Obama Does Not Need To Defend Clark

(UPDATE) Josh Marshall thinks Obama made a mistake in rejecting Clark here. A man bites dog day on this. Me defending Obama and Marshall criticizing him.

An e-mail to me:

Your hero [Obama] threw General Clark under the bus. Now, Clark happens to be right and if Obama had any guts he would have stood up for Wes Clark, but alas, he has none and he didn't.

The e-mailer also calls Obama "my guy." Well, anyone who knows me knows that actually Wes Clark is my guy. If I had my drothers, he would be President of the United States. But I do not want Obama defending Wes Clark. Wes Clark will defend himself just fine.

More . . .

David Axelrod was just on with Andrea Mitchell and spoke very respectfully of General Clark but did say Clark spoke "inartfully." I disagree with Axelrod's assessment but Axelrod's job is to defend his guy Obama. And it is not in Obama's interest, nor is there any important principle in defending Wes Clark here. Andrea Mitchell said General Clark will be on her show tomorrow afternoon. He'll defend himself just fine. And I will defend him. Obama does not need to get into this battle. This is OUR battle (or my battle at least) with the Media and the McCain campaign. This is not like FISA, where Obama's cowardice has been contemptible.

Speaking for me only

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    Yeah, I don't think most people would (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    confuse Obama for a "hero" of yours. And as far as I'm concerned, Clark's words were so clear that they barely need defending. It's pretty darn obvious that getting shot down doesn't count for Presidential experience. What's more, I've heard McCain say the same thing several times.

    If the situation were like with Hillary Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:13:45 PM EST
    and the LBJ comments, it would now be widely held that Wes Clark hates veterans. Oh. . .wait.

    No Not A Hero (1.50 / 2) (#18)
    by talex on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:25:42 PM EST
    It's just that Armando thinks he will be a Great President and he refuses to criticize him in any manner for anything. I can see where someone can see that as Obama being Armando's guy.

    What was it Armando said not to long ago - I paraphrase...

    'I am unshakable in my support for Obama'.

    If that is not Your Guy what is?


    Uhh. . . (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:29:45 PM EST
    and he refuses to criticize him in any manner for anything.

    Read much?


    Meet Talex (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:31:55 PM EST
    Hah (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:42:06 PM EST
    Good one.

    Well now Wes Clark is off the hook in (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:07:31 PM EST
    having to support obama.  He was doing his duty...it's done...he is out now.  obama's next book should be one about burning bridges; something he does very well.

    I'm confused (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by anydemwilldo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:12:59 PM EST
    Who are the bad guys here?  Surely the press and McCain campaign should share some of the blame.  They all pounced on Clark in pretty much the same way.

    Or is it just that Obama is you favorite target, so republicans get a pass?


    Have to (none / 0) (#99)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:28:49 PM EST

    I guess Wes would be (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by sociallybanned on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:36:15 PM EST
    out of the VP quest now!  Yes, very customary for Obama to apologize by throwing someone under his bus.  

    The vaunted Andrea Mitchell (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:42:51 PM EST
    and Mika declared that he is now out of the running this morning on "Morning Joe".  

    So apparently, it is so.


    So did (none / 0) (#110)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:50:55 PM EST
    Obama's communications director, Gibb. He was also on Morning Joe this a.m.

    Clinton supporters getting purged? (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:44:23 PM EST
    Wes Clark was a Hillary supporter, and Obama just threw him under the bus.

    Could there be a connection?


    Clark is a big boy (none / 0) (#10)
    by CST on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:15:26 PM EST
    He will get over it quick.  And I am sure he will still campaign like hell for Obama.

    Just like Clinton.
    Just like Romney.


    Romney??? n/t (none / 0) (#39)
    by creeper on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:43:26 PM EST
    Mixing Apples and Oranges (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by CST on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:55:00 PM EST
    Romney with respect to McCain.

    They hated each other during the primaries, said plenty of nasty things, now they are best friends.

    It's what politicians do.


    Yup... (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Thanin on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:13:54 PM EST
    Clark is a dutiful democrat.  He'll continue to support Obama.

    Too bad (none / 0) (#98)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:27:45 PM EST
    the Democrats don't have better stuff.  We need a new party.

    I hope Clark does defend himself (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:12:14 PM EST
    against both the media and Obama. He deserves better from both.

    Clark needs no defense. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:00:34 PM EST
    When you're right, you're right.

