Don't Want to Say I Told You So...
...but I told you so.
I was pretty sure that the press would deliberately misinterpret, intentionally clip and generally get wrong Wes Clark's statements about John McCain's military service. Egged on by the conservative noise machine, they ginned up this controversy and set their outrage meters to 11. There must be a run on pearls in Washington today with all of them being clutched. Joe Klein actually went ahead and called it "bad manners." In a political campaign. Good Jeebus. Josh Marshall sums it up pretty well.
The McCain campaign's claim that there's any attack here on McCain's war record is simply a lie -- a simple attempt to fool people. This is an essential point to this entire campaign -- does McCain's military record mean that even the Democrats have to concede the point that he's more qualified to be commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, that his foreign and national security policy judgment is superior to Obama's? It's simply a fact that McCain has a record of really poor judgment on a whole list of key foreign policy and national security questions.
This is one of those moments in the campaign where the nonsense from the chief DC press sachems is so palpable and overwhelming that everyone who cares about this contest needs to jump into the breach and demand that they answer why no one can question whether McCain's war record makes him more qualified to be president and whether he has good foreign policy and national security judgment.
What I wanted to see was how the Obama campaign would handle this. McCain and the conservative outrage machine wanted to pick a fight, divide Clark from the Democratic Party, make his comments radioactive and allow his opponent to once again fold like a cheap suit. They didn't disappoint.
Sure enough, just as I was about to publish this blog post, I got an email from Obama spokesman Bill Burton: "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."
And this is why people get upset with politics. Wes Clark makes a perfectly legitimate statement and can't find a single national Democrat to back him up because they're all a bunch of scared little kittens. They got used by the combination of the conservative outrage machine and the media. It's a filthy little game and they fall for it time after time, and seemingly never learn. Even if we have a victorious Presidential election and a larger majority in Congress, we're going to be dealing with this. As long as conservatives can flip a switch and get Democrats to crumble, whatever the context, the idea that we can make any progress legislatively is laughable.
...even richer, apparently the head surrogate McCain sent out as an attack dog on this today was Bud Day, one of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Surely he's completely fit to judge anyone's military service.