GOP Columnist: " Clark Is Right"

Republican columnist Kathleen Parker writes:

Clark is right that getting shot down doesn't qualify one to be commander in chief. But it is relevant to wonder with whom one would rather share a foxhole.

Last time I looked, the White House was not located in a foxhole. Which I sort of think was General Clark's point.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    You are incorrect, sir. (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:10:36 AM EST
    Last time I looked, the White House was not located in a foxhole.

    For the last eight years, the White House most certainly has been a Fox hole.

    The whole country is a fox hole (none / 0) (#57)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:00:53 AM EST
    according to Republicans.

    A Funk Hole. (none / 0) (#94)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:30:21 PM EST
    Interesting (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:19:37 AM EST
    that a disgusting hack like Kathleen Parker can do a better job of identifying what Clark actually said than Fred Hiatt.

    She does not like McCain (none / 0) (#74)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:40:35 AM EST
    She is not in the fog of idol worship like most of the other press.

    You should read (none / 0) (#84)
    by talex on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:42:52 AM EST
    the article. She is pumping up McCain not Obama. And she is saying that one would rather share a foxhole with McCain and not Obama because of McCain's courage and behavior when held captive.

    Which is of course the comeback that most Lefties don't want to recognize to Clark's trite remark and what Kathleen Parker is pointing out. No, being shot down does not qualify one for the WH - that is a no brainer Gen Clark. But your comment backfired as it gave the opposition a chance to point out that McCain's courage under fire and his steel will does.


    I think it's quite clear... (none / 0) (#88)
    by Marco21 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:51:02 AM EST
    from what BTD clipped that Parker was in now way defending Clark.

    I wan't adressing (none / 0) (#90)
    by talex on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:54:46 AM EST
    Armando's comments or what he posted of Parker's.

    My bad. (none / 0) (#110)
    by Marco21 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:03:35 PM EST
    Sorry, I did not read that article of hers (none / 0) (#93)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:23:40 PM EST
    I should have.  I was going by her views back in the primaries.

    My bad.


    She also says: (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:21:13 AM EST
    Surely self-sacrifice, courage and loyalty figure somewhere in the calculus for selecting a president.

    We can make no similar analysis of Obama, since he hasn't fought in any wars in his lifetime. But we have been given a glimpse at how Obama responds to external pressures and where he draws the line on loyalty and self-sacrifice. When it comes to family and friends, it seems Obama is first a survivalist.

    And then she goes on to talk about his flip-flop involving Rev. Wright and his subsequent toss under the bus.

    She sure does (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:29:09 AM EST
    McCain and his operatives have not made that argument. the question is are they now precluded from making that argument?

    Not at all (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:13:54 AM EST
    The media will make it for him.  And when has anyone's previous statements precluded them from making an argument, even a total reversal argument, in a campaign?  If that were the case Obama would have to spend half the day mute.

    It'll be made anyway. (none / 0) (#33)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:34:33 AM EST
    All this stuff will get thrown out, and some of it will stick with some voters.

    Also, I want to see (none / 0) (#36)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:36:31 AM EST
    Obama under pressure before November to see how he handles it, because the job is a pressure-cooker.

    I question whether (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:38:10 AM EST
    it can be made now after this dustup.

    It will look crass and political.

    It will legitimize Clark's points and correctness in discussing it in the first place.

    McCain has utterly misplayed this episode.


    Gee. (none / 0) (#51)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:56:34 AM EST
    The republicans never look crass and political.  :)

    You may be right.  Guess we'll have to see.


    Yes (none / 0) (#58)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:05:01 AM EST
    They always lose so badly when they are crass and political.  That's why they're such nice, fluffy bunnies most of the time.

    Here's the difference (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:06:31 AM EST
    Clark did not back down and his point will resonate IF and WHEN McCain does what you suggest.

    Political? (none / 0) (#92)
    by talex on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:03:32 PM EST
    Why would that be a concern of McCain's when what Clark was doing during the entire interview was political.

    And no McCain has not misplayed this. Who is on the offense here and who is on the defense? Who is controlling the conversation?

    It is Clark and Obama who are taking flack, not McCain - or haven't you noticed? It was McCain who was being attacked, not Obama.

    Why not remove you partisan goggles so you can see reality over the next 4 months?

    If you intention is to try to spin things so as to influence people votes here then at least do it when the facts are not so blatantly against you. Because to do otherwise destroys your credibility when you do have a valid point to make.