    Clark's (none / 0) (#97)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:26:54 PM EST
    a Clinton protege, he's bound to get on the wrong side of Obama.

    Am I the Only One (none / 0) (#111)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:02:32 PM EST
    who thinks Clark was inartful in his comments? To say McCain's service in Vietnam did not prepare him for the type of experience required in making Presidential decisions about war and peace is one thing, but to overlook that McCain, as a longterm member of the Senate, member of the Armed Services Committee since 1987, his knowledge of the futility of torture and work in Congress on the issue (whatever you think of his positions), give him relevant credentials, seems to overlook some bona fide background. Clark came off to me as overeager to establish his own pro-Obama bona fides.  

    Once Axelrod and the Obama Machine Starts (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by flashman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:12:19 PM EST
    bashing someone, the media will pile on.  Remember Bill Clinton: racist?  All the campaign has to do is call a few names, and it will become truth.

    Yes. I agree with BTD that Obama did not (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:15:08 PM EST
    have to defend Clark.  Letting him speak for himself would have been fine with me.  I think Axelrod and Obama way overreacted.

    I think (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:20:29 PM EST
    you nailed it. It wasn't the reaction it was the overreaction. Overreacting comes off as defensive.

    And I wouldn't have minded (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:34:16 PM EST
    if they would have over-reacted in defending Clark.  But to go overboard the other way just seems defensive ans weak - like 'Oh yeah, you caught us.  So sorry, won't do it again'.

    I am reminded (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:40:19 PM EST
    of 2004, when Bush's sole response to the Swiftboat stuff was "of course we honor John Kerry's service."  And when they'd press him on it, he would simply pivot and start talking about banning 527s.

    It was infuriating to me, as a partisan Dem, that he wouldn't go further in denouncing the Swiftboat attacks and distancing himself from them.  But speaking objectively, he handled it just right - saying "we honor his service" so as to not get caught up in the attacks himself, but also sending a message that they weren't going to kowtow and issue apologies every time someone demanded one.

    It's important to draw a line somewhere or you end up getting called upon to denounce someone every 5 minutes.


    Don't Count on Barak (4.00 / 0) (#85)
    by flashman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:53:57 PM EST
    to denounce when appropriate.  I'm still steamed that he never denounced race baiting.

    it actually kinda works out (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:12:40 PM EST
    Because, whole Obama has disavowed it, what Clark said is "out there."

    It's so crazy...it just might work (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:17:00 PM EST
    But just this morning (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by talex on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:40:09 PM EST
    Armando was putting the entire thing on Bob Schieffer. Schieffer's comment was prompted by Clark's words as I pointed out a few times in that thread.

    Now not only does Obama's actions back up my posts but more importantly he has shown he has no loyalty to anyone - including Clark who Obama has appeared with, consulted with, and has accepted his support.

    Fact is that Obama has become gun shy because of past problems with Samantha Power et al and has developed a trigger finger at throwing people under the bus. As such who will be left in a few months who wants to go out and advocate unscripted for this guy with his lack of loyalty?

    Who next - Donna Brazile? Hillary Clinton? Michelle??!!

    And who will want to work for this guy if elected? Fart and your gone.

    It's all about Obama and always will be about Obama with Obama.

    Rev. Wright was his last real 'stand'. But Wright exposed Obama for what he is -  a politician who will do anything to anybody to win. Even throw one of the most known and decorated and respected military people there is under the bus. And why not - he has already thrown the 4th Amendment under the bus.


    Donna Brazille? I wish. (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:42:42 PM EST
    Oh Just Wait (5.00 / 0) (#63)
    by talex on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:01:48 PM EST
    With Brazille's mouth running full time on the airwaves I'd put money that she is on the short list.

    The GOP has Obama backpedaling already. All they have to do is take anything that someone says on Obama's behalf and point it back at him and POOF that person will be gone. He will be the last man standing on the island alone. I hope he won't need help getting off the island because there won't be many helping hands after he disavows himself from everyone.


    That was before Obama's speech today (none / 0) (#43)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:45:02 PM EST
    and before this thing really blew up in the last few hours.  

    Let's at least be fair about how things happened.


    I didn't reference Obama's speech (none / 0) (#57)
    by talex on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:57:18 PM EST
    And it has little to do with what I said anyway.

    His speech has zero to do with my posts on the earlier thread, nor does it have anything to do with his past behavior on dumping people.

