McCain Campaign Attacks Clark's Military Record

Via TPM:

Here's what Orson Swindle, a fellow POW of McCain's, said on the call, in a reference to generals, admirals, and other officers who back the Arizona Senator:

"General Clark probably wouldn't get that much praise from this group. I can't speak for them, but we all know that General Clark, as high-ranking as he is, his record in his last command I think was somewhat less than stellar."

BTW, this is not new, and in my view, not a dirty trick - both Republicans and Democrats attacked Clark's military record when he ran for President. It is and was fair game for debate. I think Clark's record was stellar and am prepared to debate it. Is McCain prepared to debate his own military record?

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    Don't hold your breath (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by TomP on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:19:23 AM EST
    for any defense of Clark by Obama.

    Obama only defends Obama. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:21:18 AM EST
    I wish he would..... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:25:38 AM EST
    ...it would at least show consistency from one day to the next.

    Ha! (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:21:09 AM EST
    Sure, not a dirty trick, but when your strategic goal is to suggest that Obama and Clark are down in the gutter attacking McCain's military record, what a blunder it is to surrender the high ground by getting right down in the gutter with them!

    I wasn't reading blogs back when Clark ran for President, but something that always amused me over the last couple years on Daily Kos is that any time Clark's name came up, you'd have like 99 people talking about how awesome he is, and 1 person ranting about how he's an evil war criminal blah blah blah.  It was a reliable sideshow.

    You really think this fight favors the (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:22:36 AM EST
    Obama camp? I seem to recall a debate between an AWOL drug addict and a war hero candidate which centered on the latter's service record.

    It seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:28:21 AM EST
    that the fight the McCain campaign should be looking to have is McCain vs. Obama, not McCain vs. Clark.

    Also, I think it's difficult to play the "how dare you attack McCain's service record!" card if they're simultaneously attacking Clark's service record.


    Not at all difficult (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:32:20 AM EST
    for Republicans.

    Yesterday's storm of outrage and wild distortions of Clark's comments was a classic example of the GOP outrage machine at its most effective.  They have absolutely no shame and are not the least held back by the fact that you and I and a few other people may notice they're in the gutter, too, because most people won't notice, not even the media.


    Well (none / 0) (#15)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:34:19 AM EST
    If no one is going to notice this particular attack, why make it?

    I have no idea if Obama is going to win the overall scrap, but I don't think this particular comment can accomplish anything productive for McCain.


    No, I meant no one (none / 0) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:38:12 AM EST
    but you and I and a few others will notice the hypocrisy.  They certainly will notice the attacks.

    McCain hasn't been in the news much (none / 0) (#106)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    lately.  He doesn't give historic speeches.  Even his new plane was barely mentioned.  If you compare his new airplane to Obama's haircut, they both attracted about the same press attention.  

    So...  If McCain thinks this is an argument he can win, he might as well go for it.  It'll keep his name out there in the press and perhaps take some of the attention off the series of historic speeches Obama is set to deliver this week.  


    The two go hand in hand, paradoxically. (none / 0) (#10)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:29:44 AM EST
    Look at Bush's campaigns.

    that was me at daily kos in 2003 (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:33:49 AM EST
    And it was more than 1 percent. Remember it was a Deaniac site.

    What is the fuss over Clark? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:30:22 AM EST
    Seriously, I don't understand it. I thought he did very well in Bosnia. It was a tough situation, and there is no way it could have been handled without controversy, but given what has happened in Iraq I would hope it would be obvious to everybody that things there turned out about as well as they could have been expected to. I know it's not perfect, but I wasn't even expecting as much success as we achieved.

    My guess... (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:36:13 AM EST
    ...is that the GOP'ers see Bosnia as Clinton's war and that in and of itself makes it suspect to the wingnut mind.  

    Well, that would be a view which Obama (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by MarkL on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:38:15 AM EST
    agrees with, given that he favors the Reagan-Bush foreign policy model.

    The longer McCain's camp (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Lil on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:35:24 AM EST
    spars with Clark, the less time they are going after Obama. I wonder if Clark knew what he was doing, when he made his initial comments. Not that I think his comments were wrong; in fact, I would agree with them. The whole controversy is stupid, in my opinion, but I've given uo hope that real issues will ever matter in an election. It will always be about who can win the media war.

    Claire McCaskil... (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:41:16 AM EST
    just jumped on the "Clark devalued McCain's service" conservative bandwagon on MSNBC.

