Swift Boat Derangement Syndrome

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It is impossible to overrate the rage and anguish Democrats feel at the success of the 2004 campaign 527 called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; it would be silly to even try. When Democratic voters and establishment sheikhs chose John Kerry over John Edwards, it was in large part because Kerry served in Vietnam and returned to campaign against the war. They completely discounted the bitterness that conservatives and many vets still harbored against Kerry. They were caught flatfooted when Kerry's military record became a months-long campaign liability after the group of angry vets caught the attention of the mainstream media and started getting cash infusions from big-time conservative donors. In November, Bush beat Kerry by 16 points among military veterans. Nominating a veteran got the Democrats nothing.

This is why, when today's Democrats talk about John McCain, they can sound incredulous. After all the crap they took, why is he able to ride his Vietnam record to the GOP nomination? How could he enjoin the culture wars by bragging that he missed Woodstock because he was "tied up at the time" and get so much praise he started running TV ads on that theme? Why is he able to follow it up with an ad named for his Navy ID number (624787) and featuring video of him lying in POW camp? It's not… it's not… it's not fair! Thus, Wesley Clark.

I don't think Clark's comments can stand up to scrutiny; no experience, not even being a Joint Chief of Staff or Defense Secretary, can directly prepare someone to become commander-in-chief. McCain's occasional argument that his command of a navy squadron was executive experience is sort of risible, but not as much as when he claimed it would qualify him to manage the economy. His POW years are as relevant to his qualifications as any presidential candidate's experiences. Eight years ago, weren't we hearing about how George W. Bush's 20-odd years of sowing his oats turned him into a great leader?

So I'd like to agree with this Jamie Kirchick op-ed about the Obama team's smear-iness relative to that of the McCain team, but he does two things I disagree with. First, it's not just a talk radio host and Soren Dayton who've been accused of furthering anti-Obama smears. Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston called Obama "a man who will not say the pledge of allegiance," Iowa Rep. Steve King furthered the Obama-Muslim smear when he claimed terrorists would "read a meaning into" Obama's middle name. Second, Kirchick's complaint that the Democratic attacks allage "that McCain is an unhinged, mentally unstable warmonger who would deploy soldiers capriciously because he hasn't truly experienced the horrors of ground battle." Capriciously, no: I don't think any McCain opponents outside of the fever swamps think he'll be lauching attacks at random. But would President McCain look at military solutions for a crisis more quickly than President Obama would? Is McCain's long-held policy of "rogue state roll-back" more aggressive than Obama's vaguely Clintonian-Wilsonian internationalism? Yes, and it's not unfair or untoward to say so.

Both parties have the ability to make this debate without resorting to smears and counter-smears about service and patriotism. Will they? Ha, ha.

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NEXT: On Wesley Clark and Other Irrelevancies

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  1. I hear Obama can sing a pretty good version of L’Internationale in Arabic. Mebbe he should have secoured the Ba’ath Party nomination too!

  2. “They completely discounted the bitterness that conservatives and many vets still harbored against Kerry. They were caught flatfooted when Kerry’s military record became a months-long campaign liability after the group of angry vets caught the attention of the mainstream media and started getting cash infusions from big-time conservative donors.”

    And now they are so excited about healing the nation’s racial rifts by electing the first African-American President they are ignoring that the guy they chose has incredible liabilities as a candidate in a year in which they profess (and I believe them when they say it) it is incredibly important to elect a Democrat to the White House. It’s a bad year for the GOP so maybe their candidate, liabilities and all, will somehow win. But if he does not, and McCain fills the next two SCOTUS seats with Scalias and gets us into yet another war they will have only their own myopic sense of self-righteoussness to blame for it. If McCain is sworn in I’ll get me a bumper sticker for all those silly Dem faithful that enthusiastically made such a risky choice that will read “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted Against Obama (in the Primary).”

  3. Thanks, David Weigel,
    I’ve been looking for the best place to lay this little cuckoo egg I’ve had in the memory for the past few minutes:
    This is from the new Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb.

