Retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, has questioned whether Sen. John McCain’s military experience qualified him to be commander-in-chief.

Clark – referring to McCain’s experience, or lack thereof, in setting national security policies and understanding the risk involved in such matters – said, “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 the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility,” said Clark, a former NATO commander…

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,” Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he “ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.”

“Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.

Someone had to say it, sooner or later.

  1. MikeN says:

    Swift Boating means engaging in the nastiest of political smears? You mean campaigns were all nice and cuddly and high-minded until the Swift Boat Veterans came along?

    Shouldn’t the definition include something about people who know you from long back?

  2. Peter iNova says:

    #94: Constitutional question. We all have been forced to re-evaluate certain operational concepts based on the march of technology. When is the last time you literally “dialed” a phone? When is the last time you put ice in the “icebox?” As technology advances, the meaning of previously enumerated nouns changes character.

    It probably takes a constitutional scholar to weigh the differences between what the founding fathers knew as an “arm”, meaning firearm, and the current manifestation of that as an 18-shot semi-automatic pistol so easily operated that a child could do it. And they do.

    In the shorthand of a political campaign response I think that the Supreme Court chickened out by not defining the ancillary responsibilities that major easily-applied death machine ownership entails. They made a minor pass at it by noting that a well-organized militia enrollment was not a prerequisite to the basic self-protection that gun ownership provided, but they said zip about the responsibility and criminal consequences a gun owner might be liable for if they didn’t protect that gun with their life.

    On that basis, not the basis of sheer ownership, I have big questions of my own about the practical consequences of unbridled semi-automatic handgun distribution in high-density urban settings (another noun that would seem foreign to the founding fathers).

    A little more guidance from the Court would have been a blessing.

    #84: McCain’s suffering is terrible and regrettable, no question there. But it wasn’t a President Building Experience, per se.

    Just to be clear, what Clark said negative to McCain wasn’t well considered or even smart. Technically, neither of these candidates has Commander In Chief experience. Which is the usual case.

    What I don’t want is another Republican pushing me around with the F word; Fear. And so far, the only candidate that is leading, instead of pushing, seems to be Obama.

    #22: Dvorak’s wondering at the image that leads this story is major irony.

    “My question. Why is Clark wearing camouflage at the podium giving a speech? Is he expecting people to be shooting at him? Or is this all the clothes he has?”

    His personal Blog is so delegated that it mystified him where the image came from. As if Clark was wearing it during his irrelevant babble. He was in a business suit. John should have asked Eideard first.

    See, John, the lead image and headline DO count as part of the communication. It even got you this time!!

  3. GregAllen says:

    In 2004, the Republicans told us that Purple Hearts are a fraud and a joke.

    Are they rethinking that shameful assertion?

  4. bobbo says:

    #99–Peter==good start at a discussion that appears not to have taken place at the supreme court. Course, I admit I haven’t read the decision, just a few reviews of the decision.

    An “originalist” interpretation of what the Founders were thinking of is difficult at best to determine. I’ll give just a small example of what could be a book: At the time of our founding, what was the ability of the civil authorities to protect the average citizen? If it was basically non-existent, wouldn’t it make sense to allow the citizenry to arm itself? And what is the inherent common sense of that outcome in our modern society where the government is well able to respond to security needs the greatest threat of which is criminals with guns?

    I doubt that issue came up. I also find it interesting they interpreted the private right to bear arms without regard to the language regarding the militia. What do those words mean if the short amendment is interpreted as if those words don’t even exist?

    And lastly, if the court announces a vague right to modify the words of the amendment without reference to any other specific authority–what the fuck are they doing? Those “abilities” of civil law to modify “the right” to bear arms must be founded on safety of the public? ((ie, no criminals, insane, or kiddie bearing of arms???)). Thats the only basis that makes sense. If that makes sense, then why not a more general prohibition in areas that the local government determines gun ownership is a constant danger?

    Anyhoo, ok, gun bearing is a constitutional right. Now, anyone found with a gun comitting a crime should go to jail forever without parole. Lets get going.

  5. #90 – Tommie B

    >>You refuse to consider he’s just as bad about the
    >>things you harp on other people about. Why aren’t
    >>you calling him a flip-flopping, lying bastard?

    Well, one reason might be because he’s not just as bad about the things I harp on other people about, and he’s not a flip-flopping, lying bastard.