    Seriously. I am embarrassed to be Democrat on these days. Where is the will to fight this BS? There isn't any. Let the GOP set the tone AGAIN and look like a fool answering  their every foolish talking point.

    I may change my party affiliation today so I can sleep well tonight.

    She did? (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:42:55 AM EST
    Confirms my continued detestation of her.

    Watch her vote on telecom immunity.

    She is a piece of crap.


    I just watched it. (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:46:36 AM EST
    Ended about 5 minutes ago now and I am just frgging angry as hell. She did the "Wes speaks for himself" bit and distanced the Obama campaign from his remarks.

    These Democrats write WELCOME on their  chests and lay down as soon as a Republican mouth starts spouting off crap.

    So po'd.


    was she just speaking for HERself? (none / 0) (#40)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:54:47 AM EST
    I am a bit confused by all this.

    McCaskill must have been speaking (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:58:02 AM EST
    for her teenaged daughter again.  The teenager who tells a U.S. Senator how to vote, what to think.

    Probably. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:00:47 PM EST
    Kids can get scared in a fight and run away.

    How dare you speak the truth about my (none / 0) (#67)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:20:48 PM EST
    Democratic Senator. LOL

    She personally thinks voting with the Republicans on Iraq and FISA is something to be proud of. She just can't talk enough about her bright and shiny bipartisan creds. Exactly why she thinks this will endear her to the Democrats who helped her get her seat is beyond me. Come 2012 that D after her name will not get my support for her reelection.


    And Emily's List (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:40:29 PM EST
    won't get mine if they support her again...as I have written them...again.

    McCaskill is a two-faced, backstabbing, self-serving opportunist with the integrity of a snake.


    Personally I think you are insulting the snake (none / 0) (#114)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:13:08 PM EST
    Other than that I agree with what you said.

    Surprised? (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:43:45 AM EST
    Does she think (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by pie on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:45:48 AM EST
    this will move her up on the short list?

    She's a walking, talking dem embarrassment.


    A McCaskill VP Selection Would (none / 0) (#69)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:24:06 PM EST
    actually make me consider voting for McCain.

    I swear that the McCain campaign is tone deaf (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:45:57 AM EST
    This is a very good opportunity to remind people of McCain's military service (and Obama's lack thereof) and make Obama look like a jerk.  Instead they turn it into a petty squabble by going after Clark.  Stupid move.

    MCCain surrogates have... (4.50 / 2) (#34)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:48:41 AM EST
    been doing that all morning, every half hour while Obama spokespeople backpedal and look scared.

    I dont think the McCain wants that (none / 0) (#126)
    by thea2b on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:12:20 PM EST
    I really doubt the McCain campaign wants a full out discussion of his military record. But the question is will anybody speak of how inept McCains military career was. If we want facts of course but how many times do they come into play in politics.

    5 downed planes in 3 year sis a VERY bad record. Lucky for John Sydney he had relatives in High Places.


    From 2004 (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:48:39 AM EST
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.


    "I deplore this kind of politics," McCain said. "I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire.


    But I guess "this kind of politics" it is OK in 2008, for McCain.

    IOKIYAR. (none / 0) (#35)
    by pie on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:49:39 AM EST
    Seems to me... (none / 0) (#58)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:12:25 PM EST
    ...Clark initiated the whole mess. I think McCain is entitled to respond.

    Heh (none / 0) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:16:00 PM EST
    Sure engage in attacks on Clark's record after criticizing attacks on his record.

    Makes sense to you of course.

    What a joke.


    Where does McCain... (none / 0) (#68)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:23:02 PM EST
    Personally, I think Clark was a great general. He pulled off a very difficult op in Kosovo in 1999, and the criticism he got from Shelton and others in 2004 was way off base. But, if Clark thinks attacks on military experience are fair game, neither he nor you should be surprised if he (and, by extension, Obama) becomes fair game too. What he did was stupid and uncalled for, and the Obama campaign knows it full well, or else they wouldn't be running away from him so fast. Simply put, Obama is running away from this fight because he knows he cannot win it.

    Utterly Dishonest (none / 0) (#70)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:26:11 PM EST
    But, if Clark thinks attacks on military experience are fair game,

    You are setting up a strawman and a fiction. But you know that.


    Really? (none / 0) (#72)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:27:30 PM EST
    Clark launched an unprovoked attack on McCain's military experience. Do you have an alternative interpretation of these events?

    Provoked by Bob Scheiffer (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:35:00 PM EST
    Do not let the facts get in your way.