    “He continued: “And John McCain’s my long-time friend, if that is one area that I would ask him to calm down on, it`s that, don’t be standing up and uttering your political views and implying that all the people in the military support them because they don’t, any more than when the Democrats have political issues during the Vietnam War. Let’s get the politics out of the military, take care of our military people, or have our political arguments in other areas.”

    UPDATE: Webb’s office e-mailed the Briefing Room a response to critics who have argued that Webb is criticizing McCain’s military service.

    “Senator Webb has never, and would never, demean the service of anyone who has stepped forward to serve our country. To the contrary, he was calling on those on all sides of the debate to refrain from implying that their political views are representative of the military writ large,” wrote Webb’s press secretary, Kimberly Hunter.”

  4. MNG,

    I didn’t realize you are a 60y/o upper middle class second wave feminist woman.

  5. “MNG,

    I didn’t realize you are a 60y/o upper middle class second wave feminist woman.”

    No, a (formerly) working class white guy, a group Obama didn’t do so well with but who carry a bit of clout in the electorate…But I certainly did not vote for HRC either.

  6. “no experience, not even being a Joint Chief of Staff or Defense Secretary, can directly prepare someone to become commander-in-chief.”

    I would tend to think that holding such high positions in the military would prepare somebody for commander-in-chief duties more than holding a battlefield officer’s rank. There are broader responsibilities and more organizational (big picture) duties involved. That said, no one should discount John McCain’s service. Just because it doesn’t qualify him to be president doesn’t mean it isn’t evidence of a certain fortitude necessary in a world leader. That evidence could come from a number of areas, and battlefield experience is one of them. Executive experience can also come from the military, but not exclusively.

    I will now drink heavily tonight to forget this small, insignificant really, episode of agreeing with Wesley Clark.

  7. You vote for than homosexshul ambulance chaser who cheated on his dying wife and fathered a baby out of wedlock?

  8. I would like to lodge an ineffectual protest against a common meme.

    That we are electing a ‘commander in chief’

    We are electing the goddam president of the united states, of which commander in chief of the armed forces is but one subset of his responsiblities.

  9. What qualifies one to be the head executive?

    Being in a POW camp doesn’t, unless McCain touts all the lies that he told the Vietcong while he was there. I think referring to us as “my friends” shows his ability to be the chief executive. Saying that he wants to “secure the borders” shows me that he has what it takes to be a President. Saying that he “hates war” shows me that he has what it takes to be President. Of course the main thing that qualifies you to be President is taking the oath “to protect and defend the Constitution” on election day.

  10. A couple years in the senate dont qualify you for president either.

  11. SIV/HRC
    Strike two. I like a lot of what Edwards had to say but that guy could not even carry his home state if he had to.

  12. “Eight years ago, weren’t we hearing about how George W. Bush’s 20-odd years of sowing his oats turned him into a great leader?”

    Don’t be so hard on Bush Weigel, I can detect your sarcasm. Look at his military service, he served with members of the Dallas Cowboys and at least one Senator’s son. You don’t get into such an elite division of athletes and intellects for nothing.

  13. At this point Obama looks like he can win the Electoral College 286 to 252, even with losing FL and OH.

    Who cares what the 527s can muster. It won’t be enough. McCain sux teh ass, and he isn’t fooling the GOP base.

  14. Regarding BHO and patriotism, let me put it this way. If someone in Haiti took part in an agitation organized by the CIA, most Haitians would consider that person a traitor or at least question their patriotism.

    So, my reaction to this event that Barack Obama attended shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Libertarians will, of course, disagree, but – if they were aprised of all the facts of the matter – the great majority of Americans would agree with me.

    Sorry. Maybe one day more people will agree with that whole tranzi thing.

  15. It’s actually a little refreshing that neither candidate in this race inspires the massive derangement syndrome that Bush and Kerry respectively did.

    That being said, there will still be plenty of derangement and smears. The fever swamps of both sides would see the other side’s candidate as Satan even if they were running Santa Claus.

    Santa, Satan, just reverse two letters!

  16. I don’t think Clark’s comments can stand up to scrutiny; no experience, not even being a Joint Chief of Staff or Defense Secretary, can directly prepare someone to become commander-in-chief.

    That’s not the issue at this point, Weigel.

