Yesterday, Obama’s surrogate, Wesley Clark, told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that McCain’s service in the Viet Nam War was nothing too relevant to his leadership. Here’s part of their exchange (emphases mine):
SCHIEFFER: Well you, you went so far as to say that you thought John McCain was, quote, and these are your words, “untested and untried,” And I must say I, I had to read that twice, because you’re talking about somebody who was a prisoner of war. He was a squadron commander of the largest squadron in the Navy. He’s been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for lo these many years. How can you say that John McCain is un- untested and untried? General?
CLARK: Because 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-’
What is he even talking about? What an absolute fucking idiot. What part of Obama’s experience in foreign policy and wartime diplomacy does this dolt hold above McCain’s decades of real experience? Where is the evidence of Obama’s superior judgement? Clark’s “argument” is an embarrassment to stupidity itself.
Not to be outdone, another of Obama’s surrogates, former NSC member Rand Beers, told a public audience today that McCain’s experience as a POW works against him:
While Barack Obama was urging supporters not to devalue the military service of rival John McCain, an informal Obama adviser argued Monday that the former POW’s isolation during the Vietnam War has hobbled the Arizona senator’s capacity as a war-time leader.
“Sadly, Sen. McCain was not available during those times, and I say that with all due respect to him,” said informal Obama adviser Rand Beers. “I think that the notion that the members of the Senate who were in the ground forces or who were ashore in Vietnam have a very different view of Vietnam and the cost that you described than John McCain does because he was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil here or the challenges that were involved for those of us who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam war.”
“So I think,” he continued, “to some extent his national security experience in that regard is sadly limited and I think it is reflected in some of the ways that he thinks about how U.S. forces might be committed to conflicts around the world.”
McCain spent five years in captivity as a POW in North Vietnam.
It’s hard to imagine a reason why Obama would send these idiots out into the world on his behalf to question the relevance of John McCain’s service in the Viet Nam War. Is Obama somehow trying out a line of attack to suggest that McCain is somehow unfit or unsound because of his years of isolation as a prisoner of war? If so, it’s an amazingly dirty angle to take for someone who has a lot to prove to the veterans of Middle America.
Let’s wait for the backlash and the inevitable disavowals.
UPDATE: Oops! I didn’t realize that Obama has already disavowed Clark’s idiocy. Andrea Mitchell says:
Here’s a statement from Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Wes Clark’s controversial comments about McCain’s military service. “As he’s said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain’s service, and of course he rejects yesterday’s statement by General Clark.”
It will not be enough to be factually correct about Barack Obama’s incompetence to defeat him this November; it may be only just enough to damage him irreparably —day by day and by all means necessary. Smug conservative writers and strategists need to forget about the latest flip-flop and concentrate on those areas of Obamessiah’s character and judgement that are most amenable to question and doubt.
Obama reminds me a little bit of Ross Perot. Both of his campaigns were mediaphobic (except for the CNN infomercials) and stage-managed until they started to break down in a major way because of his over-weening sense of self. The nut came out and stayed. With Obama, I don’t think there is a nut; there’s only a lack of conscience and an outsized ego. And with an ego like his, the key to bringing him down is to get him to over-correct in its defense since he has no actual humility. But we’ve only got four months to go. There’s a lot to be done to ensure that the absurdity of Obama’s candidacy never succeeds on Election Day.
Word on the street is that Bill Clinton hates him some Barack Obama (emphasis mine):
It has long been known that Mr Clinton is angry at the way his own reputation was tarnished during the primary battle when several of his comments were interpreted as racist.
But his lingering fury has shocked his friends. The Democrat told the Telegraph: “He’s been angry for a while. But everyone thought he would get over it. He hasn’t. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who he’s been in contact with and he is mad as hell.
“He’s saying he’s not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.
“You can’t talk like that about Obama – he’s the nominee of your party, not some house boy you can order around.
That’s hysterical. Is it true? I don’t know. But I think that what Hillary attempted to do before she finally conceded —once the desperation had became incumbent upon her— is something that Bill can still do himself: serve the public good by attacking Obama, who is a charlatan and demagogue. In fact, I hope he winds up endorsing McCain, which would be a proxy gesture for Hillary since she obviously regards him as better qualified to be President than Obama.
And, then, Joe Lieberman will have to surrender the crown for Most Disloyal Democrat ever to the Big Dog. In the annals of partisan repudiation, what could compare? TR running against Taft? I would love to see Clinton do this. His ego almost demands it: he can still have a third term if HRC decides to run again in 2012.
A lot of people I read have been linking to Joseph A. Palermo’s ham-handedness at today’s Huffington Post because it is so monumentally stupid:
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show should be mindful whenever Obama is the target of their satire that they don’t end up regurgitating Republican talking points. The Daily Show is far more influential than it was four years ago when Bush still had millions of people duped. The producers should be careful when poking fun at Obama not to provide fuel for the right-wing slime machine. Poke fun at Obama all you want, but do it in a way that also reveals the Republicans’ mendacity and hypocrisy.
Palermo’s fear of what his party has done is so fragrant that he needs someone to follow him around to clear the stink lines emanating from his head. Threatening Jon Stewart with the disapproval of the Obamatons? Giving Stewart directions on how to criticize Obama? What a childish head-zealot. There are three things I will never understand: veganism, scat, and liberals who don’t notice liberal bias in Big Media. I mean, Jee-zus.
