate.  Apparently Sen. McCain recenty sd. it didn't matter when U.S. military members return from Iraq.  

    with obama at the top of the ticket (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:09:34 AM EST
    this attack does create an opening, but he is 100% correct in his assessment of mccain.

    name a candidate (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:43:55 AM EST
    who wouldnt highlight one or more of his weaknesses.
    at some point you just have to go for it.

    Befuddled (none / 0) (#34)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:51:54 AM EST
    you said what I said downthread, only much better.

    Attacks on McCain's experience in almost any area will only highlight Obama's lack of experience on same.

    Clark would be better criticizing McCain's FP policy and proposals, and tacking on experience as an afterthought.


    I was thinking the same thing myself (none / 0) (#94)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:42:48 AM EST
    I guess as "good Democrats" (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:42:59 AM EST
    we have to pretend now that McCain's credentials on national security are really no more solid than Obama's.

    Look, if you want to argue that McCain's policies on national security are terrible, you can make a good argument. But if you're going to argue that the man really doesn't have the credentials and background -- which is really what Clark is asserting here -- then you're just full of it. Clearly, as Presidential candidates go, he could hardly be better qualified given his military background and his long term involvement in foreign affairs in the Senate.

    If there's one thing that sickens me about the prospect of Obama candidacy, it's having to lie for the man, or not calling out lies that are made on his behalf.

    We seem to be expected to throw our integrity in the garbage now that Obama is the nominee, and pretend that what we all knew to be true just a week ago -- that Obama had an embarrassingly thin resume particularly on national security -- is no longer true or relevant.

    its true (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:52:41 AM EST
    I dont see how you can argue with a straight face that McCain is not one of the most "qualified" people in the country for the job.  however you feel about his policies.

    Would Gen Curt is "Bomb's Away" LeMay (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:21:26 AM EST
    be solid on national security?

    If your policies are terrible, then you are not solid on national security. Are we required to stretch the truth about McCain and national security, just because he suffered in a POW camp?


    Nope (none / 0) (#77)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:28:00 AM EST
    but the problem is that this isn't really a good argument.

    'Fraid so. (none / 0) (#79)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:29:22 AM EST
    Looks like we're back to distortions (none / 0) (#127)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:19:51 PM EST
    This is not the argument Clark made, was it?

    Stick to the point, please?


    Serious people... (none / 0) (#134)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:51:45 PM EST
    can disagree on various aspects of FP. Indeed, you can disagree wholeheartedly with McCain's FP.

    But that doesn't make it nonexistent.

    OTOH, Obama's FP experience is ... well...what exactly? A committee chair position for a committee he never convened? Lessons from various and sundry advisors whilst on the campaign trail?

    Tops...it spans the last 2-3 years.


    One of the most chilling things (none / 0) (#147)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:06:32 PM EST
    I have seen was an old black-and-white newsreel of LeMay conducting a press briefing on the U.S. (non-nuclear) bombing campaign of Japan.  He described in matter-of-fact tones how the U.S. was using incendiary bombs, and how they were especially effective because the Japanese homes being made of rice paper would catch fire quite easily.....

    Flexibility & Creative Problem-Solving (none / 0) (#176)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:47:06 PM EST
    are what's needed today rather than dig in your heels static notions of who is the enemy and what it takes to enhance peace and security.  I do think McCain has weaknesses here.  If I were working on Obama campaign, I would get a VP with credibility in national security & foreign policy and talk up putting together the best and the brightest and creative problem-solving.  
    Anyone seen the movie - "13 Days" regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I have it on good authority that the movie is quite accurate historically; it shows Bobby Kennedy et al. working around the clock with best minds, including their own, to figure out the meaning of conflicting communications from the USSR, getting the entire hemisphere behind them etc.  
    This is a new world with new challenges for which we need the Fareed Zakarias to help forge an effective approach to the international scene.  

    Thank you... (none / 0) (#28)
    by madamab on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:47:49 AM EST
    this is exactly how I feel.

    I understand what Clark is trying to do, but I think it would only work if Hillary were the nominee.

    Hey, waitaminute...maybe Clark is crazy like a fox! ;-)


    I didn't see anyone say... (none / 0) (#164)
    by blueaura on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:46:58 PM EST
    that McCain's and Obama's credentials are equal.  I am a long-time Obama supporter and I wouldn't make that claim.

    What Gen. Clark is saying is that McCain's CIC qualifications have been inflated, and that's something I agree with.  Without a doubt, I'd say McCain still has more relevant experience than Obama.  That doesn't mean his policies are correct though.

    Clearly, as Presidential candidates go, he could hardly be better qualified given his military background and his long term involvement in foreign affairs in the Senate.

    I beg to differ, as does Gen. Clark.  I don't see anyone lying on Obama's behalf here.

    George McGovern on McCain (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:06:17 AM EST
    George McGovern on McCain and national security transcribed from Sen. McGovern's speech Saturday April 19, 2008, at the McGovern Day dinner in Sioux Falls.