    The issue at this point is whether or not Clark “disparaged” or “demeaned” McCain’s military service. Because that’s the way the discussion is being framed by McCain’s whiny ass titty baby campaign and by the gigantic group of whiny pussy queefs that is the GOP noise machine at this point. Along with McCain’s fellators and hagiographers at CNN.

    So by even discussing the issue in this way, you are helping to legitimize the worst faux outrage spectacle in some time.

    And Jamie Kirchik is a no-good douchebag and you shouldn’t link to him and give him hits.

  17. I think Lamar has hit upon something that struck me when reading this piece. Claiming that no experience can directly prepare one to be President seems to be overselling it (unless the term ‘directly’ is doing some work that it normally doesn’t). Certainly having some experience managing a team of professionals better prepares one to be President than not having such experience. Having some background in constitutional law better prepares one to be President than a lack of such a background.

    The way that this bit was written would make it appear that Weigel thinks that nothing that a person has done prior to the election can prepare him to be president, and this seems to be a stretch. Perhaps he meant that no one can be entirely prepared for the office of President, and this is a bit better, but it certainly doesn’t constitute a refutation of anything that Clark said.

    On preview: “whiny pussy queefs” = lulz.

  18. What party chooses a self-admitted war criminal then complains about it? A party full of delusional retards.

    Obama may be a Socialist, crooked Chicago Machine politician who will do anything and say anything to win (including mocking his own grandmother), but he is no John Kerry. Obama has yet to testify in front of Congress that he committed war crimes. How is John Kerry a United States Senator? Because the other Senator from Masshole-Land actually killed an American. Kerry the war criminal looks tame in comparison.

  19. A couple years in the senate dont qualify you for president either.

    True, but then again, Obama never said it did.

    We are electing the goddam president of the united states, of which commander in chief of the armed forces is but one subset of his responsiblities.

    Full of win, sir.

  20. You know, for someone who endured over 5 years of grueling torture, McCain sure is a whiny little bitch. Waaah! They suggested I was old! Waaah! They said being a POW isn’t actually a special qualification for being president! Waaah! Ron Paul supporters chased me around waving signs! Waaah!

  21. I second JB’s point. Hear! Hear!

  22. This is shaping up to be the weirdest presdential election I have seen in my lifetime. One party chooses an inexperienced mediocrity who is more hype and style than substance as its candidate. The other chooses a man who has made a living betraying his party’s voting base. With the way the GOP admistration and congressmen have let the government get out of control these past eight years there is no way McCain should have a snowball’s chance this election. But going against a stupidly doctrinaire leftist (see Obama’s original position on capital gains taxes) I can see a McCain win before the Voters would put the republic in the hands of a naif like Obama.

  23. Ya know what’s really risible? Using the word risible when the much more normal and accessible laughable would have done just fine. Violation of George Orwell’s fifth rule.

  24. Orwell’s Fifth Rule: Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

    ‘Risible’ is not a foreign word (in the way the term is usually understood; most English words have foreign origins, but this is not what Orwell meant), nor is it a scientific word, and it certainly doesn’t occur in the normal argot or lexicon of any profession I can think of.

    It’s closer to a 2nd rule violation, though ‘risible’ is not longer than ‘laughable’ it is in less common usage, and so goes towards the accessibility and clarity of the text, which of course *was* Orwell’s point.

  25. Weigel needs to stay away from Kirchick-that guy is going to embarass Reason so bad they are going to wish they had cozied up to Milli Vanilli instead.

  26. MJ: Disagree. Obama’s going to win and it won’t be close. This election is shaping up like a rerun of the 1920 election with parties reversed, although Obama and McCain are better than Harding and Cox.

  27. Regarding BHO and patriotism, let me put it this way. If someone in Haiti took part in an agitation organized by the CIA, most Haitians would consider that person a traitor or at least question their patriotism.

    So, my reaction to this event that Barack Obama attended shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Libertarians will, of course, disagree, but – if they were aprised of all the facts of the matter – the great majority of Americans would agree with me.

    Sorry. Maybe one day more people will agree with that whole tranzi thing.

    Dude, you’re reading way too much into his attendence of the immigration reform demonstrations.