    "Provoked by Bob Schieffer"? (none / 0) (#81)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:36:54 PM EST
    Schieffer does not strike me as someone carrying McCain's water, and in the exchange he himself seemed surprised at Clark's response.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 06:17:50 PM EST
    Now you exposed your self.

    No he didn't (none / 0) (#79)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:35:14 PM EST
    He was asked a question and he answered.  He did not disparage McCai'sn military experience whatsoever.  

    I think (none / 0) (#97)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:47:32 PM EST
    Obama agrees with pmj here.

    "Obama agrees with pmj here." (none / 0) (#99)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:50:21 PM EST
    Agreed, and this is why Im angry at Obama right now... not that me shaking my fist in my living room and typing on a computer will have any effect.

    Do You Have A Quote? (none / 0) (#102)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:55:38 PM EST
    Obama made a parallel statement. He never said that Clark attacked McCain's military experience. And particularly he never said that Clark made an unprovoked attack on McCain's military experience.

    what did burton say yesterday? (none / 0) (#105)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:58:14 PM EST
    Was burton speaking only for himself?

    No Quote (none / 0) (#120)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:40:21 PM EST
    But the innuendo is rocking.

    This is what bothers me: (none / 0) (#109)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:00:10 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."

    I personally think Clarks statements should not have been rejected.  Obama deflecting or ignoring it would have been fine, but to actively reject them was lame.

    By the way, Im not sure what the rules on providing links in the comment section is, but thats from a Time piece easily found by googling.  


    Uh... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:37:37 PM EST
    McSame intgerjects his POW status 24/7.  He makes it an issue daily.  And for the millionth time, Clark Was NOT attacking his POW status!

    I agree... (none / 0) (#89)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:41:46 PM EST
    ...but Clark committed the mortal sin of introducing the question of Experience into the presidential campaign by implying McCain was lacking in that regard. Because if McCain is lacking, what does it make Obama?

    But... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:44:49 PM EST
    POW experience isnt a quality needed for the presidency.  And since McSame is bending over for neocons, Id say any experience hes had as a POW didnt sink in.

    Fine! (none / 0) (#98)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:48:18 PM EST
    What experience, in your view, is required for the post of President?

    Right. This is the debate Clark inadvertently instigated, and Obama is running away from.


    This is why... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:54:14 PM EST
    intelligence and an even tempered, pragmatic candidate trumps experience - just because youve had an experience doesnt mean you learned anything from it.

    depends (none / 0) (#86)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:39:52 PM EST
    if i put 100 POWs in a room and ask them to raise their hands if they think theyre qualified to be president, and none of them do, did I just attack their military record?

    What say you?


    Who(m) are you asking? (none / 0) (#91)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:42:21 PM EST
    Well anyone (none / 0) (#95)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:45:53 PM EST
    I guess, but the question was more for the person I was replying to.

    I guess we have to stipulate... (none / 0) (#96)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:47:14 PM EST
    ...none of these 100 POWs are senior US Senators, active members of Armed Services Committee whose sons are serving as junior officers in the USMC in Iraq.

    Clark did commit a sin of misdirection by implying McCain's "getting shot down in a fighter plane" (that strictly speaking is inaccurate too, as McCain was flying an A-4 Skyhawk light attack aircraft, but I guess we can forgive Clark who is an Army guy) is McCain's only qualification for the job. It self-evidently is not and Obama knows he is in a weak position here.


    so you agree then (none / 0) (#100)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:52:21 PM EST
    mccain's military experience all by itself is insufficient criteria by which to promote him for POTUS.

    You are catching on! (none / 0) (#108)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:59:32 PM EST
    The thing is, McCain is not claiming that either. I don't think he's ever said anything to that effect.

    Instead, his POW experience is used to signal his patriotism, loyalty and unflinching dedication to the United States of America. Clark totally misunderstood this.


    not at all (none / 0) (#112)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:08:27 PM EST
    Clark said that his military experience did signal all those other things.  He repeated that several times.

    Please do not concede to the vagaries of media bias and forget that, cool!

    So.  Now that everyone including mccain agrees that mccains military experience is insufficient criteria, when do you think mccain would like to start talking about his senate record and how that qualifies him to be president?


    Yes... (none / 0) (#115)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:16:56 PM EST
    ...I am sure McCain would love to talk about his ample Senate record spanning several decades and including a number of landmark pieces of legislation. Because as soon as that discussion is joined and some Obama surrogate questions McCain's Senate experience, Obama is virtually guaranteed to vouch for McCain!

    you don't think (none / 0) (#117)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:20:28 PM EST
    mccains senate record is too conservative?

