Monday, July 7, 2008

No Nonsense

My favorite sources for online political commentary are not the typical 'NYTimes, WaPo, Politico' roundup, but rather the Joan Walsh (Salon), New York Magazine, Vanity Fair trio.

Of particular interest to me this week (along with Gail Sheehy's "Hillaryland at War" in Vanity Fair) was Joan Walsh's "Slamming Wesley Clark." Cutting through ALL of the media hysteria that keeps begging the question, "are you sure Wesley Clark was not denigrating McCain's war experience?" Walsh presents the situation with Wes Clark very close to how I see it. One week after the initial "incident" occurred, I can't get over the fact that Clark has gone from a respected military commander and awesome Democrat to the black sheep of the Obama campaign.

Here is 80% of Walsh's column (read the rest HERE):

I was sorry to see the Obama campaign "reject" Gen. Wesley Clark's remarks about John McCain on Face the Nation yesterday. I think the context of Clark's remarks mattered (although that's gotten lost in the right wing blogosphere's attacks on Clark). Clark was baited into his statement by host Bob Schieffer, who took issue with some earlier, milder remarks Clark had made about McCain's military service not being direct preparation for the presidency.

Here's what was said:

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 --

Clark: Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

Schieffer: Really?

I think the most fascinating part of the exchange was Schieffer's "Really?" which teed up the whole MSM outragegasm over Clark's words. Really, Bob, it's true: Riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down are not, by themselves, qualifications to be president.

Obama needs military leaders and veterans who aren't afraid to stand up and question McCain's "experience" argument, when so much of it is tied to his military experience. Earlier in the interview Clark called McCain a "hero" for the way he endured five and a half years of torture as a POW, but he was credibly taking on the argument that McCain's military experience, itself, makes him uniquely qualified to be commander in chief. I'm not sure Obama had to reject what Clark said, which was otherwise unobjectionable. I think Clark deserved better.

Good stuff.

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