The Gen. Clark brouhaha shines a nice light on the myth of the liberal media. Clark made what ought to have been an unremarkable point that being a prisoner of war doesn’t necessarily give one special talents in terms of managing national security policy. The collective media response seems to have been to pretend Clark said something other than what he said and to freak out over an imagined blood libel by Clark against McCain. Let’s go to the transcript to see what was actually said:
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: In the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk. It’s a matter of gauging your opponents, and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in Air- in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, ‘I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it-‘
Bob Schieffer: Well-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: ‘ -it publicly.’ He hasn’t made those calls, Bob.
Bob Schieffer: Well, well, General, maybe-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: So-
Bob Schieffer: Could I just interrupt you. If-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure.
Bob Schieffer: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.
Bob Schieffer: Really?!
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: But Barack is not, he is not running on the fact that he has made these national security pronouncements. He’s running on his other strengths. He’s running on the strengths of character, on the strengths of his communication skills, on the strengths of his judgment. And those are qualities that we seek in our national leadership.
Talking Points Memo has the montage of the collective media freak out over a caricature of Clark’s actual comments. Many are pretending that, by questioning what skill set McCain actually acquired through his experience, Clark was somehow challenging McCain’s patriotism. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, it’s bullshit, ginned up faux outrage. Maybe it makes good TV.
Obama chose not to engage a questioner on this point, instead making the audacious suggestion that maybe Americans had bigger problems that ought to be drawing the attention of the media news reading personalities.
Rev. AJB says
I’ve had people pull out sound bites from my sermons before and tell me the next day I said the sky was yellow-when in fact my point was that it was blue! But I don’t have tapes and transcripts to go back and prove my point.
Gotta love the editing!
As a politician, General Clark could have handled that better. Oh well.
Military service is an argument we should be having during a Presidential campaign.
Obviously, American voters haven’t worried about having military service as a prerequisite over the last two Presidents (yes, I hardly count President Bush as “serving”).
I don’t think it is a necessary requirement to being an effective President on the global stage. Judgement and character are probably the main ingredients, however derived.
Thanks for posting that & confirming what I had said in my “open thread” post. I wouldn’t have minded Clark being Obama’s VP but I guess now thanks to the “liberal” media he’d be too toxic.
Just another example of American voters not caring to vote for war heroes.
I think McCain’s ordeal is exactly the test of character that qualifies him for the Presidency.
I don’t think even 99% of voters know what McCain was put through. This is a very long article, but here is McCain’s 1973 interview with US News describing his ordeal.
McCain didn’t “fly an airplane”, or even “crash an airplane”. He was tested in combat on a level that few of us will ever know. That was the Clark smear that really ticked me off, that McCain’s service is somehow just akin to a puddle jumper pilot.
Keep in mind that McCain also was a hero in the Forestal disaster. He was on the flight deck when it happened. The valour shown in that incident alone was enough for any man in one life.
I think that there are few men more qualified to be Commander in Chief than McCain. Compared to Obama, there’s no question who is more qualified.
What is this “character” of which you speak? Is it the sort of character that causes one to remain faithful to one’s wife? Or the sort of character that causes one to stick to political positions even if doing so would result in losing the Republican primary?
Or is there something demonstrative of character that has no bearing on those things?
As for Clark’s “smear” – I get the sense you’re trying to be offended here.
“Ridden in a fighter plane and got shot down” was Schieffer’s phrasing and framing; not Clarks. Characterizing Clark’s decision to respond to the question asked as a “smear” is an unjustified stretch.
I always figure the media is just hyping whatever they can get to boost their viewer numbers.
Clark has a point, but it’s practically impossible to make without the sides taking their usual positions.
Exactly. Since ’92, the less military experienced candidate has won every election for CinC. I agree that military experience is a vastly overrated attribute for POTUS. There is (or at least, should be) a helluva lot more to formulating our nation’s foreign policy than “having been in a shooting war”. Jeebus. I thought that was the whole point of the civilian control of the military. Would we rather be ruled by a junta? Then the CinC would certainly be a militarily experienced person, wouldn’t that be grand?
Though I supported Kerry in 2004 (holding my nose), I thought the whole notion that he was a vet was overblown (I mean, come on, 4 months?) and besides the point. We aren’t electing the head of the Joint Chiefs, we already have military professionals that know how to run the military. The whole point is who determines the POLICY we are using the military for. (IMO)
The tendency for quite some time has been for the less militarily experienced candidate to win; Bush beating Dukakis was obviously an exception. But Reagan beating Carter was another example. I saw a chart somewhere.
Doug, did you read the UN News interview? Do it. And then I’ll answer the character question.
It’s funny that you guys see McCain pandering to conservatives, and Limbaugh sees McCain pandering to liberals. I think McCain is in the right place, politically. He seems pretty in tune with giving “the people” what they want while doing the right thing.