    And speaking of dumping people - I just read that in his speech today Obama dumped on MoveOn.org - another feather in his cap with the Netroots. Keep sending that money guys. Keep supporting the guy who just loves to hate you but never turns down a check.

    And WOW! Even Chris Bowers broke out the sharp blades today regarding Obama's disregard for Clark. That is a turning point! That only leaves about one blogger who refuses to see the light.


    I agree with your other points (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:13:43 PM EST
    but I don't agree that Armando refuses to criticize Obama.  In fact, he's one of the few bloggers on the left who will criticize him, and he takes a lot of flak for it.  I can't understand why you are persisting with this argument.  Just a suggestion, let it go, and perhaps take a look at it with a wider perspective.  You have a lot of other good points to make.  Hanging onto this one reflects badly on all the other things you're trying to say.

    Please show me (none / 0) (#73)
    by talex on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:20:25 PM EST
    where Armando criticizes Obama.

    Other than use a surrogate like Greenwald there are no personal words of criticism that I recall reading and I have yet to have anyone point some out to me.


    Actually (none / 0) (#96)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:25:37 PM EST
    the only interesting thing left about this campaign season is seeing the liberal bloggers dance around Obama's mistakes and try to make excuses for his glaring inadequacies.

    Yep. Quite the spectator sport (none / 0) (#101)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:50:53 PM EST
    for us Independents now, watching the mental pretzeling by candidates and their blog fan clubs alike -- since we don't have to decide a darn thing until November 3 or so.

    Can I Vote For Donna Brazile? (none / 0) (#112)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 07:41:40 PM EST
    Only I hope he throws her under a different bus then the one the "typical white women" are under. Don't want to share my under the bus space with Donna.

    Obama rejected the statement (none / 0) (#38)
    by ding7777 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:43:13 PM EST
    As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. (link - quote at bototom of article)

    But doesn't denounce! heh (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:44:37 PM EST
    the day is young (5.00 / 4) (#68)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:11:54 PM EST
    The whole thing is really stupid.... (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:16:37 PM EST
    ...but what bothers me the most about this is that once again the media is calling the shots. The media and the Republicans are the only ones who cared about this, but they were able to get a quick "concession" from the Obama campaign.

    Creative news (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by sociallybanned on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:32:39 PM EST
    is what I call it.  Something that isn't much to worry about they tend to make it more dramatic.  Just because my dad is a vietnam veteran, it doesn't make him presidential material.  However, he was a salesman for 25+ years and IMO, that makes you politician material.  LOL  :)  

    I agree with ya!


    Obama caves easily (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Josey on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:53:19 PM EST
    btw - what positions has Obama consistently stood for??

    Opposed to Iraq War? nope
    Public financing?  nope
    FISA? nope
    Gun control? nope
    Women's rights? nope
    Universal health care? nope


    NAFTA? nope. (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:01:25 PM EST
    This is how he plans to work (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Grace on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:05:20 PM EST
    bipartisan miracles after he is elected:  He'll just cave in to any demands they have.  



    Well, Obama just chose to make it his issue too (5.00 / 9) (#13)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:17:06 PM EST
    when he made that statement in his speech today.

    I agree with you that Obama need not defend Clark.  But he doesn't have to throw him under the bus either.  Clark isn't really viewed as a surrogate of Obama.  Obama could have just left the issue alone entirely.  He didn't.  So now, he made it his battle too.  

    It was a mistake on Obama's part, IMHO.  What Clark said was twisted by the media.  It could have been settled on it's own, where it started, in the media, by the two parties who were involved, the media and Wes Clark.  Now it's a much bigger deal than it ever had to be.  It's ridiculous that all this time is spent on such things, when the sky is falling around us in several other ways.

    The other thing that bugs me is the choices Obama and his campaign make when it comes to throwing people under the bus, and how quickly he does it with some and not with others.

    Exactly! (none / 0) (#56)
    by Josey on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:56:44 PM EST
    why would Obama inject himself into a Clark vs media thingy?
    Unless he was trying to salvage Clark as VP.

    You think? (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by JavaCityPal on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:02:06 PM EST
    Obama had a speech he wanted to give on patriotism. He was going to use whatever he could as a segway to doing that.

    I am so sorry (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Alec82 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:51:09 AM EST
    I've been in your position before.  It is awful.  This is the only way I can respond.  I am very, very sorry. It will get better, I promise.  