    This is the greatest country on the face of the earth, I still think that. But what a tragedy to have our reputation brought to the lowest level that any of us can remember. I'm sometimes charged with being a softie about war and national security.
    Well, let me take one minute on that. When I was 19, Pearl Harbor was attacked. A few days later, I dropped out of college and volunteered to fly in the Army air corps and flew 35 missions over the most heavily defended targets in Europe. I've always been proud of that service in World War II; I've never had one day of regret that I participated in helping to smash Hitler's war machine. And let me just add this. There's never been a day in my adult life when I wouldn't have gladly sacrificed that life if America was faced with a genuine threat to our national security.

    Some years ago, I was on one of the networks with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, one of the chief architects of the war in Vietnam. But the reason I was on television that night is he had just come out with a new book saying that the war was not only it was a mistake, in his words it was a tragic mistake. Well, in the course of that three-way discussion, which included in addition to Secretary McNamara and myself, Sen. John McCain. And in McCain's first opening remarks, he said, well we all know that George McGovern knows little about national defense.  

    Let me tell you what I would say to John McCain: neither of us is an expert on national defense.  It's true that you went to one of the service academies but you were in the bottom of the class. It's true that you were a pilot in Vietnam, that you were shot down and spent most of the war in prison and we all sympathize with that and honor you for your courage.  But you and I both had these battle experiences, you as a Navy fighter plane, I as an army bomber. I am not going to criticize your war record and your knowledge of national security but I don't want you criticizing mine either.  

    If I'd be allowed just one little dig at Senator McCain, since he gave me. I would say, 'John, you were shot down early in the war and spent most of the time in prison. I flew 35 combat missions with a 10-man crew and brought them home safely every time.'

    McGovern may have the creds (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:16:17 AM EST
    to criticize McCain.  However, Obama does not at all.  He has absolutely no actual experience to draw from.  "Superior judgement" does not cut it. I honestly and strongly believe an attack on McCain's military creds by Obama or his surrogates will badly backfire.  Are the Democrats now going to blame McCain for being a POW for 5 years? Are they going to denigrate that?  

    Yes, they are going to denigrate that (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:29:40 AM EST
    at least the cowards on the blogs. They've already done it - I've seen it here and on other 'progressive' blogs. They actually criticize his piloting skills, his getting shot down, and his conduct in the war. I think it's a very stupid approach.

    No-one with any sense (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:34:04 AM EST
    denigrates his service. The question remains, how does being a POW make you a national security expert? If your policies are the same terrible ones of George W. Bush which have brought us to a national security low, how do you claim to being a national security expert with a straight face? How is that straight talk?

    How does being a community orgainzer (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:38:19 AM EST
    state legislator and newbie junior senator evidence great mastery of judgment and knowledge as a military expert??  

    Bad road for Obama camp if they choose this.  It is not a contest between Obama's VP choice and McCain.  It is a contest of Obama vs. McCain.


    Here's McCain's resume (none / 0) (#93)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:42:16 AM EST
    you can check out his "work experience" since his POW days.

    And he still favors Bush's policies? (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:44:51 AM EST
    Man he didn't learn much!

    Hard to say . . . (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:47:12 AM EST
    I haven't compared his voting record to Bush's  ;)

    And just for fun (none / 0) (#99)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:44:59 AM EST
    here's Obama's

    Wow! Fast Learner! (none / 0) (#102)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:46:37 AM EST
    Glad your impressed. (none / 0) (#105)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:48:55 AM EST
    You're right - they don't have any sense (none / 0) (#112)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:57:56 AM EST
    I agree - he's not a national security expert. I agree with Clark's point.

    But Obama ain't one either.


    Well (none / 0) (#64)
    by CST on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:19:27 AM EST
    They don't "blame McCain for being a POW for 5 years".  Also Clark certainly has the creds to criticize McCain - this statement didn't come out of Obama.  No one is denigrating him, just pointing out that being a POW doesn't necissarily qualify you to run the military.

    How does being a POW make you (none / 0) (#68)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:22:30 AM EST
    a national security expert?

    It is more than just the POW status that (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:09:45 PM EST
    burnishes his credentials.  He has been in the senate for over 20 years and has chaired numerous committees on defense, appropriations, etc.  He has gone to war areas numerous times and he is on a first name basis with many in high military command.  Contrast that with the fact that Obama has mostly given a few speeches and has not distinguished himself in any particular area of US policy.  In addition, Obama failed to hold committee meetings on NATO and Afghanistan since he became chairman.  Please, open your eyes. I will not vote for McCain, but I am not stupid.

    Obama has held hearings (none / 0) (#157)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:26:41 PM EST
    on the subcommittee.  Your information is outdated.

    You mean in the last few weeks? (none / 0) (#168)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:01:56 PM EST
    Tell me the dates please.