    That's our candidate... (none / 0) (#95)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:30:58 PM EST

    The Media (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by jb64 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:30:30 AM EST
    is turning on this story because General Clark will not disavow his remarks. It's like push-back is something unexpected from a Democrat. Even Obama seems to think now that there wasn't anything wrong with what he said. Clark looks like Chuck Yaeger in "The Right Stuff" wrestling an out of control jet freefalling to the surface, and pulling it out of the spin. My guess is that he moves to the top of the short list.

    Yep (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:32:45 AM EST
    I hate to say it, (none / 0) (#43)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:40:16 AM EST
    but Clark is starting to look more palatable.

    Short list (none / 0) (#46)
    by Lil on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:44:15 AM EST
    "My guess is that he moves to the top of the short list." I really wonder if this wasn't a set up all along, since Obama can not have this fight with McCain, since he never served. Clark and Webb have the credibility to attack McCain a little more when it comes to military service. After Obama initially chastized Clark, I thought he was done for, but Clark's backbone on this has changed things again.

    I think this is all Clark (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by jb64 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:50:09 AM EST
    And frankly, right now he comes off looking better than either of the candidates. I don't think this was the plan at all. It is shocking how a little backbone can galvanize the public.

    Seriously. (none / 0) (#89)
    by Marco21 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:53:07 AM EST
    Note to congress: fight is what we want!

    I doubt if KP was asking (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:34:41 AM EST
    the foxhole question back in 2004 when actual war hero Kerry went up against AWOL Bush.  I'm sure her threshold question back then was, Is Kerry too French?

    As to Clark, he offered a fine point which was bound to get spun the wrong way in the media.  Not a politically smart thing to do to go in the direction of your opponent's greatest strength -- unless you can count on the corp media to not misrepresent the point and to help drive it home.

    Clark just showed he isn't a seasoned skillful pol and most likely is off the VP list, not that he was ever in the top 5 anyway, imo.  

    I am curious why (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:36:43 AM EST
    you think this was politically bad?

    What evidence do you have for that view?


    It was politically unhelpful (none / 0) (#50)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:54:43 AM EST
    because, first, it lacked a verbal clarity and simplicity which just made it all the easier for the GOP-friendly media to misrepresent.  

    Second, going after McCain's military experience and qualifications for the top office needed to be done, if the point was going to have some chance of success, as part of a larger and coordinated TeamO effort where several fruit salad types would be rolled out to repeat the same, more skillfully-worded,  talking points.  

    Going it alone, as Clark did, just left him vulnerable to isolation and destruction by the McC-worshipping media.  There's some safety, and far more credibility in the overall message, in numbers here.


    Hmm (none / 0) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:05:25 AM EST
    So your evidence is your own reaction to it. I thought there was some data you were referring to.

    The polling reflects that this has had no effect on the race at all.


    Too early for evidence -- (none / 0) (#66)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:23:28 AM EST
    this story only developed since Sunday.

    Then there's the short-term polling, which might not be major, and also long-term -- how the Repubs might use/twist some of Clark's remarks down the road in ads to go after Dems as "besmirching" the record of a war hero.


    You apparently forget, (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by miriam on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:47:46 PM EST
    or never knew, that Wesley Clark is a war hero.  His resume is so far beyond and above McCain's that there is literally no comparison.  Since Clark fully acknowledged McCain's service, and said he honored it, the one being disgracefully besmirched here is Clark.  But then again, the media never let the truth get in the way of a rating boosting besmirchment.  

    You seem to forget that (none / 0) (#63)
    by mikeyleigh on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:12:26 AM EST
    Clark didn't offer this comment out of thin air; he was, in fact, responding to a question.  I happen to like the fact that the general gave a direct answer to a direct question.  If that's politically bad, it's only because so few pols do it on a regular basis.

    Smart pols don't always (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:27:41 AM EST
    or even often choose to answer questions put to them.  They answer how they want to, bobbing and weaving or fogging or just going off in another direction, so Clark's response that he was only answering the interviewer's question is just a very weak rationale.

    A Dem attack on McCain dealing with his military record just needed more coordination and personnel on the front lines -- as it turned out, Gen Clark found himself taking point with no backup.  

    Not a good way to win an actual literal battle let alone ones of the political variety.


    no, that wasn't his point at all. (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:58:23 AM EST
    Last time I looked, the White House was not located in a foxhole. Which I sort of think was General Clark's point.

    his point was that military experience, while certainly honorable, is not, in and of itself, a qualifier to be president.

    that was his point, period.