    Segway? OK, now you've done it (none / 0) (#89)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:07:15 PM EST
    I've got this mental picture of Obama on one of those silly personal transporters.  

    That's great (none / 0) (#90)
    by CST on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:11:35 PM EST
    Picture it with the bike helmet on.

    Right up there with my mental image of a "terrorist fist jab" - Osama Bin Laden giving dap.  Priceless.


    Amateur hour (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by djork on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:19:57 PM EST
    This indicates to me that these guys are clueless about how they are going to run against McCain. I don't think Gen. Clark was freelancing in his comments yesterday. It totally didn't work and now they are backing away from it. They are just throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks. The GE campaign just started and already they are in over their heads.

    Look, it's all political theater (5.00 / 7) (#16)
    by dk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:20:49 PM EST
    and in the end it doesn't matter too much.  And, I agree that Clark can defend his own honor just fine, and that Obama doesn't need to get involved.

    The problem, however, is that by speaking out on the issue, Obama DID get involved, and he got involved by criticizing Clark.  For all I know this will be a political plus for Obama, but to me it looks like a "doing anything to win" tactic to malign a former NATO commander for the sake of trying to make yourself look patriotic.

    Well said (2.00 / 0) (#74)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:23:40 PM EST
    "political theater"

    Best comment on the thread.  The matter does not mean squat, and poses no consequences.  Clark spoke the truth, McCain got his panties in a bunch, and Obama routinely and predictably distanced himself from the comment.

    End of story.  Move on.


    Lynn Sweet Gets It (5.00 / 7) (#17)
    by Katherine Graham Cracker on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:23:34 PM EST
    Ms Sweet said discussing whether McCain's military service is a qualification for president is a legit question.

    As usual the media chose to make up their own version and that is what Obama responded to instead of the actual events.

    Most of the news stories are about whether Clark was now off the vp bus.

    Why isn't anyone else discussing how Schieffer made himself and his opinions part of the story and how inappropriate that is.

    Exactly right. Big sigh. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:25:49 PM EST
    A focus on media malpractice (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:49:35 PM EST
    just can't come out of nowhere from a candidate who did nothing to stop it being done on his behalf and for his benefit before.  

    Plus, Schieffer's role is not easily skewered.  He asked "Really?"  This is artful, possibly intentionally so.  But even if not, heck, an interviewer asks questions.  Sometimes, they're leading questions.  But questions aren't statements -- or misstatements -- that manifest a bias, if it requires a video be shown, an interpretation be given, etc.  

    It's not the same as, say, those in the media who foamed at the mouth as they made vile statements  and outright misstatements.  And not a word against it was said then by this candidate, so it only looks like yet more "me, me, me" to do so now.  


    Absolutely agree. (none / 0) (#94)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    Obama's behavior in the primaries forfeited any consideration in the GE.  He was unthinkable to Hillary and others in his own party.  Now we're supposed to rush to protect and defend him.  That victim stuff doesn't go very far outside the far left.

    So, (none / 0) (#95)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:23:53 PM EST
    sad the media isn't scrutinizing legitimate questions about Obama before he becomes president.  I think we'll see in November that it doesn't really matter what is said in the campaigns, Obama will president.  He's been promised it, just like the nomination.  As he said to insiders during the primary:  "C'mon, you KNOW I'm going to be the nominee."

    To me the Money quote from (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:26:09 PM EST
    Gen Clark is this:
    In the matters of national security policy making, it's a matter of understanding risk," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "It's a matter of gauging your opponents and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never

    done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war.

    "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," Clark said. "That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded -- that wasn't a wartime squadron."

    Clark should hold Obama to the same "executive responsibility" yard stick.  

    And there's the rub! (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:26:56 PM EST
    Clark's comments shed more light on the executive stature problem ... and it's hard for a highly-qualified Obama surrogate to avoid doing that.

    One of several problems that would leave any Obama veep selection awkwardly positioned.


    Hasn't held an executive position (none / 0) (#107)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:10:13 PM EST
    sticks out like a sore thumb in his statement.  It just floodlights 'Neither has Obama'.

    If Clark were still running for President himself, it's a forceful and excellent point to make.  But not if he's campaigning for Obama.

    This whole thing just highlilghts Obama's weakest points.  Why isn't Obama hammering McCain on the economy?  That's McCain's weakest point, and it's the dominating concern for the majority of voters.  It's fruit so low-hanging that it's scraping the ground and crying 'Pick me!  Pick me!'.