    A couple of months ago (none / 0) (#171)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:12:42 PM EST
    I see. When it became evident to the (none / 0) (#182)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:28:08 PM EST
    voting public.  I guess there just wasn't anything to discuss until April or May.  Not like everything is going well in Afghanistan with the Europeans wanting out and attacks up, etc. I am overwhelmed by the "One" taking up an issue of importance in America.

    I understand your argument (none / 0) (#86)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:34:05 AM EST
    and actually agree with your basic premise that being a POW does not necessarily make you a military expert.  HOWEVER, DO YOU REALLY THINK MANY VOTERS ARE GOING TO THINK THIS THROUGH THE WAY YOU HAVE?   I do not.  I think it will be perceived as a cheap shot, disrespectful to such honorable military service.  Now factor in Obama's associations, whether loose or not, with Ayres and Dohrn etc.  It ain't a pretty picture.    

    Ayres and Dohrn will not be a factor (none / 0) (#95)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:43:21 AM EST
    except in the margins where it will not matter.

    Obama always says he respects and honors McCain's service, but that McCain is just wrong. Tie the anchor called W around McCain's neck and it is not an uphill battle as you think.

    That is why Bush is McCain's running mate. Bush will be every Republican presidential nominee's running mate for some time. Its what happened to Hoover and its what happened to Carter. It would be malpractice not too.

    Its time to stop looking at presidential elections as anything but an opportunity.


    Ayers and Dorhn (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:53:34 AM EST
    will matter. Not by themselves but as part of the narrative that the GOP has. It will hurt but how much I don't know.

    Even as bad as W is disliked, the Dems in congress are disliked even more. I see Dems make the same mistake over and over. We can't lose this election etc. Well, yes we can. While McCain has Bush (but it's going to harder to tie McCain to Bush than it would be if Cheney were running) Obama has some serious achilles heels too.

    In the end, it looks to me like it's going to be a race to the bottom in this election.


    Depends on where you are (none / 0) (#126)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:15:36 PM EST
    I see you are in the 6th district. I spent a number of years in Wyche Fowler/John Lewis's district (the 5th) as well as cast my first votes in Georgia for Ben Jones and against Pat Swindle. The narrative will not remain static, even if Democrats in Georgia take awhile to make a come back.

    I am not saying we can't lose the election, I am saying its not a given that we will lose. Its the best time for a Democratic in over a decade. At the risk of being cliched, I see the glass as half full. You seem to see it as half empty.


    Well (none / 0) (#137)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:54:07 PM EST
    my perspective is that the candidate DOES matter. Even if the climate is good, take 1988 for example, the candidate can still cause the party to lose.

    My prediction is that it's going to be close. I think McCain squeaks into office simply because the EC favors the GOP and people like divided government. Besides, even if Obama wins, he's likely to be a one termer like Jimmy Carter and run out of washington on rails with a resurgent GOP doing the pushing. I find it amazing that one candidate can attach himself to so many losers-Kerry, Daschle etc.


    You know Obama isn't (none / 0) (#144)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:03:31 PM EST
    Dukakis or McGovern or Carter. If that is all McCain has, he loses.

    Um (none / 0) (#153)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:15:37 PM EST
    Obama does remind me of all them. He's like Duakakis with the clueless elitism. He's like McGovern who thinks that being against the war is enough to win an election. He's like Carter when it comes to experience and the overt pandering to evangelicals.

    Then you are seeing only what you want to see. (none / 0) (#158)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:31:08 PM EST
    good luck.

    Actually (none / 0) (#160)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:40:36 PM EST
    that's what I did in 2004. I learned my lesson that's why I call them like I see them now. I know what's going to happen and it's not pretty. I wish it wasn't true either.

    Me thinks you drew the wrong lessons from 2004 (none / 0) (#162)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:43:15 PM EST
    and you are calling what you see, but you only see what you want.

    Do you think (none / 0) (#165)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:47:16 PM EST
    I want to lose? Actually I have no vested interest in winning or losing. It won't matter because if Obama wins he'll only be a one term president. Same for McCain.

    One term is all McCain needs to (none / 0) (#166)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:50:32 PM EST
    turn a 5-4/6-3 court to a 6-3/7-2 court. Apparently you don't see that.

    I don't think you want to lose, I think you are talking yourself into a loss. It doesn't have to be that way (to borrow a line).


    I'm saying (none / 0) (#167)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:01:10 PM EST
    this in all serious now: Obama is pandering to the fundamentalists. Who's to say that his court picks would be any better than McCains? He says that he's pro gay but he has an anti gay gospel singer to campaign for him. This is the problem. He has no record really to go on. He's voted uncommitted on issues. He's missed votes deliberately to so that he could change his stance on an issue. And now he's advocating anti choice Republicans for VP such as Hagel. What's the message? I'm not getting the same ones as you are apparently.

