Get Ready For The Mother Of All Hissy Fits
So Wes Clark went on Face The Nation today and "went there" - challenging John McCain's constant referrals to his wartime biography which are standing in for his doctrinaire ideological stances on foreign policy. Let's first give the snippet that you're going to be seeing crawl across the screen and on the lips of every Republican strategist tomorrow:
“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”
Now, let's add one sentence of context:
CLARK: 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. 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 this publicly? He hasn't made those calls, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.
CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.
So Schieffer kind of led him in that direction. Furthermore, Clark has been saying this for a few weeks now; Digby highlighted it on June 16.
The right is going to go after Wesley Clark tomorrow with everything they've got. The press releases from the McCain campaign have already started flying.
If Barack Obama's campaign wants to question John McCain's military service, that's their right. But let's please drop the pretense that Barack Obama stands for a new type of politics. The reality is he's proving to be a typical politician who is willing to say anything to get elected, including allowing his campaign surrogates to demean and attack John McCain's military service record.
John McCain is proud of his record of always putting the country first — from his time in the Navy, in Vietnam and through to today.
Rick Sanchez apparently termed it "Wesley Clark tried to Swiftboat John McCain today."
Just so you know what's coming. A couple points:
1) Clark is right. He's not blatantly lying about McCain's political service or even disparaging it. Earlier in the interview he called McCain a hero to "all of us in the service." He's making the simple point that military service and executive experience aren't the same thing. Because we've been saturated with this "commander-in-chief" stuff for the last 7 years, and this false notion that criticizing the President's policies equals "criticizing the troops," this dangerous blurring has occurred.
2) I seem to remember a post about the media seeing in McCain a certain honor that they recognize as lacking in themselves and that's why they constantly feel inadequate in his presence and continuously looking up to him. That's what this is going to be about. Bob Schieffer literally couldn't believe anyone would take on McCain's perceived strength, and now that Clark has done so the rest of the media herd will take it the same way.
3) I have few doubts that Clark will handle this head-on. Let's see how the rest of the Democrats handle it. Will they run for the hills screaming? Undercut Clark at the knees?
Should be an interesting Monday.