    Too conservative... (none / 0) (#122)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:45:57 PM EST
    ...for my taste, certainly. But given Obama's rightward drift, I'm not sure he'll be in a position to make use of that either.

    There was no attack. Repeat. There was no attack. (none / 0) (#113)
    by mrmobi on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:09:33 PM EST
    Got that? Clark clearly honored McCain's service, and, when specifically asked, he said he thought that that service did not rise to the level of a qualification for the rigors of the Presidency, and, of course, he's absolutely right. In fact, Gen. Clark's service is much more in keeping with the kind of experience that would truly matter in the office of president.

    However, if you keep repeating that Clark "attacked" McCain's service, you may get to be part of the corporate media, so good luck with that.

    All of the above said, I still think this was a mis-step by Clark, and I have trouble believing that he was a complete free-agent in his appearance on Face the Nation. Keep in mind too, that he said the very same thing a few days earlier. So, if the Obama campaign saw it as a problem, they had a chance to talk to Gen. Clark. They obviously didn't.


    In that case I'll stop... (none / 0) (#116)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:20:06 PM EST
    ...because I dread nothing more than becoming part of the big media industrial complex.

    I understand what you are saying but Clark's phrasing it as "getting shot down in a plane" does trivialize the ordeal (I mean, this really doesn't sound like a lot of fun!) and therefore undercuts Clark's earlier praise for McCain.


    Did you read my post? (none / 0) (#77)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:34:31 PM EST
    Yes, I did... (none / 0) (#84)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:39:47 PM EST
    ...and I fundamentally agree with it, except for not understanding why McCain and Clark need to have a debate over this, given that Clark is not McCain's opponent. Also, I think you are discounting the reasons for Obama's swift strategic redeployment away from this debate.

    Didn't you just say (none / 0) (#65)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:17:38 PM EST
    upthread " I wouldn't mind seeing Obama defend his own military record, instead of having him hide behind a surrogate. Besides, I'm sure McCain can come up with someone like Tommy Franks to take on Clark on his behalf, if need be."

    Now you are defending McCain's use of a surrogate?  

    nice consistency.


    Let me make this real clear (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:26:40 PM EST
    McCain is not running against Clark. McCain is running against Obama. If Obama wants surrogates to attack McCain on his behalf, why should McCain waste time on a small fry like Clark? I'm sure that's how Obama campaign would like it, but it's not going to happen.

    Besides, seems to me McCain's surrogate for attacking Clark is none other than Obama himself.


    Andrea Mitchell.. (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:58:28 AM EST
    will be interviewing Clark on MSNBC next, I believe, if anyone can watch.

    I wouldn't mind seeing Obama... (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:04:38 PM EST
    ...defend his own military record, instead of having him hide behind a surrogate. Besides, I'm sure McCain can come up with someone like Tommy Franks to take on Clark on his behalf, if need be.

    This is a loser issue for Obama. If he wants to argue (by proxy or otherwise) that McCain lacks the experience to be the C-in-C, what precisely does Obama bring to the table here, other than Judgment (tm)?

    I checked with my local (4.50 / 2) (#55)
    by Lahdee on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:08:03 PM EST
    chapter of PUB (People Under the Bus) who confirmed Gen. Clark was signed up anonymously yesterday.

    Busunders is (none / 0) (#60)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:15:09 PM EST
    my shorthand for those of us who need a title defining our commonality.

    Swindle. (none / 0) (#5)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:25:28 AM EST

    I always liked Clark too (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:25:43 AM EST
    but he stepped into this.

    He knew he was stepping into it (none / 0) (#12)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:32:07 AM EST
    This was a carefully planned expedition, not an accidental slip. He's planting doubt in people's minds about McCain's qualifications and instilling confidence in Obama's. He's "taking one for the team". It's a shame that Obama isn't willing to run with it, although I can understand why he is reluctant to do so.

    He knocked Obama's speech (none / 0) (#56)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:08:42 PM EST
    out of the media.  Obama is known for being the great orator, it is how he gets positive media.  How can it be a good thing when Obama is knocked out of the media for McCain?  Obama has distanced himself and other dems speaking out against Clark's comments.

    I am still not seeing how Clark knocking Obama out yesterday is beneficial.  I will wait to see how much coverage his religious speech gets today versus the McCain/Clark issue.