    I am saying in all seriousness (none / 0) (#173)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:35:55 PM EST
    Obama is clearly pro choice. This is a make or break issue for Democrats at the presidential level. He would lose 75% of his Democratic support, if appointed anyone other than a pro-choice Justice. Not. Gonna. Happen.

    As for his pandering to Fundamentalists, seeking common ground where it can be done is a good thing. Not all Fundies are single issue (anti-Roe voters).

    Finally there is more to the court than Roe. Obama is less likely to appoint anti-worker justices, anti-civil rights justices, anti-Antitrust justices.

    If you believe otherwise you are entering major conspiracy territory.


    What Common Ground (none / 0) (#177)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:57:02 PM EST
    Seeking common ground seems like a good thing, but what, from Obama's viewpoint, is this common ground comprised of?  Continuing to allow organizations with religious affiliations to secure contracts to promote programs based on religious beliefs?  It is not so much Obama's reaching out to faith-based community that bothers many of us, but the absence of specifics and the ability to decide if we are in sink with the specifics that concern many of us.

    I believe the quote is: (none / 0) (#178)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 03:27:27 PM EST
    Poverty, Darfur, Climate Change and yes, even the war are issues younger Evangelicals may be able to see eye to eye on with the Obama campaign.

    I didn't see anything about securing contracts to promote programs based upon religious beliefs.

    But if you got the definitive proof that Obama is secretly a Republican and seeks to turn the Democratic party into a GOP clone let me know.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#185)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:16:50 PM EST
    I don't have secret info; I was asking what Obama sees as the common ground; the "faith based" initiatives of the Bush admin is something he was asked about when he & Hillary were separately interviewed on their views on faith, and Obama, I thought, indicated he would be willing to continue same or take a look.  

    "McCain is just wrong" (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:59:11 AM EST
    aside from hanging the W anchor around McCain's neck, does he prove McCain is wrong and he is "right"?.

    Hanging the anchor is one step, but then he needs to take those voters off the fence and get them to vote for him. The "experience" voters are going to need more than McCain is Bush.


    Given that most voters (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:09:55 PM EST
    are convinced Bush's policies are wrong, its not that short a jump to agreeing McCain is wrong. From there it is a repeat of 1980- convince the voters that changing to the unknown (Obama) is less risky than continuing the same bad policies with the known.

    Here's (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:56:27 PM EST
    the mistake a lot of people make: they forget the fact that Reagan actually ran on issues. He didn't run on unity with Carter and the Dems. He was very partisan of which Obama is not. Obama wants to heal the country's soul and wounds. It ticks me off because I don't need to be healed. I just want someone to run the government competently.

    I forget nothing about Reagan (none / 0) (#143)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:02:26 PM EST
    What I also remember is that Reagan made a ton of gaffes that election.

    You can run on unity and issues. Won't be the first time. Even BTD admits Obama is now drawing contrasts. It was a lot harder to draw contrasts on issues between Obama and Clinton because they were mainly close on the issues. McCain is not that difficult to contrast with on the issues.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:13:07 PM EST
    but Obama is running Kerry's campaign. It's not being for anything just against something.

    That's simply not true (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:41:48 PM EST
    Again you only see what you want to. Good luck.

    And Clark's opinion on Obama? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by MarkL on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:09:32 AM EST
    Is Obama "tested and tried"  on national security?

    Let's stay in Iraq for 100 years (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25:17 AM EST
    That is what Clark should've repeated as McCain's mantra.  And to point out that economic destruction of a nation is accomplished with precisely the recipe in Iraq -- wage a war of unprecedented cost AND unprecedented unpopularity.  No one is going to win any games of I know better.  What can be won is the game of look what we have now and look what it is doing to our nation and look at history and see what it has done to other nations.  This is simple logic and intellect.  A war of wild cost and wilder unpopularity.  There is no more sure way to national collapse.  Stay on that point.

    Forget the (none / 0) (#92)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:42:07 AM EST
    100 years thing. No body cares about 100 years from now. It's all about the next four years.

    You make no sense (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:50:00 AM EST
    He is saying he believes, fully, in the complete economic destruction of America.  Go read history.  Go see what happens to nations that wage immoral and costly wars their citizens detest.  It is THE recipe for national collapse.  Money has NO VALUE WHATSOEVER but for people's belief it does.  To wage a war like this is to both waste money AND decrease its value in the process through further erosion of the public's confidence.  He is telling us loudly and clearly is an ignorant fool and that he could care less about the American people.

    Then (1.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:01:01 PM EST
    Obama needs to be making Ron Paul's anti empire case not the case that he is making. Obama's waffling all over the place with this stuff. Obama is even backing off his statements from the primary. Obama's own advisors won't commit to bringing the troops home. Man, you are going to be severely disappointed if Obama makes it into the WH.

    And making a financial case against the war isn't really a good one. Obama is basically saying that we spend money here because we're spending money in Iraq. His inexperience shows with a lot of this stuff.