    Perhaps its true that some of the demonstrators were there at the request of the Mexican government. But there were many individuals and organizations at those demonstrations. They agreed on supporting a more open immigration policy (or at least on opposing a more restrictive one). But they probably did not have much besides that to unite them ideologically.

    Your link makes it sound like these demonstrations were some kind of front for Mexican imperialism. Most of the people attending were probably US citizens who wanted to express their opinion on this issue. Also, I not sure what you mean by comparing this to a CIA orchestrated “agitation”. These were peaceful protests, not riots or coup attempts.

  28. “This election is shaping up like a rerun of the 1920 election with parties reversed”

    Boy was that a pain in the ass election to have to lived through.

    Anyway, if the Democrats think they’re going to be able to diminish McCain’s stature insofar as his military record is concerned, good luck. They should just stick to pie in the sky, which is all they really know about anyway.

  29. BG,

    You’re new around here, and you’ve made a tyros mistake: clicking on a lone-wackjob link and taking what is written there seriously.

    The lone-wackjob is obsessed by the idea that brown people are invading his neighborhood with nefarious intentions. What he thinks those intentions are aren’t clear; it could be that they’ll say mean things about him in a language he does not understand; perhaps their dusky women will tempt him into sin; maybe they’ll eat fragrant spicy foods in his presence.

    If you talk to one of these brown people, you are a probably a traitor in the lone-wackjob’s mind. Speak spanish? very suspicious. Support a policy of allowing people to go wherever they want – so long they don’t tresspass on private property of course? high treason.

    For example, I am sure lone-wackjob is very upset with America haters like the guy who wrote this complaint about the English King back when the U.S. were colonies:

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    Now, the lone wackjob has a problem. Clearly, few people share his concerns. The thought that his concerns are batshit insane does not cross his mind. So he concludes that they must either be blind – or profiting off of their treason.

    Being blind is not dishonourable – the lonewackjob posts links – you click on them and learn and the next thing is you aren’t blind anymore. If you click and are unconvinced – on the other hand – you are clearly a MexicanGovernmentAgent with EvilPlans or a FifthColumnist seeking to weaken America.

    Arguing with the lonewackjob is about as futile as attempting to nail jello to the wall. So most old-timers either ignore him, or mock him mercilessly. We’ve clicked and learned what monomania really looks like.

  30. don’t be standing up and uttering your political views and implying that all the people in the military support them because they don’t,

    That is true as far as it goes. Only about 80% of the military is favorable to McCain’s views on war and peace.

  31. Bush flew jets.

    They (the Air Force) don’t let stupid people fly jets. No matter how well connected.

    As to Bush’s actual stupidity. It looks like (through luck or policy) he has turned Iraq around. McCain claims it was policy. Once he got the right one.

    He keeps getting a Dem Congress to pass the war funding bills he wants.

  32. “Bush flew jets.

    They (the Air Force) don’t let stupid people fly jets. No matter how well connected.”

    Bush wasn’t in the Air Force.

  33. Only about 80% of the military is favorable to McCain’s views on war and peace.

    Ah, that must explain why the two biggest recipients of military donations this cycle were Barack Obama and Ron Paul. Because of how large the pro-neoconservative majority is among the uniformed military.

  34. The McCain campaign’s response to Clark’s point about the relevance of military heroics to presidential qualifications demonstrates how little substance there is to their “war hero” shtick.

    If they actually had a plausible argument about why McCain’s experience in Vietnam would make him a good president, we’d have heard it by now. We’d have heard some rebuttal about why Wesley Clark’s assessment was incorrect.

    So…heard anything? Cuz all I’ve heard is a lot of ZOMG!!!1! how can you say that?

  35. //I don’t think Clark’s comments can stand up to scrutiny; no experience, not even being a Joint Chief of Staff or Defense Secretary, can directly prepare someone to become commander-in-chief.

    That is pure sophistry – and proves Clark’s point! Being a POW does NOT qualify one to be preznit – yet that is what **McCain** is claiming – HE’s the one campaigning on his war experience, not Obama.

  36. REMEMBER when JOHn KERRY campaigend on his experience as GIN JUICE CAAN to be President?

  37. I can only guess that the above comment is an anagram, and if you rearrange the letters, there is a comprehensible point.