    If this was an attempt to wrench the frame on NS from the Republicans, it failed.


    I've got to tape (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:26:22 PM EST
    that interview with Mitchell. I'm sure that she'll drag the dead horse around while loudly proclaiming it relevant. Talk about can't miss TV.

    There is a difference between (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Exeter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:28:33 PM EST
    defending and piling on. Obama has no duty to defend Clark -- or anybody else not officially with the campaign or closely associated with Obama. He does, however, have an obligation not to pile on-- and I don't think he has done that.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:33:04 PM EST
    The only reference to it that I see in the speech is
    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.
    A nice generic statement, no piling on.

    Well, I heard it live and thought it was directed (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:37:08 PM EST
    based on the context of today's news. And in conjunction with Axelrod's statement it is clearly not meant as a generic statement.

    the "of course" (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:43:41 PM EST
    at the head of the spokesman's statement did it for me. It was expected that the General's statement be repudiated. That having been done we can look forward to 24 hours of pundit dribble as we prepare for Clark's appearance on Michell's show.
    The General will defend himself honorably I don't doubt.

    How can he defend himself and be "loya" (none / 0) (#45)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:48:49 PM EST
    ...not that his statements have been "rejected?" Won't he have to deject and denounce himself in order to be a good team player?

    When is Mitchell's show? (none / 0) (#46)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:49:05 PM EST
    Does she have a daytime slot?

    I think it's (none / 0) (#52)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:53:10 PM EST
    the Race for the White House show. Nothing about it yet on MSNBC.com

    1:00 pm (none / 0) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:10:54 PM EST
    I will live blog it.

    And then, later, after the speech, (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by zfran on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:51:19 PM EST
    when so much was made of Clark's statement, used the term "reject" what Clark had said. If he keeps throwing people under the bus in this way, there'll be no one left for potential vps.

    FWIW (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:00:42 PM EST
    I believe that you are acting naive for thinking that this was not choreographed well in advance. It is the central GOP issue. The call and response was not left to chance, imo.

    This was indeed left to chance. (5.00 / 0) (#71)
    by zfran on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:14:21 PM EST
    Even Lynn Sweet today (I believe it was her) said that the Obama campaign misjudged the level of Clark's remark and waited perhaps a day too late to reject it. And, oh, by the way, please note, there was no name calling in my reply. Thanks.

    OK, You Are A Believer (3.00 / 2) (#78)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:32:56 PM EST
    And if Lynn Sweet said it, it must be true.

    Did you also think that Charlie Black's words, and McCains response was spontaneous as well.

    Clark is a high profile surrogate of Obama. I believe that they  have a plan to attack the central GOP theme. This is part of it, imo, and if you are representative of the general public they have done a good job with their political theater.


    So you think Obama (5.00 / 0) (#72)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:18:54 PM EST
    deliberatley sends people out to say things he can reject the next day to score political points?

    Sorry, I just don't buy it. I'm cynical, but not that cynical.


    Do You Think (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:38:41 PM EST
    That when a quarterback fakes a handoff and then throws a long TD pass, he just changed his mind?

    I am certain that Wes Clark is part of Obama's campaign, and this was discussed. It is not really all that surprising because Obama has said that he would not attack McCain's war service.

    Who better to deconstruct McCain's false syllogism, than Wes Clark?

    Someone had to do it. And no one is better for the task than Wes Clark, imo.


    Okay so Squeaky...... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:04:16 PM EST
    ....what you are saying is that Clark volunteered to be smeared by the media and take all of this heat for the purpose of allowing Obama to disavow him? Clark is to smart of a man to have agreed to a plan that made him a scapegoat, I think. I mean, what's in it for him? After the media is done with him, he won't be able to even so much as offer Obama so much as a word of advice. That's what happens to "disgraced" Democratic commentators. Unlike the Republican ones who just keep getting asked back.

    No (none / 0) (#100)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:42:08 PM EST
    I do not think that Clark agreed to be smeared by the media, that is not how I would frame it. He, like any thinking person, is speaking the truth and dismantling a GOP fiction.

    Hey he may have even come up with the plan to begin with. As far as scapegoat goes, I do not see it happening.

    The GOP smears are a given for any powerful person who supports a Democrat,  that is the price to be paid, and no one goes into that with their eyes closed.

    He said nothing bad about McCains heorics, or military standing. Anyone who wants to go after him for that will have it blow up in their face.