    I agree that history is replete with leaders who (none / 0) (#129)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:25:44 PM EST
    drove their countries into bankruptcy with long costly foreign wars and our misadventure in Iraq has all of the makings of destroying our country.  Unfortunately none of our leaders so far has made the connection in the public's mind. On the other hand, I do not agree that what you are saying about McCain's motives are correct. These people are all linear thinkers and the only thing they are interested in (Obama included) is winning in the next few months.

    i made that same (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by cpinva on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:26:17 AM EST
    observation about sen. mccain a month ago; spending 5 years as a POW, though he certainly exhibited great courage, and conducted himself honorably, doesn't translate into either foreign policy or national defense expertise.

    sen. mccain never captained a ship, and he turned down his first admiral's star to run for public office. as an admiral, he might well have gotten that policy and national defense experience, he chose not to.

    to be blunt, with regards to the current situation in iraq, sen. mccain has been wrong at every turn. the one thing he does have specific, personal, first-hand expertise in, torture, he managed to flip-flop on that.

    so yes, gen. clark is right on the money. the question is, would a pres. obama actually listen to him?

    Love Wes. (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Marco21 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:32:35 AM EST

    two more things (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:49:51 AM EST
    one is this isnt an audition, this is how Clinton would have gone after mccain.

    I'm surprised to see people questioning this criticism of mccain.  He's no better or worse than, say, carl levin on foreign policy legislative experience.  And he's been an extremely heroic soldier.

    I dont think he would understand why Kosovo worked and Iraq did not.

    Clark is brilliant, he speaks the truth.  I would have preferred he was also listened to when he was talking about who we should nominate for president.

    McCain is a sociopath (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:01:44 PM EST
    Period.  You cannot spout the utter nonsense he does on a daily basis and be anything less than mentally ill.  The same reason so many serial killers never get caught -- they may be nuts and dangerous but they can put on a good act and fool almost everybody.

    lol (none / 0) (#120)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:04:39 PM EST
    pols are pols.

    Clark may be doing Obama more harm than good (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by goldberry on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:00:55 PM EST
    You can say that McCain has no experience in dealing with this stuff but Obama has even less.  That's the first thought that jumped into my mind.  
    And while Wesley would make an excellent VP, to someone like Clinton who can hold her own in other areas, he will completely swamp Obama in the proven competence, gravitas, experience category especially in the area of national security.  
    Picking Obama's VP is going to be extremely difficult.  Anyone good and who would make up for Obama's considerable deficits is just going to end up highlighting them and the weakness at the top of the ticket.  
    McCain, OTOH, could credibly put a woman like Sarah Palin on his ticket and sweep the GE easily.  Not saying I like the prospect but it's time someone on the Democratic side of the equation started thinking with their heads.

    I'm surprised... (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by reynwrap582 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:37:29 PM EST
    It seems like a lot of you are missing the point of Clark's criticism.

    McCain, by 'default' has the Military/FP stuff in his column.  Because of his military experience and his long time on the hill, he automatically wins out over Obama on those issues, regardless of policy, most people will 'trust' McCain because of his experience than Obama.

    Clark's point wasn't to say Obama has a lot of experience, nobody on earth is going to buy that argument.  It's widely accepted that Obama's Military/FP experience is sorely lacking.  Clark's point was to say that McCain's experience doesn't really amount to that much in the upper echelons.  He's saying McCain shouldn't automatically get the 'trust' of the people, that McCain is functionally as inexperienced as Obama, which nullifies McCain's automatic advantage and makes it necessary to consider each candidate from their POLICY positions instead of their histories.

    It's a very simple concept, I'm really surprised a lot of people here didn't catch that.  If you can't raise to your opponents level on an issue, you try to nullify their advantage and bring them down to yours.

    Clark's comment might be just enough to make some voters stop and think, what is McCain's REAL level of experience?

    I'm surprised YOU'RE suprised (3.00 / 1) (#145)
    by goldberry on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    I doubt that people will be be moved to reconsider their support for McCain simply because he's not the most expert at it.  I suspect that most people will hear Clark's words and will have the same reaction I did: "Whoa! Obama has even less experience.  Holy $#%#!"
    Human nature and all that.  

    WCRM (none / 0) (#183)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:30:05 PM EST
    Those may be excellent points to make, but that's not what Clark said.

    The first thing I thought when I read the quote was, if McCain has little 'real' NS leadership, Obama has even less. Miles less.

    No one here is really disputing that McCain is playing up his FP and NS experience -- of course he is.  But by making the criticism be about McCain's lack of experience, he just can't avoid the obvious comparison -- that Obama has no experience at all.  (aside from childhood in Indonesia)

    It's not a wise move by the Dem side.  Just like attacking McCain's service is a really, really poor move.  The Dems cannot Swiftboat McCain like the Republicans did Kerry.  Fair or not, the backlash would be immense.

    Go after McCain's actual policy all day long.  Hammer away at it.  But truly, any mention of his lack of experience just highlights Obama's greater lack.