    Clark's point (none / 0) (#80)
    by p lukasiak on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:58:30 AM EST
    was to try and make McCain's military service irrelevant to the CinC question -- and he was dead wrong.

    Clark tried to suggest that McCain's leadership experience in the military didn't matter because when he lead a squadron, it wasn't in combat.  

    That was the context of Schieffer's question -- Clark's denigration of McCain's military service in general....


    Denigration? (none / 0) (#86)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:46:53 AM EST
    Paul you are full of crap here.

    It was a factual description.


    guy, run, don't walk, (none / 0) (#96)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:33:28 PM EST
    to the nearest ER, and have them remove the splinters from your eyes. clearly, you must be blind and unable to read.

    your comment makes no sense whatever.


    The General won his war (none / 0) (#97)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:33:53 PM EST
    You could say he was critiquing a lesser offcier.

    Are you kidding? (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Barbara D on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:57:22 AM EST
    Give me a break! Yes the White House is not in a foxhole, but have Dems become so cynical that they can't respect the military enough to admit that going through a war experience is both a patriotic and a character building act?

    Is killing people a patriotic and character (none / 0) (#104)
    by bridget on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 04:42:09 PM EST
    building act?

    Wow! What a statement!
    Militarymania has made an unfortunate comeback and really gone over the top again during the last eight years ... back to the beginning of the 20.C.

    fwiw I was reminded of one older relative who was forced to go to war btw. and he was shot down more than once but was lucky and lived to tell about it. This he did only once in my presence. Not once did he ever consider that he would make a good president. Same goes for everyone in my family who survived war.

    This whole brouhaha over Wesley Clark's comment is truly sad and very embarrassing.  


    I 100% agree bridget. (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Thanin on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:30:50 PM EST
    this subject brought back a lot of memories (none / 0) (#108)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:59:15 AM EST
    for me

    thanks for your post, Thanin, I appreciate your response :-)


    Imponderables (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by mwb on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:58:02 PM EST
    "...to wonder with whom one would rather share a foxhole."

    Good question, whom would I rather share a foxhole.

    I believe I'd have say Salma Hayek. ;-)

    I'd also prefer her as President over Senator McCain too.

    Selma Hayek and Penelope Cruz (none / 0) (#105)
    by bridget on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 04:44:54 PM EST
    It only takes "Bandidas" to convince that both would make the perfect Pres and Vice Pres team ;-)

    I think Clark's remarks were (none / 0) (#1)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:07:20 AM EST
    valid and s/b discussed. I also think that it is relevant to discuss how that experience affects one through the years. After all, we want as psychologically sound a president as we can find, don't we?

    Clark did not say or imply (4.50 / 2) (#56)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:00:14 AM EST
    mental instability on McCain's part.

    This is a detestable talking point.  Take it to Dkos or HuffPo, I'm sure they'd welcome it there.


    Don't go all Rove on us now (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:13:41 AM EST
    I do not think it effected McCain's mental stability. I know general Clark did not suggest it did.

    Of course Karl Rove, and thus by extension George W. Bush, absolutely did question whether it left McCain mentally stable.


    Clark did not talk about (none / 0) (#8)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:17:44 AM EST
    mental stability, however, I believe it will evolve into that if it continues. If it continues, look for the msm to have psychologists on to review pow status. If Obama wants to "level the playing field" here he will use Rove or the devil's tactics, speaking for me only.

    That is an awful place to go (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:22:29 AM EST
    If I'm interviewing a combat veteran for a job, should I be worrying about his psychological stability?  Is that really the way we want to encourage people to think about veterans?

    I am troubled by people who seem to have no problem with Karl Rove and his tactics other than the fact that he played for the wrong team.


    In a way, yes you should question his (none / 0) (#17)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:27:37 AM EST
    stability. How many servicemen are coming back from Iraq with identified mental problems. On a job application doesn't it ask if you are on any medications (or state that you have to take drug tests periodically). How many coming back from Iraq have we heard about who are not treated and go off the deep end because the military discourages reporting mental breakdowns. I think it "could" in some instances be relevant.

    This metal stability thing (none / 0) (#28)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:31:59 AM EST
    is surprising.  When have his faculties been called into question?  Has there been any reporting about this at al, other than his misspeaking and Lieberman correcting him?

    They're managing to keep the lid on very successfully otherwise.

    After Reagan, anyone looks good in that department.


    Ask Karl Rove (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:40:37 AM EST
    and how he did it in 2000.