    It was supposed to break on 6/13/08 (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by wurman on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:02:25 PM EST
    General Clark started this attack on "Morning Joe," but the Lame Stream Media hacks were asleep at their desks & missed it.  YouTube (link):

    Clark had to shop around & landed on "Face the Nation."

    Amazingly, Bob Schieffer lobbed him the punch line by trying to list a bunch of Sen. Obama's "missing" qualifications, i.e., "he was never shot down in a fighter plane."

    Clark smashed it back.

    Perhaps unfortunately, the "attack McCain's Navy service" gambit then entered the news cycle far later than intended.

    I think it worked, anyway.


    Unless he is coordinating with the campaign (none / 0) (#131)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:35:56 PM EST
    ...he probably didn't know about the speech. He's working on his own here, or with people who aren't part of Obama's team. I don't know if that's a good idea, but Clark is giving Obama an opening. So far, Obama is not taking it.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:41:32 AM EST
    So what? You are deciding to sit it out because he asked for it? Interesting attitude from you given your outrage on matters Clinton.

    Clark is a big boy (none / 0) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:56:35 AM EST
    surely he knew what was coming when he did this.
    if not he does now.  I actaully think what he said about McCain was a little out there.
    in any case as you are so fond of saying, pols are pols, they do what they do.
    hardly the same as a Hillary nutcracker.

    What exactly... (none / 0) (#74)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:30:37 PM EST
    was "a little out there"?

    as far as I am concerned (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:27:55 PM EST
    its a "little out there" to try to suggest McCain is not qualified to be president.  he was quoted as saying that the other day also.  
    you can complain about McCains policies all you want but saying he is not qualified considering who he is running against doesnt pass the giggle test.
    as far as this latest, certainly being shot down does not qualify you to be president, having said that I dont think that was Scheiffers point.  IMO he was saying "really" to the thrust of Clarks comments.  the interviewer knew Clark was stepping in it.  it is IMO a sort of silly thing to say and I suspect Scheiffer thought the same thing.  he was saying "would you like to rephrase that?".  even if you believe it it was not a smart thing to say.  all it did was get McCain several days of positive news coverage.
    thats what "out there" means
    hope that helps

    It does help... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:23:47 PM EST
    but considering McSames embrace of neocons, I would say he doesnt have the experience to be president, since anyone with experience would recognize the inherent flaw in that ideology.

    As far as it being stupid, its only a bad thing to say if we let it be.  And since Obama obviously is, youre right by default.


    I dont honestly (none / 0) (#130)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:33:26 PM EST
    think it makes that much difference what we do.
    the media is going to have McCains back.
    the sooner Obama and his campaign realize that the better off they will be.

    That may be true... (none / 0) (#132)
    by Thanin on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:36:12 PM EST
    but Obama actively feeding that bias doesnt help.

    Fellow POW? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Fabian on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:28:01 AM EST
    Why do I immediately flash back to the Swiftboat 527 group?

    They can attack Clark on his military record all they want.  In fact, I hope they spend a lot of time doing just that.  It's a wasted effort.  Clark isn't running.  Obama is.

    Pick the battles that matter the most.  For McCain it should be "Thank you for your service.   Let's look at your more recent employment history.".  McCain's military record/career ended in 1981, 27 years ago, with the rank of Captain.  (just Captain?)

    That's not how it works (5.00 / 8) (#17)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:35:53 AM EST
    In order to have an effective whisper campaign you have to negate your opponents ability to neutralize your attacks. That means removing surrogates who are likely to be effective in defending your candidate. Obama's team did this quite well when they got rid of Cuomo, Bill Clinton, and Ferraro by tarring them as racists, effectively not only at negating their criticism of Obama but also minimizing the value of their endorsements. But the right wing are pros at this, and Obama is falling into the trap by agreeing with the right that Clark's words are not valid.

    Bingo. Exactly. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:38:58 AM EST
    It's not at all a wasted effort (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:36:19 AM EST
    Their objective is to smear and discredit Democrats in general, and Obama is (nominally at least) a Democrat.  They neutralize credible spokesmen like Clark and slime Obama by association.

    They've been doing this very, very effectively for about 30 years now, and they've kept doing it because it works.  Democrats have yet to figure out a way to counteract it, and they have no stomach for full-throated use of the same tactics.


    That's a Navy Captain... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:10:21 PM EST
    ...equivalent to Colonel, O-6, one rank below Brigadier General, in other services. Not too shabby, given that his career was cut short by his captivity.

    Democrats Attacked Clark's Military Record??? (none / 0) (#18)
    by flashman on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:35:57 AM EST
    How long have I been asleep?