  38. I think the point the Democratic party is missing here is that the public has already spoken on McCain and the issue of character/military service: the public doesn’t want to hear it. Most people consider the man to be a war hero, or at the very least an honorable man who suffered greatly for his nation. The public does not want people impunging the man’s character.

    The problem the Democrat’s have is that McCain’s policies, the Middle East excepted, are pretty middle of the road.

    Also, they have abit of a psychological problem in that they traditionally contend that people who disagree with them are “bad”. Not wrong. Not ignorant, but “bad”.

    If they keep this up they may just end up losing the election despite all of the negatives the Republicans bring forth at this time.

    Fact is, Obama is in the lead. If they can just stick with hammering McCain on the issues they should win the election handily. But then again, these are the same folks who screwed up not one but two elections against the current president.

  39. Regarding BHO and patriotism

    Every time some moron (like the wacko) uses “BHO” they make me think of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, rather than making me think of Barack OMG!HUSSEIN!! Obama. This pisses me off, as I do not enjoy thinking of shitty Canadian versions of ELP.

  40. “That is pure sophistry – and proves Clark’s point! Being a POW does NOT qualify one to be preznit – yet that is what **McCain** is claiming – HE’s the one campaigning on his war experience, not Obama.”

    Please point to where McCain is campaigning on his war experience and his war experience only. It’s one facet of his campaign. It’s like saying Obama is campaigning on his “community advisor” experience. And McCain isn’t whining, it’s called election year politics. Yeah, I’m sure at night while he lies in bed McCain is crying over Clarke’s statements, please. Hey I can play this game, Obama is whining over pretending to be called non-patriotic, or Obama is whining over people asking him questions about his associations, whaaa whaaa whaaa. Damn that was easy, i feel tough now.

  41. I think the point the Democratic party is missing here is that the public has already spoken on McCain and the issue of character/military service: the public doesn’t want to hear it. Most people consider the man to be a war hero, or at the very least an honorable man who suffered greatly for his nation. The public does not want people impunging the man’s character.

    That would be relevant to this discussion if Clark impugned McCain’s character.

    Since he didn’t do that, you’re just being a douchebag.

    I personally impugn McCain’s character all the time. I do so by saying things like his support for campaign finance reform makes it clear that he hates the Constitution, that his lifetime of rhetoric expressing his hatred of private economic activity makes it clear that he’s a Peronist, that his interventions into the legal process surrounding both the Keating Five scandal and his wife’s drug crimes make it clear that he’s corrupt, that his betrayal of his first wife makes it clear that he’s a liar, a user and an opportunist, that his definition of America’s “honor” in Iraq makes it clear that he got his definition of honor from guys dressed up as Klingons at a Star Trek convention, and that his shepherding of a “compromise” Military Commissions Act bill through the Senate shows that he endorses torture and torturers regardless of what his personal experiences may have been.

    See that? Those statements impugn McCain’s character, and rightly so. Saying that being a pilot or a POW does not by itself qualify you to be President impugns nothing. And the people out there desperate to claim that Clark in some way impugned McCain’s character or military service are deliberately lying in order to try to gin up sympathy for McCain. That means you’re either one of the deliberate liars, or a chump who has been fooled by them. Which is it?

  42. Faux Outrage is this year’s little black dress.

  43. Jon wrote: “Bush wasn’t in the Air Force.”

    He was in the Texas Air National Guard, which is part of the Air Force Reserves. Bush was commissioned as a reserve Air Force officer.

  44. This is why, when today’s Democrats talk about John McCain, they can sound incredulous. After all the crap they took, why is he able to ride his Vietnam record to the GOP nomination?

    Maybe because McCain isn’t lying about it?

  45. “Risible” adds more of a connotation of “ridiculous” as opposed to “laughable”, which has a “pathetic” connotation.

  46. Clark is a buffoon, I say give him a microphone 24/7.

    Every point he made about how McCain’s military experience doesn’t qualify him to be CinC reflects twice as badly on B Hussein Obama.

    BHO’s resume is paltry. I am as qualified (maybe more qualified since I’m not a Marxist!) to be President as BHO.