    We are all a product of where we (none / 0) (#45)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:44:12 AM EST
    come from and where we've been. Someone in another thread mentioned how Obama's life experiences shaped how he is today. McCain's life, my life, your life is all shaped by our experiences. I think when you're running for POTUS, nothing, should be off the table, except for your children!!

    It came up in Peter Hart's PA focus group (none / 0) (#55)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:00:10 AM EST
    So the idea that McCain is off kilter is OUT THERE.

    I don't think... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:40:09 AM EST
    ...it has anything to do with being tortured for five years, but doesn't Senator McCain seem more than a little unbalanced to you?

     I mean, it makes little difference to me whether senators are cursing at one another left and right or having temper tantrums, but as far as decorum...leaves a little to be desired, right? It would never be acceptable in court.

     I see a definite pattern in this.  Politically it might be difficult to exploit but I wouldn't be surprised if it became something of an issue, particularly after the debates.  


    You're taking about his temper? (none / 0) (#47)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:44:24 AM EST
    I don't think that says anthing about his mental state.  It's not abnormal, even if it's not a positive personality trait.

    Look at Bush.


    It appears to be worse with McCain (none / 0) (#53)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:58:49 AM EST
    Bush's arrogance is rather obvious to those open to seeing it (remember his tantrum during the 2004 debates?), but he can at least conceal it when required.  

     I don't get that feeling from McCain.  He needs handlers in a big way.  And frankly it isn't just temper...the man was struggling to recall his position on contraceptive policy on a major network and calling for an assistant to help.

     Whatever the source of the problem, the man is far from calm, cool and collected.  Whatever you think of General Clark (me: good things), he offers a pretty stark contrast to McCain.  He's slightly younger, far more experienced, and yet coherent.  


    I wish there had been (none / 0) (#54)
    by brodie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:59:21 AM EST
    a more robust discussion of, say, the emotional immaturity of Junior, back in 2000.  Or the questionable mental state of Nixon in either 68 or 72 -- by his own aides testimony, the guy was truly unstable in the final yr or so.  Ditto for LBJ, as early as 1965, if I recall correctly the testimony of top aides Moyers and Goodwin.

    All of these presidents have in common too that they either started wars (Junior, LBJ) or unnecessarily prolonged them (Tricky).

    But with McC, probably we're looking at a guy with a not uncommon hair-trigger temper.

    Though that's not irrelevant to consider talking about in the nuclear age ...


    I believe (none / 0) (#67)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:24:40 AM EST
    that one can properly take note of McCain's temperament and lack of decorum without tying it to his treatment as a POW, which strikes me as speculation of the most odious sort.  Clearly there are plenty of hotheads out there who were never tortured as a POW.

    Very true (none / 0) (#75)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:41:01 AM EST
    But then, if one talks about his temper he also has the "torture" shield, doesn't he? And the swift boaters will line up and claim it is a dishonorable attack on him for being a former POW.

     I mean, I hate to be non-PC (actually I don't, I rather like it, but that's the disclaimer we need to provide these days), but we're not running two white male boomers against each other.  So everyone is expected to tiptoe (lucky for Dems, ageism is way more acceptable than racism...publicly, at least).  

     Whatever the source, there is something there with respect to his temper.  It boils to the surface every once in a while and for many years gave rank and file Reps. a headache.  


    Anger... (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by miriam on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 01:01:42 PM EST
    is what McCain has plenty of, and while the tendency toward a hot temper may be hard-wired at birth, some of McCain's surely comes from being confined and not in control for a length of time. (He was not tortured for five years.) It's very understandable, but is it in the job description of a chief executive?  Terrible, irrevocable mistakes can be made in the heat of anger and if you add to that the fact that McCain hardly seems the sharpest knife in the drawer, his apparently  uncontrollable temper could be catastrophic.  To me, this is the single most serious mark against his candidacy for president.

    Well (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:09:06 AM EST
    I think that the foxhole reference does have some salience in that it brings up the C in C issue somewhat.

    Well, ask yourself... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by FlaDemFem on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:24:09 AM EST
    who would you rather share a foxhole with, Obama or McCain? I would pick McCain to share a foxhole with, at least I know he wouldn't turn me over to the enemy to save himself. I don't know that about Obama. I would be reluctant to turn my back on Obama, for fear of getting stabbed in the back. He seems to have a talent for that.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:30:53 AM EST
    if you have to make that choice, by all means, choose John McCain for your time in a foxhole.

    that is not the choice you are being asked to make in November.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:38:08 AM EST
    but if the GOP can keep that kind of focus on character it certainly doesn't help Obama.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:39:58 AM EST
    they did not focus on character here. That was their big mistake imo.