    In 2003 (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:40:22 AM EST
    John Edwards surrogate Hugh Shelton did.

    That's It? (none / 0) (#41)
    by flashman on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:54:55 AM EST
    One hack making comments about "character" and "integrity" doesn't qualify as DemocratSSSS... attacking the General's military record.  That's quite an inflated comment, IMO.

    Hugh Shelton isn't a hack (none / 0) (#47)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:01:07 PM EST
    He was Clark's boss.  

    His comments may have been politically motivated but he isn't a hack.


    Heh (none / 0) (#52)
    by flashman on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:05:57 PM EST
    What does being Clark's boss have to do with anyting?  If you hack someome's reputation without specifics or anything of substance, then what does the make you?  Unspecified accusations and vague negative criticisms is nothing more than political hackery.

    Whatever else the man is or was is irrelevant to the comments he made in the political arena.


    that''s not it (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:01:57 PM EST
    You think I will waste my time rehashing 2003 for you?



    I Never Asked For Anyting From You (none / 0) (#54)
    by flashman on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:06:30 PM EST
    Actually it was more complicated (none / 0) (#75)
    by hairspray on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:32:26 PM EST
    than that. Hugh Shelton replaced Clark after Def. Sec. R. Cohen unceremoniously dumped Clark several months before he was to retire.  It was kind of an inside job and then when Shelton talked about "integrity" etc. the whole thing became a kind of whispering campaign.  A number of other generals did not like Clark because he was not the typical good ole boy and suddenly an outstanding, but independent general had his reputation questioned.  Reputation at that level is no small issue.

    Fair Enough (none / 0) (#121)
    by flashman on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:40:22 PM EST
    I don't have a beef with how the military deals with commanders who don't "play ball."  Ok, well I do, actually, but that's not my beef here.  My beef is with statements that seems to equate supposed criticisms of Clark's military record by Democrate with those of Republicans.  Overwhelmimgly, democrats give high praise for Clark's service, a few sad political comments from a disgruntled former college notwithstanding.  I know from my military experience that what Adm. Fallon said is absolutely true: that if you don't make a few enimies in the military, then you aren't doing your job.

    That said, the whole "attacking... record" discussion is pretty silly.  Clark didn't attack McCain's record.  Comments that followed from McCain's campaign look like typical Republican slander, aka "swiftboating".  Looks like it's going to be another looooong campaign season.


    I'm torn (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:43:52 AM EST
    The media probably won't let a fair debate happen on this issue.

    I think we should do our best, what little there is we can do, to disallow the media to control the terms of such a debate.  ALL debates they try to control.

    There may be some proof here that obama's media darling status does not have coattails.

    Clark's on his own here.  Well.  He has us too.  If not Obama.  It might be time to send votevets some love.

    I'm surprised by this (none / 0) (#36)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:49:48 AM EST
    I think this is a bad move by the McCain campaign.  

    So they are going to have a pissing contest between McCain and Wesley Clark's military careers?  Seriously?

    What are they going to gain from this?  At best they might be able to rule out Clark as VP by discrediting him.  But more likely they are simply going to trivialize McCain's military career.

    Obama will jump into this only when it makes political sense.  He will defend Wes Clark as a decorated war hero who was also Supreme Allied Commander of Europe.  

    This just seems like a really stupid play by the McCain camp.

    I wish that were true... (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:52:00 AM EST
    but they're not and Obama won't. They've been distancing themselves and practically walking over themselves to praise McCain's service record today, never once defending Clark.

    Look at the entire field (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:54:46 AM EST
    This was a planned move by the Obama campaign.  

    What exactly is the hit that Clark is experiencing from this?  

    Clark is doing the dirty work that Obama cannot.

    And now McCain's campaign is fighting back against Clark in the one way they really can't.


    Sorry but I really don't think that.... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:03:17 PM EST
    ...the very first thing that Wesley Clark did when he switched his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama about three weeks ago was to offer himself up in this way. I know its a nice narrative to explain why the Obama camp doesn't defend him, but it's just not very plausible.

    Why? (none / 0) (#59)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:14:15 PM EST
    Because you think that Clark was curled up in a ball for the past 3 weeks, eating ice cream and crying over the fact that Hillary didn't win the nomination?

    It would seem that the McCain camp is none too pleased with Obama not boisterously denouncing Clark.  


    Good grief.... (none / 0) (#76)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:33:34 PM EST
    ...well fine. Have it your way. It was planned and it sure was stupid plan.