    Is that a good enough reason fer ya?

    So he fucked up by captitulating to the Repugs on the warrantless wiretapping/ telecom immunity thing. At least he wasn’t a sponsor, or a proponent of the emerging US Nazi state, like the Repugs are.

    None of us is perfect, Tommie B. We all have flaws. The difference between Obama and McBush is that Obama has faaaaaaaaaaaaar fewer flaws than his opponent.

    As to the rest of your comments about how everything is hopeless….hey, suck it in and deal with it. Unless you want to recruit the ghost of Abbie Hoffman and start a revolution, this is the hand we’re dealt.

  6. Peter iNova says:

    #101: I heard part of that on NPR and it seemed to be more of Totenberg’s comment on the text. The Court made a narrow decision, and that’s both their prerogative and considered operating style. They made a decision on the specific case in front of them, and who can say that’s a bad thing?

    I like your book idea. What if the Declaration of Independence were needed in 1926 instead of 1776? How would the world’s experiences have recast the Bill of Rights? How would the Constitution read?

    The operative clause focuses on the absoluteness of a person’s right to be able to defend themselves against contemporary threats. In some future society, thought-directed laser beams might constitute “Arms.”

    The notion of Use A Gun=Go Away Forever is strong, but where it gets hairy is in cases like John Horn who mowed down the two burglars on his lawn last November (today’s decision: he committed no crime).

    What if a narrow reading of his actions were deemed a crime? A razor edge could then mean the difference between Go Away Forever and Local Hero.

    I can appreciate the balance of arguments in the gun thing that have shown up on this Blog, but wow, is it off Clark topic!

    It seems to have grown out of Obama=flipflopper because he agreed with two and a half ideas: 1-DC law is a practical regulation in the interest of public safety. 2-The Supreme Court decision was a good one, well grounded in Constitutional Law. 2.5-How dare this twerp be such a flipflopper? Doesn’t he know that the entire world is divided into black and white, just like his parents?


    Where this does tie into the poorly-espoused Clark commentary is here:

    BOTH of these guys are qualified up the wazoo. Qualification is simply not the point. Further argument over who is better qualified is, from this point on, brain-dead opinionation.

  7. Ah_Yea says:

    Bobbo, about tax. This one is easy.

    I would hold our lawmakers responsible for every dime they spend. You pose the dilemma of government spending as either increase taxes or cut programs.

    I propose what common sense dictates: Cut the pork. Hold our lawmakers responsible for every dime.

    Our government already knows what to do, but doesn’t want to do it.

    These links provide excellent details into just what needs to be done, and why it hasn’t happened. They are worth the read.

    Also see:
    Gore, Al (1998). Common Sense Government: Works Better & Costs Less: National Performance Review (3rd Report). ISBN 0788139088.

    As per these reports, Increasing taxation only feeds the beast without any benefit WHATSOEVER toward any social programs. Those who say that cutting taxes will cut social programs are either ignorant or deceptive. Deceptive in that they want to have an unlimited credit card with no responsibility or accountability.

  8. MikeN says:

    Cutting pork isn’t going to cut into the deficit very much. Care to continue?

    Plus you don’t have to raise taxes or cut spending to balance the budget. Bill Clinton balanced the budget while doing neither.

  9. MikeN says:

    Mustard, I’m disappointed. Are you now saying that Obama did flipflop on wiretapping? I’ve been telling the people on this board that they misunderstood everything, based on your assurances.

    Also, how come every time the flipflopping comes up, you talk about the flag pin? I didn’t say the flag pin meant Obama was a flip-flopper. I said it meant he was a false patriot.

  10. bobbo says:

    #104–Ah Yea–I reviewed your posts and indeed I overemphasized “taxation” as your issue when you did not say that. Musta been some other thread, some other person.

    Yes, a transparent legislative process available to all on the internet could go a long way to curbing fraud, waste, and maybe evens stupidity. Thats only to be wished for because I can see Congress easily passing what we call pork today under various omnibus bills attached to war spending etc==just as it is done today.

    Congress can’t be held accountable when the info is not available, but having the info available is no guarantee either. Just look at Bush. All the info is there, yet “impeachment is off the table.” Several rounds of voting the incumbents OUT would need to take place before any change at all would take effect.