    Instead of using it as an opportuity to extoll McCain's character, they played the "outrage" card.

    The Media tired of the outrage and now will not listen to the character argument.

    See, my point is McCain COULD HAVE played it as some of you think he will in the future. I think he has undermined his ability to do so.


    Yes it is the choice at bottom. (none / 0) (#83)
    by RalphB on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:08:12 AM EST
    I disagree (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:12:09 AM EST
    I think it has no salience in terms of qualifications. It is a biographical feature.

    Which was Clark's point. And to me well taken.


    I agree that it's a (none / 0) (#6)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:14:57 AM EST
    "biographical feature" however, I think it also brings another layer to McCain, while it seems layers are being subtracted from Obama. I think people in general admire the service of McCain.

    I admire the service of Duke Cunningham (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:16:04 AM EST
    I do not think he is qualified to be President.

    Again, I agree. I also think (none / 0) (#9)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:19:31 AM EST
    the discussion will be and is getting beyond Clark's original premise. Being in the military doesn't qualify, nor disqualify anyone. It's just one more part to be discussed.

    Actually (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:31:30 AM EST
    I think it has moved to the point of McCain defining him self as a weak whiner.

    Clark in a rut hole? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Yotin on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:19:58 AM EST
    and so is clark not either in a foxhole or in the WH.

    Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:29:53 AM EST
    I am pretty sure Clark is pretty comfortable where he is right now.

    McCain is using this (none / 0) (#14)
    by mg7505 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:22:38 AM EST
    to get some attention. No more, no less. The real Republican noise machine hasn't even started yet, if the antics in '00 and '04 are any indication.

    McCain should fire back that if military service isn't a qualification to be President, then community service (BO's much-touted community organizing) isn't either.

    McCain is whining for attention (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:28:23 AM EST
    is what you are saying.

    Clark's remarks were offensive (none / 0) (#16)
    by Prabhata on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:25:05 AM EST
    and unnecessary. McCain has served the country with distinction and having endured being POW gives him a special place in people's mind.  I think most Americans see it as a sign of courage and dedication to his country.  His dedication wins admiration.  People may vote for him because of their view of who the man is from his life and love for his country.

    Clark never denied (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Pegasus on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:28:33 AM EST
    that McCain served with distinction and was (and is) a war hero.

    He just denied, and rightly so, that doing those things is a special qualification for the presidency.


    How offensive? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:27:57 AM EST
    As for unnecessary, very little ever said in a campaign is necessary.

    For example, your comment has nothing that actually responds to Clark's argument. Indeed, Clark said much of what you said.

    Please tell me PRECISELY what you found offensive.


    Unfortunately, compare that to (none / 0) (#19)
    by pie on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:28:12 AM EST
    Michelle Obama's remarks about being proud of America for the first time in her adult life.  Whether you agree with her assessment or not, the republicans got another campaign ad.

    Not really. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:34:00 AM EST
    I think most Americans see it as a sign of courage and dedication to his country.

    You don't get many choices when you are a POW.  I doubt that dedication to your country is as much an issue as your own physical and mental health.  

    It's more telling what you do when you are presented with a myriad of choices than when you are presented with only a few.


    that wasn't what Clark said (none / 0) (#38)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:37:25 AM EST
    even a loathsome troll like dowd can see that now.  What's your problem!

    Clark won a goddamned war (none / 0) (#99)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:36:46 PM EST
    Mcacin want's to refight vietnam and try to win a losing war.

    The quote from Parker's article hardly does (none / 0) (#29)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:32:30 AM EST
    justice to its overall argument. The particular line you quote is sloppy writing on her part, and doesn't capture what she herself had written.

    Here's her actual argument:

    Let's concede that surviving torture doesn't necessarily endow one with presidential mettle. And, fine, being shot down doesn't qualify one to direct the executive branch.

    But Clark misses the point of McCain's story.

    McCain isn't a hero because he was tortured. He's a hero because he declined an offer by his captors to be released, refusing to leave his fellow Americans behind.

    It may not take much effort to get shot down, but it must take a considerable act of will to consign oneself to more deprivation and torture. It must take a level of courage unknown to most to place concern for others above one's own interest.

    Surely self-sacrifice, courage and loyalty figure somewhere in the calculus for selecting a president.

    That strikes me a pretty good case.

    Excuse me (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:35:47 AM EST
    I quoted her accurately. And indeed, it was what this dustup has been about.