    How'd it go, something like this: Obama planned to overshadow his own patriotism speech by having Clark attack McCain's military record. And Clark said, "Yeah that's a brilliant idea. Turn me into a swiftboater so that the media will attack me instead of you."


    I recall that in 2004... (none / 0) (#80)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:35:36 PM EST
    ...Clark was viewed as "not ready for prime-time" for having a habit of saying inopportune things at inopportune times.

    That may well be..... (none / 0) (#90)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:42:09 PM EST
    ...but if so, it makes the planned good cop/bad cop scenario even less plausible....unless, of course the plot was hatched back in 2004.

    Oh geez (none / 0) (#92)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:42:48 PM EST
    How is Clark swiftboating McCain?

    Wow (none / 0) (#118)
    by daring grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:26:48 PM EST
    Wasn't sure about your contention that this was pre-arranged by Obama and Clark for Obama to stay out of it, and now comment #62 seems like some confirmation--at least of McCain wishing Obama had fallen into the fray.

    Carly Fiorina... (none / 0) (#62)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:15:17 PM EST
    on MSNBC just said that Wes is speaking for the Obama campaign and his attack against McCain was planned.

    So, now I know it isn't true.


    I'll I have to say is.... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:53:16 AM EST
    He will defend Wes Clark as a decorated war hero who was also Supreme Allied Commander of Europe.  

    He better hurry up cause by the time his pals like Claire McCaskill get done distancing Obama from Clark, there will be no point in defending him.


    Why? (none / 0) (#44)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 11:58:23 AM EST
    I don't know what McCaskill's doing or whether it is part of the gameplan, it may not be.  

    If this is a planned move, which I believe it was, then Clark is fully in the Obama camp.


    McCaskill speaking against Clark (none / 0) (#50)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:03:35 PM EST
    I don't think surrogate confusion is to Obama's advantage, really.  I'm not sure there is a master plan.

    Clark IS in the Obama camp..... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:06:13 PM EST
    ...he is a Democrat standing up for the Democratic nominee. Yesterday Obama said that he rejects demeaning anyone's service, so does that include Clark or not? I think that's a valid question, and if Obama hadn't said anything yesterday, then I wouldn't expect him to say anything today either.

    The horses are fighting in the stable? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:19:35 PM EST
    Ah, once again (none / 0) (#127)
    by miriam on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:14:28 PM EST
    the Democrats quickly employ the circular firing squad tactic that has served them so well in the past.

    Isn't that the truth? (none / 0) (#134)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 03:36:45 PM EST
    I'm starting to believe, once all the campaign surrogates are under the bus, Obama will come out and endorse McCain -- thereby completing the circular firing squad.  ;-)

    They did succeed... (none / 0) (#61)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:15:12 PM EST
    ...in getting Obama to distance himself from one of the few nationally-known Democrats with a sterling record on national security and military issues. Clark screwed up, pure and simple. Obama or his surrogates cannot go after McCain on experience, given that Obama has none himself. If nothing else, Obama is simply punishing Clark for straying from the Obama message, which is Judgment (tm).

    Clark screwed up... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:17:06 PM EST
    if he was thinking Democrats would nut-up and have his back. What he said was true.

    Strictly speaking... (none / 0) (#73)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:30:12 PM EST
    ...I agree. "Getting shot down in a fighter plane" does not make you qualified or experienced enough for C-in-C.

    The problem is that Clark raised the possibility that the job of C-in-C requires (gasp!) qualifications and experience. Is anyone surprised Obama would double-time away from this issue?


    I hear you... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:38:51 PM EST
    but I think it wasn't Clark who screwed up. Wes gave Obama a opening to talk about what does qualify one to be President and make his case for that jumping of the idea that being a POW does not make one automatically qualified to run the country (although I'd hope Barack would be more artful in arguing this point that I am).

    Instead, Obama takes Clark and tries to toss him under a bus that must be titling on its side becaue of all the others crowded under it. Democrats in Congress and his campaign do the same thing.


    I'll add... (none / 0) (#87)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:40:28 PM EST
    Barack was wrong to characterize Clark's comments as devaluing McCain's service. That's simply untrue and insulting.

    I agree... (none / 0) (#104)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:56:51 PM EST
    ...Bill Clinton had zero military experience, in fact he evaded the draft during Vietnam, but on nat'l sec stuff he proved to be very good, what with the NATO enlargement, loose nukes, Bosnia and Kosovo, the works. He beat Republicans with far better credentials than his own, so it can be done.