Oh, and I don’t want to let a single calendar month between now and November go by without my explicit request that the Democratic Party apologize to me for permitting this nonsense. What have you done to my former party? The one that Bill and Hillary Clinton invited me into before the Big Dog’s lies became too much and I went into protest voter mode until 11 September 2001. You Eleven Percenters are crap to me and I have zero respect for the Democratic Party for this effrontery. Is Obama in any way remarkable on the merits? Look at someone like Ted Kennedy. That’s a guy you can really get a hate-on for. I once had a boss who would routinely excuse himself with newspaper in one hand and his spit-cup in the other to go “take a Ted Kennedy.” Love him or hate him, the man inspires genuine reaction and occupies a large place in our lifetimes. In mine, I’ve never known an America without Ted Kennedy —and I’m pushing forty! What claim on History and Americanism can Obama make? Very little. He showed up without warrant and the idiots went to drooling. I don’t like him. I don’t trust him. And it’s hard to respect people who think he is qualified to be the most powerful man in the world in this season of his life. Maybe another season. Fine. But Obama will have to lose much if ever hopes to win again.
Ralph Nader is not mincing his words on Barack Obama in an interview he gave to the Rocky Mountain News:
“There’s only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He’s half African-American,” Nader said. “Whether that will make any difference, I don’t know. I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.”
The Obama campaign had only a brief response, calling the remarks disappointing.
Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to “talk white,” Nader said: “Of course.
“I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law,” Nader said. “Haven’t heard a thing.”
“We are obviously disappointed with these very backward-looking remarks,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said.
I doubt Nader can do much to harm McCain electorally, but he may serve to point out what a flimsy nominee Obama is. The more Nader tries to draw him out on issues that disproportionately impact black Americans, the less able Obama will be to keep moving to the center without looking like what Bob Shrum once called John Edwards: a hyperambitious phony.
I caught the last few minutes of Sean Hannity’s radio interview today with James Dobson, a well-known fundamentalist Christian preacher. Dobson has picked a fight with Obama over some passages from the Bible, and was wondering aloud to Hannity about Obama’s bona fides. I neither know nor care about the merits of the argument since I don’t believe in hyperliteralism as a philosophy, but what I do care about is whether this is the way Dobson will take to opposing Obama in November. Because, if it is, I think it’s a valuable rationalization that Dobson can make that will ultimately benefit McCain. Dobson doesn’t have to like McCain, but if he can make the kinds of theological arguments that will draw out Obama’s many weaknesses on the issue of The Church, it will help the others who think like him (i.e., dislike McCain) to vote against Obama, anyway. Surely they won’t stand idly by while someone with Obama’s potential for causing such great and lasting harm moves ever closer to the Presidency. These people need to scrounge up enough Biblical anger to paint this man as something malevolent and beyond the pale. The Christian Right needs to supernaturalize Obama in a way his acolytes haven’t even considered yet.
I don’t think Obama is a Christian in any meaningful sense. Any man who would abandon his spiritual adviser and mentor —and then the only church he ever knew— for such obviously false reasons isn’t really a Christian, but a user of his ecclesiastical community and a hypocrite. When I left my mother’s church as a young boy and professed my atheism, you may be sure that I damned well had a reason.
So why is Obama getting a pass on this? Maybe America is too secular to care. Maybe Obama’s allies in Big Media don’t want to scrutinize his religious associations. Maybe the church Obama belonged to is not amenable to race-neutral deconstructions. But, as Dobson and other unapologetically Christian Christians continue building an alternative —theological— basis for rallying the reluctant fundamentalist base to McCain’s side, I simply smile and hope for the best.
Before I call it a night, I just want to say here that I loved George Carlin and that I am sorry to hear of his death. He was an extremely thoughtful and principled guy, so far as I know, and a total riot. My Daddy and brothers and I used to love his HBO specials. Man, I’d love to see some of those again. I guess they’re already out there in one form or another. Anyhow, Carlin was a great comedian and a great American and I am glad that he shared his love of words —and his understanding of the human condition— with all of us.
Every now and then, my ice-maker will do a spot-on impression of a home invasion robber and unleash a cold flash of adrenaline throughout my body as I grab the nearest weapon at hand and leap to my feet to smash someone’s face in. Tonight, it’s the junebugs bouncing off my windows.
Jesus! Gotta get some sleep.
Glenn Greenwald, who makes online comments on his own work using false names, nevertheless recognizes —or, perhaps, naturally recognizes— how “deeply unprincipled” is Obama’s flip-flop on the FISA compromise bill (emphasis mine):
People who spent the week railing against Steny Hoyer as an evil, craven enabler of the Bush administration — or who spent the last several months identically railing against Jay Rockefeller — suddenly changed their minds completely when Barack Obama announced that he would do the same thing as they did. What had been a vicious assault on our Constitution, and corrupt complicity to conceal Bush lawbreaking, magically and instantaneously transformed into a perfectly understandable position, even a shrewd and commendable decision, that we should not only accept, but be grateful for as undertaken by Obama for our Own Good.
Hmmm. Looks like Glenn’s Kool-Aid may need a little more sugar to help it go down.
When was the last time America elected a President who was not a formal member of an organized church?
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