    I am (none / 0) (#75)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:23:50 PM EST
    that cynical.

    That is what Obama has been doing (none / 0) (#106)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:04:53 PM EST
    since day 1.

    Really? (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:37:20 PM EST
    Did you miss where Obama's spokesman said "of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark"?

    That was a little pilingonesque ; ) (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Exeter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:42:20 PM EST
    He did pile on (5.00 / 0) (#58)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:57:19 PM EST
    I thought it was clear what he meant in his statement.  And it's all over the news:

    From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
    Obama will talk about McCain's military record in his noon speech on "patriotism" in Independence, MO -- and contradict Wes Clark, without naming him.
    MSNBC Link

    Obama Repudiates Clark's Assertions About McCain
    Washington Post Link

    Barack Obama slaps down Wesley Clark -- gently
    LA Times Link

    Wow........ (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:02:53 PM EST
    ....sometimes I think that the Obama campaign truly believes that their main constituency is the media. Oh how I want a Democrat in the White House, but oh how I despise that the media is once again calling the shots.

    Ouch... I didn't see those (none / 0) (#83)
    by Exeter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:43:49 PM EST
    Josh Marshall (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:42:23 PM EST
    Now he's "troubled" by (5.00 / 7) (#44)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:47:37 PM EST
    Obama's "routine" mistakes. Gee, wasn't that a, ahem, shrill thing to say just last month?

    Yup - or so the guy that (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:52:55 PM EST
    was impersonating Josh Marshall told me.

    Isn't it obvious (none / 0) (#76)
    by standingup on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:26:50 PM EST
    Josh believes Chris Matthews is getting the Meet the Press gig so he is auditioning for the vacancy on Hardball?

    Forest through the trees (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by thinkingfella on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:42:29 PM EST
    Obama has already previously said he will not disparage McCain's serivce or patriotism. This may be principle, or it may be political expediency (i.e not wanting to get into a discussion about McCain's war record, when a discussion about economics is more helpful)
    but either way he can't allow a surrogate to be perceived as disparaging McCain's service.

    While it is technically correct to say that getting shot down is not a qualification for President, and it is also true the Clark actually spoke highly of McCain's service, most Americans will only read or hear that single statement and think that Clark has disparaged McCain's service. Without any context it does give the appearance on first read that Clark is speaking dismissively.
    I personally think it is fair to characeterize this deviation from the campaign strategy by a surrogate as "inartful" and the Obama campaign is wise to distance themselves from this comment. This isn't throwing Clark "under the bus" (and I agree with BTD that Clark can handle himself just fine), this is keeping the focus on issues that will actually result in victory.

    I understand what you are saying (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:51:51 PM EST
    But why can't we for once not back off from the truth?  Clark did not say anything wrong. It was not even 'inartful', whatever that means.  He said it exactly right. Instead of arguing that Clark was not speaking dismissively of MCain's servie record, Obama is essentially agreeing that he was.  How is that going to get the issue off the table?

    There's truth, and there's perception. (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by thinkingfella on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:37:56 PM EST
    in a political fight truth rarely wins against percepetion (some examples: Gore "inventing" the internet, Kerry's swiftboat medals, etc.). There are times when it is important to fight that battle anyways, but in my personal opinion this is not one of them.
    There are bigger fish to fry then defending Clark's statement, and getting into an extended battle in the media over the validity of what Clark said is the wrong thing to be sucking up precious news cycles with. I would prefer Obama's campaign stick to issues it can win with.

    "inartful" in this case means saying something that is technically true, but leaves the door open for the opposition to mischarecterize, misconstrue, and/or deliberately mislead other people into thinking something else was said that is politically damaging to the speaker's interests.


    I love Wes Clark but when I (5.00 / 0) (#81)
    by hairspray on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:41:50 PM EST
    heard his interview I couldn't help thinking how patheric Obama's credentials were in comparison. That Schieffer (whom i don't like) pressed Clark on a comparison was certainly understandable.  The interview I believe was done to bring down McCain and when the opposite seemed to have occured, the O campaign "turned it off."  the O campaign CANNOT talk about this type of experience. They will lose no matter who tries to critique McCain on this score.

    I got an email from votevets (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by Dave B on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:44:32 PM EST
    They are asking folks to sign a petition thanking Clark, and asking him to not back down. You can pitch in here.