    “Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience, and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002”

  47. MJ and Tom get it. Democrats are STUPID, and, they may have already blown it again. Nominate a white guy or non-Hillary women and it’s a slamdunk. But some handsome empty suit comes along that can add pauses to his sentences, and the idiots go gaga. BTW, I contend that the Clintons are behind the Obama puppet. An unscrutinizable front for another four years of pilferage.

  48. “He was in the Texas Air National Guard, which is part of the Air Force Reserves. Bush was commissioned as a reserve Air Force officer.”

    I concede the point; my mistake.

  49. They (the Air Force) don’t let stupid people fly jets. No matter how well connected.

    I don’t know how much stricter the ANG is than the Navy, but McCain graduated 894 out of 899 in his class. That doesn’t exactly strike me as needing to be super smart to be a combat pilot.

  50. James Ard, that was awesome, and I mean awesome in the original sense – filling me with a feeling of awe – and not in the 80s skater sense.

    Month upon month of the Clinton Conspiracy Theory focusing on how Slick Willie and the Hildebeast were going to destroy Barack Obama (they own the Democratic Party, doncha know) wiped out by his nomination. Months of theorizing about their crafty scheme to undermine him so he’ll lose the election undone by a few days worth of unity stories, and do you give up? Do you ask, could I be wrong about there being a fiendishly clever conspiracy, with the Clintons at the center, determining how political events unfold?

    Hell no! Full steam ahead! The Clintons are pulling Barack Obama’s strings, and as part of their ploy to seize aboslute power, they had him run for the Democratic nomination and…uh…well…defeat her. While costing them millions of their own money.

    Um.

    Hmm.

  51. And McCain isn’t whining, it’s called election year politics.

  52. And McCain isn’t whining, it’s called election year politics.

    Guess what – if you pretend to be a whiner, or affect the posture of a whiner, in order to gain some political advantage – I am absolutely entitled to call you a whiner. I am under no obligation whatsoever to see through your charade and give you the benefit of the doubt. Pretend to be a whiner? Then you’re a fucking whiner, baby, now and forever.

  53. The millions the Clintons spent is chicken feed to what they’ll be able to steal with Obama at the “top”. Who got Obama the 2004 keynote gig? Where would the Clintons look for a trustworthy plant but the Chicago political machine. Anyway, Hillary knew she could never win with half of us hating her guts.

  54. And James Ard reveals himself as a whackadoodle.

  55. It’s like the Kennedy conspiracy people.

    There is no event, no evidence, that can refute the theory.

    The only question is, how does this latest event demonstrate that the theory is correct?

  56. That Kirchick dude has real balls.

    It’s one thing to go after Paul — all he risked was a lot of hate mail and threats from loonies.

    But a broadside against a man and a campaign that his entire readership consider a living deity takes guts.

  57. Didn’t Bill hire Dailey as a fixer in his troubled times? Knowing Hillary’s ambitions why didn’t the Chicago machine kneecap the potential rival?

  58. “If someone in Haiti took part in an agitation organized by the CIA, most Haitians would consider that person a traitor or at least question their patriotism.”

    LOL! John McCain is going to Colombia to push for free trade. That means all those Colombians are traitors and spies. By contrast, rebel FARC forces are NOT meeting with McCain….so they’re the true patriots.

    McCain will not be meeting with Hugo Chavez, so Chavez is a big time patriot and hero. Ditto with R. Castro. Maybe you should start a website with all the people McCain meets with, so that Latin Americans can know who the treasonous, anti-patriotic, commie loving traitors are.

  59. Colin:

    Guts? It is all ideological. Kirchuck was a pro-war Rudy supporter. Hence, his obsession with destroying the only antiwar candidate in the GOP field When Rudy lost he naturally turned to the only pro-war candidate standing. In fact, given this record it would have been extremely out of character for Kirchuck not to have rallied to the Mad Bomber.

  60. If this was a Judo match, Lamar would be awarded a point.

  61. Colin:

    It also noteworthy that Kirchuck doesn’t seem to care in the least about McCain’s “kook” racial slurs. McCain has still not fully apologized for these which were far more recent than moldy newsletters. Again, it is pro-war ideology that is driving him. Weigel, who apparently has no doubt of Kirchuck’s objectivity, also ignores this point.

