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No Surrender

[ 55 ] June 30, 2008 |

It’s perfectly clear that claims that Wes Clark attacked John McCain’s war record or “Swift-Boated” him are entirely bogus. Unlike the attacks on Kerry, Clark did not question the veracity of his war record; he attacked its relevance. Clark’s argument that getting shot down in a plane doesn’t constitute executive experience is simply true, and his claim that a history of sound foreign policy judgment is more important than having been a POW is at the very least fair argument (and I think also correct.)

Obviously, the key here is that Obama and other Democrats cannot surrender an inch to this ridiculous narrative. It’s entirely without merit, and backing off from the comments or undermining Clark would be to cede considerable ground to McCain. Hopefully, having already been involved in an election with a candidate claiming that dubiously relevant “experience” was more important than making good judgments,Obama will understand the need to stand his ground and not pretend that McCain being captured in Vietnam somehow makes him more qualified to be president irrespective of his substantive positions.

UPDATE: I see Obama has done the wrong thing. It’s not only unfair to Clark but just bad, bad politics. It won’t put out there fire; rather, it just plays into anti-Democratic media narratives.

Comments (55)

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  1. Dr Zen says:

    Fuck me. Not only does your guy not have any sand, but he throws anyone who does under the bus.
    “Clark said some things that are basically true, but he phrased them in a bad and stupid way that made him kind of sound like an asshole.”
    No, Clark phrased it in precisely the same way as his questioner.
    It’s time for you Obamaniacs to face facts. Your guy is no fucking messiah. Nothing different. Nothing special. Just the same old Washington corporate shill. Enough fire to con the likes of Scott and the guys here, but as soon as he secures the nomination, bang, the fire is out and it’s pandering to the right 24/7.

  2. Dr Zen says:

    kth, allow me to fix your post:
    “But the merits hardly ever matter in a presidential campaign, and Obama is allowing the other side to set the frame, just as Kerry did, in letting this one slide.”

  3. Mike says:

    So saith Dr. Zen, the world’s leading authority on winning friends and influencing people.

  4. -asx- says:

    Here’s the key take-away from the Clark episode:
    It is Wes Clark himself who is being Swift Boated.
    It just happens that the smear, this time, is that Clark is Swift Boating. But as everyone has observed, Clark did not “dishoner” or “attack” McCain’s war record. That’s a smear. The whole thing is classic Republican Swift Boating, disguised as a defense against Swift Boating.
    Republicans are a lot better at this street fighting stuff that we are.

  5. mario says:

    jacob,
    As the purveyor of the “crashing his plane” remark, which has incensed you so, allow me to retort:
    Yes, I agree, if any numbnut of a Dem spokesperson used the phrase “crashing his plane is not foreign policy experience”, they are, indeed and unqualifiably, an asshole.
    But by latching onto my dismissive phrase you missed the larger point, which is that this was an opportunity to directly confront the media narrative regarding McCain – take it head on and with full force.
    We did not, and because we didn’t, we’ve allowed the media to run shit like this:
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200807010001
    So, what is the final outcome of this particular chapter of the novel in the minds of the great “undecideds” that are going to actually be decisive in this election?
    That the mean ol’ elitist Dems belittled McCain’s heroic service. (Even though EVERY FREAKING TIME a Dem opens his mouth about McCain’s service, they open with We honor his heroic etc and so on.)
    Do you understand that unless the Dems confront this hagiography head on (and skillfully of course) we are doomed? Even if Obama WINS we’re doomed, because then we still have 4 or 8 more years of the Clinton rules in effect.
    We have two choices to change the narrative, and changing the narrative is essential to getting any kind of progressive policies enacted – one is to buy a few major media outlets (and why this is never brought up as an imperative is way beyond me.) The other is to FIGHT BACK. HARD.
    Gee look – we’re doing neither. How’s that working out?

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