Here's Clark saying something very true, in a very tone-deaf way:
For the Web-video challenged, it goes:
After saying, "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," he added that these experiences in no way qualify McCain to be president in his view:
"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 the Navy that he commanded — that wasn't a wartime squadron," Clark said.
"I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."
What's interesting here is the response, with the Mainstream Media calling it an attack on McCain's service record (which it clearly wasn't), McCain himself unleashing his "Truth Squad" lead by one of the same Swiftboaters who smeared his supposed buddy John Kerry's record, and several notable military men coming to Clark's defense.
There are two main reasons the right is going hard after Clark, and why he needs some wingmen to back him up. For one, if McCain is running on anything, it's his service and sacrifice to country. Being buddies with Joe Lieberman sure as hell ain't bipartisanship, not in 2008, and he sure can't run on his judgment. The other reason is that Wes Clark is phenomenally popular as a Democratic foreign policy and military affairs spokesperson:
No one in the entire country is more important to Democratic credibility on foreign policy than Wesley Clark. No one. And this isn't just my opinion, it is the opinion of Democratic congressional candidates who requested him...
Imagine if the top issue in the mind of the electorate was energy and global warming. Imagine if, as a result, Al Gore become the most requested surrogate in the country by Democratic congressional candidates. Then, imagine if the right-wing began attacking Gore in an unfair manner for a benign, true statement. And then, imagine if the Democratic nominee condemned Gore for that statement. Now, you tell me, would dumping Al Gore for the rest of the campaign season be strategic in that case?
Taking out the leading Democratic surrogate on national security would be a huge victory for Republicans.
To his credit, even though Obama has had to (justifiably, in my mind, to keep his campaign consistent) distance himself from Clark's comment, Clark isn't backing down. And good for him because, as noted above, McCain's judgment is lousy now, was lousy on Iraq, and was -- admittedly, by McCain himself -- lousy back then:
On my last mission in Vietnam, having survived several mishaps that could have but did not cost me my life, I wasn't as acutely aware of the danger to my own well-being that the mission entailed. Instead of interpreting my previous experiences as evidence that things can and often will go wrong when flying, particularly in dangerous and stressful conditions--an awareness that should have made me more heedful of the danger--I had developed a false sense of my own invulnerability. And that characteristic of my ego, which I felt no need to check, discounted the danger I personally faced. I placed too much faith on what was beyond my knowledge or control: luck. And my luck ran out that day. When I heard the warning tone that an enemy SAM battery had locked onto me, I was moments away from dropping my bombs on target. I thought I had enough time to do my job and still evade a missile I knew would probably be coming my way.
Click on that link above for a fully explanation of how this plays into McCain's overall recklessness, including his attempt to drop Secret Service protection. If Obama is able to stick his good judgment theme, if he's able to keep consistent on not attacking his opponent's character but rather his policies, I believe he will be our next President.
So thank you, Gen. Wes Clark, for speaking the truth.
Sorry it had to come at the cost of proving Sen. Jim Webb right.