    That you want to make a point DIFFERENT from the one the McCain camp has pushed is interesting but beside the point.

    That it strikes you as a pretty good case does not explain to me how it contradicts what General Clark said. I say Clark made his case and Kathleen Parker accepts it. Of course she wants to make a different point, having conceded Clark's point.

    Sloppy writing indeed.


    I wasn't discussing what (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:09:51 AM EST
    the McCain or his camp has been saying about Clark's remark.

    I was discussing what Parker had to say.

    And of course you quoted her accurately. But the line at the end of her column, standing by itself, hardly does justice to her overall argument. (One could take her final line to mean something to the effect that, in crisis situations, where the nation and the President are "in a foxhole together", someone with the mettle of John McCain is the sort of person one might hope to have in charge. But that is hardly the only interpretation of her line, so it is sloppy writing.)

    Look, what is Parker really saying overall?

    She is arguing that, yes, standing by itself, piloting a warplane and getting shot down does not qualify one to be President. But she rightly then makes the point that that does not mean that such a background (particularly when combined with how McCain defied his captors) does strongly imply the existence of certain traits in McCain that are highly relevant to being a Commander in Chief -- courage, strong commitments to doing what's right for one's country and countrymen, maintaining a level head in a crisis, etc.

    The problem with Clark's original dismissal of McCain's experience in the war as being a "qualification" for being President is that it was clearly intended to have the political effect of trivializing that experience as being relevant to being Commander in Chief. While he cast it in such a way that it might technically be correct, at least in a particular meaning of "qualification", any honest person can see that he was really trying to have the political effect of dismissing its relevance at all, even as exhibiting a set of traits that would be very valuable in a President.

    Parker was making the simple point that I'm making here: yes, technically what Clark said might be true, but Clark quite unfairly trivialized and marginalized an experience that has clear relevance to the optimal background of a President.

    Again, that is her true argument. The quote standing by itself utterly fails to capture that.


    Getting shot down... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:42:48 AM EST
    ...while murdering citizens of a nation that did nothing to you, and still maintaining it was a good thing to do...this is the context of McCain's war experience.  But we live in a nation of children who cannot bear to have real discussions about real things.  His refusal to leave his fellow soldiers was admirable, but the truth is he would've been executed had he been a foreign pilot bombing America.  You think McCain wouldn't support a very unpleasant death for those doing to America what he did in Veitnam?  Why shouldn't the Vietnamese have killed him?  That's an irony we cannot face, a question he would never answer, but one that would take this conversation into the realm of the serious, instead of the realm of the empty and absurd as it is now.  McCain supports massive American military colonialism all over the globe.  He is a product of the very thing bankrupting our nation.  Hell, there hasn't been an American soldier actually dying on our shores protecting us from foreign invaders since, when, a few centuries ago?  We live in a state of perpetual delusion when it comes to the military, and we allow it to continue and further erode our national intellect and moral base.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#79)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:57:14 AM EST
    In point of fact, the United States has not made a practice of executing enemy soldiers captured during war.

    No (none / 0) (#77)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:43:00 AM EST
    You were changing the subject of my post. and accusing me of distorting what Parker said.

    Should McCain have made Parker's argument? Perhaps. They did not. And I do not appreciate your attempt to hijack this thread with your own fantasy of what should have been written and said.


    I don't know how you (none / 0) (#109)
    by frankly0 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:57:11 AM EST
    get the notion that I was "changing the subject of your post".

    Reread your own post. It has everything to do with what the sentence quoted from Parker supposedly meant, and what Clark supposedly meant. Maybe in your own head you intended to say something different, but what came out in the post had nothing directly to do with what McCain's camp had to say about Clark.

    You may note that in your post no mention is made of McCain or his camp at all.

    Calling my post "hijacking" of the thread is groundless, to say the least.


    Leaving oithers behind (none / 0) (#81)
    by MichaelGale on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:01:11 AM EST
    This is all media manipulation.  Parker makes a point that is salient; McCain did not leave others behind.

    Clark is taking the heat on this and OBama is off doing his service based thing. I am not a McCain supporter but, to me, it is the language used by Obama when he scolded Clark. It bothers me.  Does this man stick up for anyone?

    So all in all Obama is fine.  No one is talking about character.  


    The issue of stability is quite valid (none / 0) (#31)
    by scribe on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:33:40 AM EST
    Particularly if one asks it another way, e.g.:

    Given the volcanic eruption of temper and vitriol when a (non-derogatory) question about qualifications is raised, do you want someone who is prone to that sort of temper tantrum with his finger on the nucelar button?