    Actually, I could see a “hero” from some state becoming the Head of Appropriations coming out with Golden Fleece Awards during every election cycle and those with too much fleece could be voted out. That could even work, maybe the President doing it as well, or a special watchdog committee funded by Bill Gates—something we don’t have today for sure.

  11. Thomas says:

    To date, I have yet to hear a politician, with the possible exception of Ron Paul, talk about eliminating the debt. I do not mean the deficit, I mean the *debt*. Where is *that* plan? I suspect that both McCain and Obama will find ways of doing something other than paying down the debt with our tax money. Thus, the reason we should resist giving any more to the Federal government.

  12. Ah_Yea says:

    Bobbo, you’re right on the money! (Yes, that was a bad pun.)

  13. bobbo says:

    Ah Yea==I think many liberals are fiscal conservatives. No reason not to tax the rich to fund the services needed by the poor. The marketplace does not provide an equal playing field in the contest between capital and labor==so its either riot in the streets where no one is safe, or redistribution where the highest earners can still be disproportionately advantaged. So==fiscal conservative in my case only meaning each generation to pay as it goes.

  14. scadragon says:

    The dirty little secret is that there are NO qualifications for being a US President. Just where or how would one gain any realistic experience for being the POTUS?
    Where or how did our first POTUS get the knowledge for this newly created position?

  15. TomB says:

    #102, As you don’t keep yourself up on current events, here are few things he’s flipped on.

    — FISA
    — 2nd amendment
    — Special interest money
    — Public financing
    — Cuba embargo
    — Illegal immigration
    — pot
    — Iran
    — Iraq

    He’s just as bad as McCain. He just has a better a press agent.

    He is part of the system, MM. Below is what the system is all about. While you worry about what McCain is saying and what he’s flipping on, the real issues are escaping you. And if either one of them gets elected, nothing will change except the signature on the dollar bill.

    “Capital must protect itself in every possible manner by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages must be foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When, through a process of law, the common people lose their homes they will become more docile and more easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of government, applied by a central power of wealth under control of leading financiers.

    This truth is well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of Capital to govern the world.

    By dividing the voters through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance. Thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves what has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.”

    USA Banker’s Magazine, August 25 1924

  16. TomB says:

    “Obama Plan Would Expand Bush Faith Program”

    Looks more and more like Bush everyday, huh? I really like the part about Obama starting a “Moral Center.” This guy is as scary as McCain.

  17. Thomas says:

    Being the governor of a large State is the best experience. It most closely matches the kind of work that will be done as President. Some of the greatest Presidents in history were former governors: Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan. The next best experience is to be commander of the Army since many of the duties you perform in that role are similar to that of the President.

    Neither being a governor nor being a commander guarantees that you will be a great President. However, it provides the best experience for the job. Typically, former Senators spend the first year or more figuring out the differences between being a Senator and being President.

  18. Patrick says:

    #105 – “Bill Clinton balanced the budget while doing neither.”

    Actually the repub congress did that. Remember when they shut down the gov’t and wouldn’t pass all the spending he wanted?

  19. MikeN says:

    That had very little to do with balancing the budget. Spending increased under Republicans, even more than under Democrats.

  20. #106 – Bobo

    >>Mustard, I’m disappointed. Are you now
    >>saying that Obama did flipflop on

    No, Bobbolina. I’m saying that he made one of the compromises that politicians make every day of their lives. And he caved.

    Hey, I don’t agree with him on this, but wtf? Nobody can please everybody all the time.

    On balance, he’s a waaaaaay better pick than McBush.

    If you’re looking for someone who pleases everybody always, get yourself some ‘shrooms and go off into a fantasyland.

    #112 – Tommie B

    Yeah yeah, blah blah blah. It’s the system, he’s the system, the system will never permit change, blah blah blah.

    You can either vote for the best candidate, or get the ghost of Abbie Hoffman to stage a revolution, or vote for your mother-in-law as a write in.

    Your choice.

    For thinking people, Obama is the man.

  21. Patrick says:

    #116 “Spending increased under Republicans, even more than under Democrats.”

    Except that under a Repub controlled House the budget was balanced. You can deny until you die but it don’t change facts. Now, the current crop of repubs in congress I don’t trust at all. That actually goes for the dems also…


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