    Good Catch, Dave B. Thanks. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by creeper on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:51:43 PM EST
    As usual (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:58:42 PM EST
    They have their heads on straight at VoteVets.  I'll go sign their petition.

    New post (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:04:24 PM EST
    Send VoteVets some money, too (none / 0) (#104)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:58:16 PM EST
    if you're really ticked at Obama dissing Clark -- since Obama named VoteVets as one of the org's to which donations ought not go anymore.

    This is all scripted (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by pluege on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:17:49 PM EST
    Clark is doing what needs to be done - attack mccinsane's military credentials - who else is going to be able to do it. Certainly not Obama.

    Clark would probably be doing the same thing if HRC were the dem nominee. Think about it - who else could do it and not get laughed out.

    The whole point is to create an uproar so it filters down to the pea-brains.

    politically, Obama does not need to defend Clark (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by kempis on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:55:48 PM EST
    but neither should he "disavow" him as his campaign has come close to doing.

    Most people who were paying attention in 04 like General Clark and figure he's earned the right to voice his opinion about whether or not McCain's service experience makes him qualified to be president.

    This sort of shriek and shove off that the Obama campaign has done in response makes them look panicked. Heck, it took Jeremiah Wright making an extraordinary ass out of himself repeatedly before Obama could finally disavow him. People like Wes Clark a lot more than they like Wright. The Obama campaign needs to tread carefully here. They needn't defend Clark but they shouldn't diss him, either. They'll only alienate more people....

    Who are they trying to play to these days anyway? Clark and his fans just got smacked a bit. And Obama lowered the boom on MoveOn's "General Betrayus ad" in his patriotism speech--and MoveOn has been a hand that has fed him well.


    But Obama is standing up to the left again! (none / 0) (#105)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:01:13 PM EST
    And that's a good thing.  Didn't get the memo?

    I say the day is not far away for Obama to dump on NARAL, next.  And it will deserve it, just as Move-On did.  They were the panderers.


    Oh boy, I can only hope (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:20:37 PM EST
    that NARAL gets thrown under the bus, and hard.  I laughed at Moveon being thrown under the bus (although I'm sure they're already thanking him for it even now), but I will rejoice on NARAL.  

    Well, as long as it's a different bus -- we've run out of room under the one I'm under.

    But that's what happens when you make your decisions  blinded by $ signs and fandom.


    Barack Obama (1.00 / 0) (#91)
    by tek on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:17:46 PM EST
    needs to stop dissing proven Democratic leaders.  He is not proven and it's debatable that he's even a real Democrat.

    But it was good fodder (none / 0) (#2)
    by Molly Pitcher on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:04:11 PM EST
    for an Independence Day speech....

    Glad That Wes Clark Did Not Run (none / 0) (#54)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:54:59 PM EST
    If I had my drothers, he would be President of the United States.

    If only for the fact that we would have lost you as we have lost so many to date. Although, it is almost impossible to imagine BTD, the cultist, but stranger things have happened, I guess.

    This is a standard move. (none / 0) (#86)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:58:20 PM EST
    Old when this world was young.

    Clark says it, Obama goes, "Oh my god, how could he say that?"

    But the message got out.  The conversation has changed.

    This one of the primary reasons for surrogates.  They can say what the candidate can't.

    That's the problem (none / 0) (#93)
    by PamFl on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:19:26 PM EST
    with Obama. He never says anything-his surrogates do it for him. It's called plausible deniability.

    certainly not anything (none / 0) (#103)
    by english teacher on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:57:57 PM EST
    new about that style of political operation.  seems like a replay of the praise for obama outsmarting everybody on the fisa bill.  

    the one thing i haven't seen mentioned, and why i think this was a bad move by clark from obama's perspective, is that getting shot down in a fighter jet and serving as mccain did so far outshines anything on obama's resume that it seems crazy to draw attention to it.  clark can say, "being a fighter pilot does not qualify you to be president" to which mccain can respond, "well then neither does polishing a chair with your @ss at harvard law review" or any of the other things obama claims qualify him for the job.  while clark's statement is objectively true, we would need a better candidate to make it stick against mccain.    


    I disagree ... (5.00 / 0) (#108)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:12:15 PM EST
    you need to challenge your opponent in all areas, if you want to win.

    And Clark was the right surrogate to do it.

    Sure, it won't convince everyone.  But it puts a question mark next to McCain's "experience."  And the Obama camp needs to do that.