    If Obama (4.50 / 2) (#155)
    by miriam on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:20:11 PM EST
    is wise enough to pick Clark as VP I will vote for him.  Clark spoke out against the Iraq War before the invasion, and as  a four-star general and former NATO Supreme Commander, he has even better anti-war credentials than Obama. Clark is also on record as being strongly opposed to bombing Iran.  And he taught Economics at West Point!  He's a perfect fit for Obama.

    McCain's malevolent idiocy of the day (4.33 / 3) (#97)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:44:42 AM EST
    Via Crooks & Liars, McCain has just told Matt Lauer that bringing the troops home "is not too important".  This man is handing his malevolent ignorance to Obama on a platter.  This quote from McCain should be run and run and run again as a commercial.  Bringing the troops home is "not that important".  If Obama cannot pounce on this and destroy this thuggish piece of s, then he's more worthless than McCain.

    Not too important.

    Tell that to all the families, like mine, with loved ones over there.  I rarely think of physically harming anything or anyone, but right now, well, I'm not doing too well.

    A man who's been through what he has, and still has this blithe opinion of a morally wretched and wrong war, this man has no right to be considered anything but mentally ill and unfit to be a weed picker.

    Oops, forgot the link (none / 0) (#100)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:46:04 AM EST
    Do you know what he said after (none / 0) (#109)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:53:29 AM EST
    " . . . American casualties and the ability to withdraw . . . " right at the end?

    Nope (none / 0) (#113)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:57:59 AM EST
    You tell me.  But I doubt it somehow makes up for his utter lack of moral intellect, or his blithe disregard for the serious price of American global militarism.  He is a malevolent, addled fool.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#114)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:59:04 AM EST
    I didn't mean to snipe.  Yeah, I wish I they kept rolling it, but I doubt he said anything worthy of respect.  

    'tis ok :) (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:05:28 PM EST
    I was just curious because after Hillary said she would obliterate Iran if they nuke Israel, the next sentence was how horrible it was to consider (or something to that effect), but you never heard that because all the video clips used to smear her stopped short of including it. I wouldn't have asked on the McCain comment except the fact he was just bringing up withdraw when it stopped :)

    Well, color me cynical (none / 0) (#133)
    by stillife on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:40:15 PM EST
    It's a 35 second soundbyte.  I'm not defending McCain, but I'd like to hear the statement in context.  I've been burned too much this primary season to take anything at face value.  

    Clark is exactly what Obama needs. (4.00 / 1) (#62)
    by halstoon on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:18:44 AM EST
    Someone who can trump McCain on chest medals and military authority. He can also go toe to toe in the wit category, not that McCain is all that witty.

    All this is interesting (4.00 / 1) (#70)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:24:36 AM EST
    but I do believe people vote for the president, not the vice president.  I do note here that with McCain's age as an issue, his VP choice, may or not be a factor.

    Does anyone else believe this also?  I do not recall ever voting for the president based his vice presidential choice.


    VPs (2.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:41:05 AM EST
    are worth a warm bucket of spit. There's not a VP candidate alive who can solve Obama's problems. People do vote for the top of the ticket. Remember Bob Dole's excellent choice for VP in 1996? How did that work out? Not.

    I think picking the right VP shows something. (1.00 / 0) (#186)
    by halstoon on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:53:00 AM EST
    For one, it shows that you understand where your weaknesses are. Obama's choice will reveal where he thinks he needs help, and if enough people are assuaged that he'll get that help from his choice, then he succeeded in his choice.

    Also, I think the choice of VP gives an indication of what kind of administration you intend to run. Cheney had been a hardline executive powers guy for a long time, so people should have known, for instance, that he and Bush would try to run things all by themselves. Obama's choice of VP will give us some insight into how his administration will run. If he picks a hardline hawk, expect him to govern as such. If he picks a 'uniter' look for a White House that tries to reach out to people.

    For me, Obama needs the most help with foreign affairs and military, which is why Sen. Clinton should not be his pick. He needs someone like Gen. Clark who can vouch for his credibility, and someone who inspires confidence in people that he won't let the administration get off course.


    I don't think we will see Clark on the (3.50 / 2) (#104)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:48:01 AM EST
    ticket - in fact, I don't think we are going to see anyone in that VP slot who could even remotely be identified as the old guard, because to do so would fly in the face of Obama's "new" politics.  How can he spend months rejecting the Washington insiders, casting them as people who cannot inspire hope or change, and then put someone on the ticket like Clark or Biden or...Hillary?

    Let's remember that Obama is doing Extreme Makeover - Democratic Edition; he's building a new party - and that new party wants to look nothing like the old party.

    If, by some wild chance, one of the old guard does end up on the ticket, Obama will be exposed by the opposition as a complete fraud and an utter hypocrite - and that may be when the blinders come off some of his own supporters.

    I think he's painted himself in a very tight corner.

