Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Gen. Clark's Sound Bites Bite Back

The partisan bickering over Wesley Clark's perceived belittling of John McCain's war service leaves a sour aftertaste all around.

Since entering national politics in 2004, Clark has been victimized by sound bites that bite back, starting with his answers to the question of whether or not he would have voted for the 2002 resolution to invade Iraq, which led to a series of nuanced explanations that were pounced on as waffling before he finally said "no" in a presidential debate.

This Sunday, the General was making a reasonable point about McCain's lack of "executive experience" in military matters when Bob Schieffer interjected that “Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences, either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.”

Politically tone-deaf as usual, Clark responded: “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

The McCain campaign, of course, responded with mock outrage and Obama had to take a step back by saying "No one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides."

Clark himself is hanging tough. Yesterday he explained:

"John McCain is running his campaign on...how his experience would benefit him and our nation as President. That experience shows courage and commitment to our country but it doesn't include executive experience wrestling with national policy or go-to-war decisions.

"And in this area his judgment has been flawed--he not only supported going into a war we didn't have to fight in Iraq, but has time and again undervalued other, non-military elements of national power that must be used effectively to protect America. But as an American and former military officer I will not back down if I believe someone doesn't have sound judgment when it comes to our nation's most critical issues."

Well, yes, but coming from someone who until recently was backing Hillary Clinton and who botched his own run for the White House four years ago and is now perhaps touting his own "executive experience" as a qualification for VP, it makes an issue, however false, out of McCain's strongest point and creates a distraction that Obama does not need.

That's not the height of "sound judgment."

1 comment:

Liza said...

This is just more distraction from the corporate media using their talking heads to pretend that they are reporting news. All kinds of stuff is coming down right now, and God forbid anyone should report any of it. We certainly can't be expected to give up this cycle we're in of statements being taken out of context, repeated thousands of times, interpreted by silly, overpaid people pretending to be journalists, mock outrage by the offended one, apology and rebuke from the other camp, and so on until sane people want to shoot their TVs.