    Even if, as some might argue, it's not McCain personally erupting but rather his surrogates, one needs to remember that nuclear release is subject to the "two-man rule", i.e., the simultaneous authorization by two people (previously authorized to do this) is required for nuclear release.  McCain will be surrounding himself with personnel who will have been involved in his campaign (that's why you work on campaigns, after all) and, if (as their conduct has shown) they're prone to these sorts of eruptions, then it's as though McCain's temper will have insinuated itself through the whole of the government.  Particularly in the area of nuclear command, control, and release.

    Back in the Cold War, McCain's temper would have disqualified him from even thinking about getting this close to the nomination - too unstable, the Party Elders would have deemed him.  The world is no less dangerous today.

    And, FWIW, since McCain is not allowing his entire military record to be put out there, perhaps he's hiding something more than just some brawls in Olangapo (or wherever) barrooms.  A4 Skyhawks were designed and built to be nuclear-capable;  maybe he got himself bounced out of PRP and doesn't want us to know about it?  

    For me, McCain's Vietnam Experience (none / 0) (#49)
    by MsExPat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 09:53:01 AM EST
    is his most interesting, maybe even his defining characteristic. Because his war record is a lot more complex than Clark's remarks, or Rove's slurs or any campaign boilerplate would reduce it to. He wasn't a hero, exactly. He cracked under the pain of his injuries and his torture. He didn't follow the rulebook, and cooperated to a certain extent with his Vietnamese jailers. Even more interesting: unlike, say Bush, who tried to bury his slacker National Guard record, McCain was upfront about his weaknesses, even wrote about them in his biography.

    I've been to the Hanoi Hilton, and I saw the cell where McCain was kept. (The Vietnamese, with an eye on the tourist dollar, have put up a shrine-like display of McCain's flight suit under glass). Anyway the place, trust me, is no joke. Spending five years there would change me, and I couldn't begin to guess how.

    Do McCain's years as a POW in Vietnamese custody "qualify" him to be president? Of course not, that's as absurd a reduction of his human experience as labeling him "hero" or nutcase.

    However, it has arguably shaped his character, and character is certainly a relevant consideration for voters in a presidential contest. So while I'm not a fan of McCain's politics or policy stands, I do have to agree with the people here who think Clark was out of line. I just have different reasons for thinking so.

    Republicans are outraged by Clark. Good! :-) (none / 0) (#61)
    by goldberry on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:08:58 AM EST
    I love Wes Clark.  Call me a broken glass Clarkie,  I'd vote for that man in a heartbeat.  So, I was a amused by the vehemence of one of my Republican colleagues to Clark's statements.  They don't think it was respectful of Clark to criticize the former POW.  In fact, I happen to agree with them that taking on McCain's military service was like touching the third rail of politics.  
    But it was sooooo predictable.  Oh, it's not the first time something like this has come up.  Hugh Shelton did it a few months ago when he said that neither Hillary or McCain had the moral authority to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies.  That was a no win trap for Clinton: stick up for McCain, as she should, she would get busted by the Obama campaign.  So she left it alone, wisely.  And the media never pursued it because Obama was still the one they wanted to beat Hillary.  
    But now it's all different.  As the presumptive nominee, the media and GOP can take shots at Obama .  Do Clark gets out there and says what he says and the GOP predictably goes ballistic and the Obama campaign, which has never stood firm for anything or anybody, predictably threw an ally under the bus because it knows that criticizing a POWs military service is dangerous territory.  
    Clark must be very pleased with himself.  

    Silly why must we tear the McCain down (none / 0) (#65)
    by Salt on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:21:22 AM EST
    with this personal ugly attack, what McCain experienced from volunteering to serve during war, being shot down and held captive then coming of that nightmare alive gravely wounded are events that do not require this red herring negative discussion.  I thank him for his service, applaud him for volunteering and am personally glad he, unlike many other, made it out alive albeit with deep physical scars that he also bravely moved past not allowing those constraints to control his life.  Move on this is unbecoming of Clark and Obama find another club the man was maimed tortured during this time because he served our county during war volunteered ..I am afraid the wrong in of the Donkey is on display here.

    Clark was answering a question (none / 0) (#70)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:36:18 AM EST
    and I believe he answered it without malice. Having served in the military, getting shot down, etc. is fact, not a qualification, just another layer. If he was going to smear McCain, he could have gone further in his answer, which he did not.