    It is hard to paint Clark (4.00 / 1) (#149)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:11:31 PM EST
    as part of the old political guard.....He has only once run for political office and that was in 2004.  He has not been a Washington D.C. politician.  

    His support of Hillary does not make him a Washington D.C. politician.


    How About (3.00 / 1) (#23)
    by CST on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:44:57 AM EST
    Clark as Secretary of Defense?  This seems more appropriate although I have no problem with V.P.

    Without Congressional Action, (4.00 / 1) (#43)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:00:32 AM EST
    Clark cannot be Sec. of Defense. Clark does not meet the requirement of being retired from the military for 10 years.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#47)
    by CST on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:04:49 AM EST
    National Security Advisor?

    I voted for Clark (3.00 / 1) (#39)
    by cannondaddy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:57:36 AM EST
    in the 04' primaries, but I'd prefer a Economic VP boost over a Foreign Policy one.  I believe we will be facing full blown Stagflation by the fall.

    Stagflation - I see it coming too. (4.00 / 1) (#44)
    by madamab on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:01:01 AM EST
    Gas lines, shortages, 20% interest - Carter's greatest hits. It's all coming, and anyone who occupies the Oval Office in January 2009 will have a heckuva huge mess on his/her hands.

    The Federal Reserve (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by cannondaddy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:53:55 AM EST
    is already talking about raising interest rates.  The real "second term of Jimmy Carter" is already happening.

    That is why I am worried about the steep (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:01:06 PM EST
    learning curve that Obama faces.  Frankly I would like to see a strong foreign policy person like Clark taking care of these issues.  Bad economic news will overshadow all foreign policy advances and will probably befuddle and confound Obama and his staff.  Better he has a very strong person there while  he grapples (or tries to) with domestic issues. The WSJ came out yesterday and panned O and his proposals.  Even though people like Robert Reich hated that Bill C followed his economic guru's advice, in the end our economy flourished.  Can Obama do that?  

    Oh (2.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:21:17 AM EST
    gosh. Clark is a good messenger but the message is horrible. This would have been a good attack on Bush in '04 but it just looks silly right now. Besides, the whole attack reminds me of Obama's glaring weaknesses.

    So, Obama is tested and tried? Right? (1.00 / 1) (#33)
    by democrat1 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:51:33 AM EST

    wasn't clark (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:31:20 AM EST
    wrong on kyl/Lieberman?

    I mean I dont think he was.

    Would Obama want Clark? (none / 0) (#5)
    by madamab on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:33:39 AM EST
    Isn't it Obama's position that he doesn't need help on national security?

    If McCain is "untested and untried" (4.00 / 3) (#42)
    by FlaDemFem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:00:17 AM EST
    what is Obama?? At least McCain has been in a command structure and understands how the military works. He has also been in the Senate a lot longer than Obama and has more experience on the various oversight committees than Obama does. Obama didn't even hold one single committee meeting of his own committee which oversees NATO and the situation in Afghanistan. Obama is not only untested and untried, he has studiously avoided experience in the area he needs it most. Clark would end up taking all the blame for Obama's bad decisions. Why do that when he can wait until 2012 and be Hillary's VP?

    If Obama says he doesn't need help on national security, then let's take him at his word and not waste Clark's talents on him.


    What he says and what he does (2.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Burned on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:35:57 AM EST
    Are two different things.
    I don't listen to him...ever.
    It's too easy to get sucked in.
    I just wait and see what he does.

    Heh. (4.00 / 2) (#11)
    by madamab on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:38:48 AM EST
    Let's just say that I agree that what he says and does are two different things.

    However, I will be shocked out of my mind if he offers VP to Clark. I think he will pick a bland corporatist/Republican Lite like Mike Bloomberg. He has no baggage, is richer than G-d, and won't overshadow Obama. Plus, Obama might think he would help with the Jewish vote. (He won't.)


    Exactly (none / 0) (#12)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:38:58 AM EST
    Words, just words.  Watch what Obama does, not what he says.

    if I thought Clark was (none / 0) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:46:39 AM EST
    going to be SofD and Hillary was going to be AG I would probably go out and vote.

    Speaking of AG (none / 0) (#46)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:02:55 AM EST
    Boston newspaper touted Gov. Deval Patrick as possible AG in Obama administration.  Just rumor.  Came out in article about Lt. Gov. doing lots of fundraising in the last month or so and traveling around the state.  

    Your (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:31:07 AM EST
    kidding right? Deval Patrick the inept Gov. of MA? Surely not. This kind of stuff makes me think that Obama if elected will surely be competing with Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush for who's the most inept president.

    How is that a fair (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by standingup on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:13:22 PM EST
    assessment of how he might perform as AG?  He does have experience in the DOJ from his tenure there during the Clinton Administration.  

    that probably would not be bad (none / 0) (#49)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:06:13 AM EST
    not as good as Hillary but not bad.

    I absolutely think (none / 0) (#52)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:06:50 AM EST
    the position requires someone besides a white man to bring some cred back to justice.