    But it can't be done the way Clark did. McCain does not bring up his POW status 24/7 as proof he has experience to be C-in-C but as proof of his patriotism and dedication to the United States of America. Clark fundamentally misunderstood the role of McCain's POW experience in his campaign.


    Clark is right (none / 0) (#110)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:03:01 PM EST
    But, overall, every day McCain gets to talk about his being a POW may be a good day for him. So, it is up in the air whether this is a good or bad strategy.

    If Clark can puncture the hands-off hagiography surrounding McCain, then his efforts will have paid off.   Then, perhaps, the press can also look at the lie of McCain being a maverick.


    I suppose now we find out.... (none / 0) (#125)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:09:54 PM EST
    ...whom the media loves more, Obama or McCain. So far it looks like McCain is winning the spin war.

    The love the "maverick." (none / 0) (#133)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 03:05:45 PM EST
    Make no mistake about it. I would argue McCain isn't running on his POW experience. That footage has benn in countless commercials for his campaign. he doesn't have much else to go on.

    That's electoral politics (none / 0) (#135)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 03:42:38 PM EST
    Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle. Both Obama and McCain campaigns understand it and market their candidates using appeals to emotion, in their own ways. A picture (or a slogan) is worth a thousand words.

    That Maverick thing (none / 0) (#136)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 03:47:52 PM EST
    is going to be hard to shake off IMO.  

    Up above, in this very thread, an Obama supporter posted a quote of McCain's supporting Kerry's war record.  That's a "maverick" type of thing.  Other Republicans didn't come running to defend Kerry in 2004.  


    I would have thought so (none / 0) (#137)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 05:52:39 PM EST
    a few weeks ago.  But McCain has flip-flopped on so many issues:

      1.  Immigration.  This is a flip-flop, followed by another half turn and a flip.  He has contradicted himself so many times, he has become incomprehensible.

      2.  Taxes.  Now for tax cuts for the rich.

      3.  Oil drilling.

      4.  Torture.  And, no one is willing to call him out on this.  He was against it; now, it's okay if the CIA does it.

      5.   Confederate flag.  He admitted he pandered to the right wing on this.

    There are many others...

    I can think of no current position that he takes that bucks his party....He has caved to the Right.  


    Offhand, I can only (none / 0) (#139)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 06:34:01 PM EST
    think of one:  Global Warming.  

    The thing with the earmarks would also be a "maverick" kind of thing although it's against what both Dems and Repubs want.  


    This is great (none / 0) (#85)
    by CST on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:39:51 PM EST
    I don't have a problem with what Clark said, and I don't have a problem with them bringing up Clark's military service.  In fact, I hope they do.  Then they have to admit McCain is a) a hypocrit, or b) fair game.

    I really wish Obama would grow a pair and point this out.  He seems to be in "safe" mode though for the G.E.  I can't decide if that's the smart thing to do or not, it's really annoying though.

    Safe Mode, indeed. (none / 0) (#93)
    by Marco21 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:43:05 PM EST
    As Arianna Huffington pointed out in her most recent post at her site, where has that gotten us?


    Pains me to admit she's right because she's really peeved me over the last few months, but gotta give it to her there.

    Although, some parts of that article are laughable.


    I just wish (none / 0) (#103)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:56:44 PM EST
    that people would stop attacking service records period.

    I find it repugnant to assault the record of anyone who's worn the uniform.

    Pristina (none / 0) (#107)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:59:05 PM EST
    Gen. Jackson came off sounding like an alarmist wimp....

    Bottom line:  no U.S. casualties and Kosovo was spared genocide....

    I feel a diary itching to be written (none / 0) (#111)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:05:09 PM EST
    Where to write it though?  

    You can send Jeralyn an e-mail (none / 0) (#123)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:46:14 PM EST
    requesting permission to do a diary here at TL. Be interested in what you had to say. If you go this route, make sure you tell everyone about the existence of your diary in an open thread. I don't always check on what diaries are available.

    Why Debate This Stuff Here? (none / 0) (#128)
    by bslev22 on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 02:20:42 PM EST
    I have promised to support Senator Obama for a million reasons over Senator McCain in November, even though I still hurt and hurt badly as a result of Hillary's defeat in the primaries.  But, frankly, I have zero interest in dwelling on whether Senator McCain or General Clark acted anyway other than honorably when they served this country.  

    I believe that it is important for this country that Senator Obama be elected, but I will not participate in denigrating Senator McCain's military service record as a means to elect the Democratic nominee.