    Could you qupte (none / 0) (#73)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:40:32 AM EST
    the personal ugly attack?

    There was none. Here is an ugly personal attack, "you are a liar."

    I hope I do not have to resort to that with you.


    I of course diagree, (none / 0) (#82)
    by Salt on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:03:53 AM EST
    his comments IMO from a General of his standing were dismisive, "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down" is not "a qualification to be president.", of McCain's service and sacrfice.  You did need to resort to calling me a liar because my view is different than yours, but you have.

    I said wI would have to (none / 0) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:45:50 AM EST
    just to demonstrate what an "ugly attack" actually is.

    You do know that the quotes you use were Bob Schieffer's words FIRST right?

    And assuming you DO know that, why do you choose to engage in an "ugly false attack" against General Clark?

    Stick to the facts.


    Shows to some extent how we (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 12:35:37 PM EST
    blew it by selecting Obama. Here we have a general who commmanded a theatre pointing out teh limits of McCain ability , and we can't even drive it home because we picked the lightweight resume candidate.

    We must have viewed different interviews (none / 0) (#106)
    by Salt on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 07:00:13 PM EST
    the interview I viewed had the words coming out of General Clark's mouth but ....  sticks and stones oh my.

    i agree with you... (none / 0) (#69)
    by TimNCGuy on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:32:15 AM EST
    no one from the McCain camp has ever made the claim that being "shot down" was in and of itself an event that qualifies McCain to be president.  But the riding in a plane and being shot down was the only point that Clark discussed "directly" and then only because Schieffer said it himself.  The issue becomes whether the individual observer interprets Clark's statement as being relevant ONLY to the riding and shooting down or if they expand their interpretation to the point that they feel Clark was labeling all of McCain's military service as not part of presidential qualifications.

    I believe that the riding and shooting down is NOT a qualification.  But, when you try to expand it further than that (which i think most observers did) then you are in trouble.  Because I think most voters would believe that McCain's military service is one of several presidential qualifications he has.

    Some want to refer to McCain's service as just his BIO, instead of a qualification.  But, I would challenge them to list Obama's qualifications and separate Obama's life events into the same categories of BIO versus presidential qualification.

    Bob Scheiffer did (none / 0) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:44:03 AM EST
    And that was the entire point of the brouhaha.

    Clark was asked a a question. He answered it.


    not sure you want that to be the new (none / 0) (#102)
    by TimNCGuy on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 02:43:55 PM EST

    Hillary was asked by editorial board of the paper in Pgh what she would do if Rev Wright was her preacher.  She answered and took all kinds of hell for answering a direct question.  Her answer was  right.  When you answer what YOU WOULD DO, you can't get it wrong.  But, she was accused of attacking Obama by answering that question.

    Geraldine Ferraro was asked a question and she answered honestly and all hell broke loose.  The fact that she was right and Obama was winning because he's black didn't seem to matter.  It's kind of hard to lose in a southern primary when you get 90% of the black vote and you get that because you are black.

    answering a direct question honestly hasn't proved much of a defense against criticism during this election season to date.


    I think McCain's service... (none / 0) (#71)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:37:27 AM EST
    ...  does reflect positively on his character (like that of Dole, Bush Sr, JFK, Kerry, and others), which certainly is not irrelevant. But Clark is also right that McCain did not have the sort of responsibilities that involved making strategic decisions in the way that Dwight Eisenhower did (or even the way Clark himself did), and I'd say that's an important distinction well worth making. It's just silly that people don't seem to be able to distinguish between "McCain's service was not a test of whether he'd make good command decisions" and "McCain's service was worthless and meaningless".

    Right wingers (none / 0) (#72)
    by nellre on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 10:39:09 AM EST
    Claiming Clark criticized McCain's military record. No matter how many times I hear Clark's words, nor how many times I read them, I cannot find anything critical of McCain's military creds.
    I cannot find any falsehoods. I cannot find any logical flaw.

    By bringing this up Clark brings Obama's qualifications  into question too.

    The world has gone crazy.

    The CinC does not wear a uniform (none / 0) (#87)
    by bmc on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 11:50:48 AM EST
    Last time I looked, the Commander-in-Chief does not wear a uniform. We are a country with a military run by a civilian. It's nice for those of us who support the military if we have a Cinc who has military experience, or for those of us who are Democrats to have some Senators and Reps who have military experience. It's good for the country to have elected representatives whose own sons and daughters serve in the military. It just gives a greater perspective on what it means to serve your country in the military.

    But, our CinC does not wear a uniform. At least not yet.