    We had one (none / 0) (#61)
    by cmugirl on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:16:59 AM EST
    Alberto Gonzales?

    the exception (none / 0) (#71)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25:05 AM EST
    that proves the rule I guess.

    The "rule" Gonzales proved (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by alsace on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:11:48 PM EST
    was that a Harvard Law degree should not be taken as an indicator of competence.

    Competence (4.50 / 2) (#141)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:00:31 PM EST
    Maybe we can get back to hiring competent people who are capable of doing the jobs they're hired to do.

    ummm... (none / 0) (#136)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:53:58 PM EST

    and that would help just how? (none / 0) (#51)
    by hellothere on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:06:25 AM EST
    Considering how unpopular Deval is (none / 0) (#108)
    by hairspray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:53:09 AM EST
    in Massachusetts these days, the residents would be happy to get rid of him.. But personally the only person I see in the job of AG is John Edwards.

    Obama Has Said That He Thought (none / 0) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25:25 AM EST
    Hagel would be good at Sec. of Defense. I think that there is a pretty good chance that he will follow through on that to establish his bipartisan creds.

    he has been a major (none / 0) (#78)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:28:05 AM EST
    war critic

    Hagel Votes Often Conflicted (none / 0) (#81)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:29:44 AM EST
    with his rhetoric.

    perfect of Obama (3.00 / 2) (#142)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:01:13 PM EST
    of=for (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    dang prepositions

    Largely untested and untried... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:47:48 AM EST
    I get that Clark is (reasonably) challenging McCain's actual national security leadership.

    But as I read his words the first thing that leapt to mind was that they apply equally if not more to Obama.  

    It must be an audition for VP, because I don't see why Clark would make such a strong statement that so obviously calls Obama's similar lack of trial or tests, unless he's making a case for putting himself on the ticket.

    well, he clearly considers himself... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:53:31 AM EST
    ... to be tried and tested. So I think that's the obvious interpretation.

    Obama did say... (none / 0) (#58)
    by ineedalife on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:14:55 AM EST
    that neither he, Hillary, or McCain are ready for the 3 AM call.

    Though, as a military commander, McCain probably has taken several such calls.

    I wonder how John Kerry is digesting this, and other, trial balloons designed to see what swiftboat strategies will work against McCain. Obama pretty much has to do it eventually. I wonder if Kerry will defend McCain? Didn't McCain speak out on Kerry's behalf?


    Dr. Susan Rice (none / 0) (#154)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:16:20 PM EST
    said that about the 3:00 a.m. phone call....She spent some amount of time backpeddaling....

    Didn't Clark say (none / 0) (#45)
    by americanincanada on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:01:29 AM EST
    he didn't want to be VP for Obama?

    he did when it was offered to him (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by hellothere on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:05:50 AM EST
    with the understanding that he renounce his support for hillary which he would not do. the question is does clark want it. i don't think so. and even more important what does the big money supporting obama want. that is the question.

    Are they trying to bait McCain.... (none / 0) (#53)
    by ineedalife on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:06:57 AM EST
    into using the "pot calling the kettle black" saying? That way they can launch into the "He's teh racist!!!" phase of the campaign. You know it is coming sooner or later.

    I agree with this statement, (none / 0) (#56)
    by Mrwirez on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:13:15 AM EST
    "The truth is that, in national security terms, he's [McCain] largely untested and untried."

    I am no McCain fan but, isn't this an unwise statement because McCain definitely has more experience than Obama in just about everything..... just sayin'...... I think I would stay away from any "experience" talking points.

    Would anyone disagree with my assessment?

    No, I do not agree (none / 0) (#59)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:16:06 AM EST
    If Obama and co can neutralize the issue, they should. This seems like a good attempt.

    I agree with your assessment (none / 0) (#63)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:19:12 AM EST
    "Experience" is Obama's overwhelming weakness.  If you start attacking McCain on the issue, you only leave Obama wide open for an attack.  His best selling point is "judgement," though it never did it for me.

    Worked in the Dem primary with Hillary (none / 0) (#65)
    by ineedalife on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:21:06 AM EST
    The general election is a different animal. Hillary didn't go after his inexperience because she valued party unity. She tolerated Obama ridiculing her experience. But McCain is not going to have such barriers.

    In these times of Rovian politics what seems to work is attacking, not honoring, the opponent's strengths. Of course it will be coming back to Obama as well. If he has any strengths to attack, that is.


    Not VP positioning (none / 0) (#179)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 03:31:43 PM EST
    Sec of Defense positioning.  Clark can take on McCain on these issues without getting plastered in the media so he should take the mantle in this charge. Good for Mr. Clark, I have always liked him.  I hope he continues to press these issue the brings a ton of credibility to the table...

    I think he would be a great choice. (none / 0) (#184)
    by Baal on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 07:49:18 PM EST
    I also hope he gets a long look.