And you didn’t even comment on his appearance in Indy yesterday. He got a bug up Visclosky’s butt with his condemnation of earmarks.
“Keep in mind that McCain also was a hero in the Forestal disaster. He was on the flight deck when it happened. The valour shown in that incident alone was enough for any man in one life.”
I believe that this may be in dispute. Of course the records are sealed.
I’m sure Buzzcut would gladly vote for a undoubtely genuine VietNam “ace” war hero: Duke Cunningham!
The only place that the Forestal disaster is in dispute is on a crackpot Nazi website that claims that McCain caused the disaster.
Meanwhile, contemporaneous news stories show that it was caused by an electrical short in a sidewinder missle.
On the Forrestal, a rocket on the plane behind McCain’s fired into his fuel tank while he awaited takeoff from the carrier. McCain jumped out of his plane. That showed common sense. Not sure about whether an exceptional amount of valor was involved, but certainly he showed enough courage to jump into the flames to get out. Over a hundred people died on that deck fighting the fire, as bombs cooked off around them. Their valor is pretty obvious.
Opinions differ about the cause of the fire. The rocket that misfired was old, left over from the Korean War. Officially, an electrical discharge of some kind caused it. Some have blamed McCain, speculating that he did a “wet burn”, allowing fuel to be ignited and shooting a flame out of the back of his plane as a prank, igniting the rocket on the plane behind his. Apparently some pilots liked to “hot dog” in that way.
McCain had already crashed a couple of planes in training. This after graduating in the lowest 1% of his Annapolis class, yet getting a slot in flight school. Probably the accident-prone McCain had absolutely no culpability in the Forrestal fire. Probably the fact that his father and grandfather were admirals didn’t affect the investigation one bit. But if I learned anything from the swiftboaters, it is that documentation from forty years ago doesn’t mean a thing, recollections can change 180 degrees, and it would be irresponsible not to speculate.
Back in the late 80’s I went on a Navy junket with school superintendents and school counselors to the Jacksonville area. The Navy was trying to show what a good career option the Navy was. We also had several student nurses from Ball State that the Navy was trying to get to enlist so that they could get their schooling paid for. Several young lieutenant fighter pilots were with us also.
One night after having gone out for a nice dinner and drinks a group of us, which included the Commander (who was in recruiting) were walking back to our hotel rooms through the courtyard by the pool. One of the lieutenants was horsing around with one of the student nurses. He was getting increasingly physical and threatening to throw her in the water. She initially was laughing but then it was pretty obvious that she didn’t want to go into the water. The Commander told him to stop but they both went into the water anyways. The Commander told him to get out immediately and the lieutenant popped off to him. The Commander repeated himself reminding the lieut who he was talking to. We never saw the young man again. He was sent home that night.
I’m often reminded of that young man when I hear stories of McCain’s exploits as a young pilot – arrogant and impulsive. I was pretty convinced at the time that part of the young man’s attitude was due to the fact that the Commander was in recruiting and not really a “warrior.”
McCain scares me – the latest story from Thad Cochran – the incident with the POW families in front of his D.C. office – calling his wife a c*%^ in public – not someone who uses good judgment.
Reading about the Forrestal fire is pretty interesting. The ones that allege McCain had something to do with it are, as Buzzcut mentioned, are a site that thinks the “zionists” are plotting something, and Storm Front, a white supremacist site.
Some pro-border fence sites have used this angle of attack before.
So of course Free Republic folks are upset about these attacks from “the Left”.
If “the Left” is looking at this story, it looks like they (we?) are pretty late to the game.
Seeing as the missile looks like it came from across from McCain, rather than behind him, I’m thinking that either the missile might have come from the same arms manufacturer as Oswald’s magic bullet, or McCain had nothing to do with it.
The other handful of McCain plane crashes are probably on him, though. Except for the shootdown. So I guess that leaves two or three of them?
NEW and NOT IMPROVED (Obama) is a editorial written by the New York times today July 4th.It seems the Times is taking acception to senator Obama’s move to the center and reversal on some policy positions.The KOS and Huffington Post seem to be also unhappy with some of these positions as reported by CNN.I don’t read these two blogs so this is CNN’s take on that.
Personally I think Senator Obama’s so called move to the center and change on a few issues is smart politics he’s trying to win and barring something major happening he’s going to.
No need to mention McCain really accept he’s running a terrible campaign,his base doesn’t like him on some major issues like campaign finance reform,immigration,drilling ANWR etc..The conservative commentators and bloggers try to talk him up a little but there is no passion there and some bloggers and commentators as well as a good portion of there readers and listeners attack him wtih vigor.He’s toast barring a monumental colapse of the Obama campaign.
Have a nice 4ht of July everyone.