  62. Colin:

    Oops that McCain’s “gook” racial slur.

  63. Judges: We would have also accepted “kook” McCain’s racial slur.

  64. Kerry made his service the centerpiece of his campaign in a way McCain hasn’t. Besides “reporting for duty!” he said “when I was in Vietnam” so often it became a parody. He also had, unfortunately for him, claimed things that were chronologically impossible were “seared, seared” into his memory, and worse yet accused U.S. soldiers of behaving like Ghenghis Khan, which probably flew nicely in 1971 but was heresy in 2004 when the military was held nearly sacrosanct by the public.

    This is where the MSM’s sympathetic coverage works against Dems: things the MSM doesn’t care about don’t come out until the harsh glare of a Presidential campaign. The Swift Vets first few press conferences were utterly ignored. Then suddenly they had a bestselling book and hundreds of vets and couldn’t be dismissed anymore. After that, all they had to do was point out what Kerry said and the election was lost.

  65. Fluffy, were I you I don’t think I’d try to start a meme about who’s the biggest whiner in the race. Obama whines about everything, and plays the race card.

    And, Mo, I sure as heck hope you’re not one of those GPA-pounders. The relationship between grades (which determines your class rank) and intelligence is much less than robust. In fact, I’d go so far as to say what relationship is relatively pointless when predicting intelligence to use grades (or even better surrogates like SAT scores).

    I once did some research on GRE scores (graduate record entrance tests) and graduating with a PhD. It turned there was no relationship between GRE (IQ surrogate) and either grades in grad school nor likelihood of achieving the PhD. For what it’s worth, there was a small positive correlation between the last 4 numbers in your SS number and the likelihood of getting the degree, so if you are seeking a PhD, I suggest you try to get your last four SS numbers at 7xxx or higher.

  66. Kerry made his service the centerpiece of his campaign in a way McCain hasn’t.

    That must be why his very first ad of the campaign is titled “”624787,” his military serial number, and features footage of him in uniform and in captivity.

    John McCain is not running on his military service. John McCain has always been non running on his military service. Tear down the banners those saboteurs put up.

  67. The only thing John McCain talks about more than his military service is how he isn’t going to talk about his military service.

    So it’s not suprising to see that line find its way into the H&R threads.

  68. Obama whines about everything, and plays the race card.

    He did? When was this?

  69. Jorg,

    I’m not a GPA pounder at all. My undergrad GPA has no relationship to my relative high school and grad school grades (adjusting for the grad school C is an undergrad D/F). It had to do with the fact that I was too busy getting drunk and chasing tail.

    I do find it funny that people will say, grades don’t mean anything about intelligence when defending people they’re ideologically aligned with, but then use the correlation of GRE/SAT/AFQT when defending The Bell Curve.

    It turned there was no relationship between GRE (IQ surrogate) and either grades in grad school nor likelihood of achieving the PhD.

    From what I’ve heard from my friends with PhDs is that getting a PhD has nothing to do with intelligence, but your willingness to take abuse combined with your resilience to poverty.

  70. GIN JUICE CAAN

    Khaaaaaaannnnnnnn!!!!!

  71. From what I’ve heard from my friends with PhDs is that getting a PhD has nothing to do with intelligence, but your willingness to take abuse combined with your resilience to poverty.

    “Nothing to do with intelligence” might be pushing it, but the masochism/pain tolerance is certainly an important element in the profile.

    The intelligence requirement, of course, differs between disciplines.

  72. NM,

    Well, I didn’t mean nothing to do with intelligence. However, once you’re in the program, the vast majority of the intelligence filtering has been done.

  73. “The only thing John McCain talks about more than his military service is how he isn’t going to talk about his military service.”

    John McCain would like us all to know that he would prefer not to talk about his military service in which he bravely served our country, stood tall in the face of insurmountable pressures, giving his freedom and facing his own mortality for the greater good of the American ideal against the enemies of liberty and justice for all. Amen.

  74. A discourse analysis of Clark’s statement would start with the fact that he simply repeated the question asked of him and turned it into a statement about qualifications.

  75. the vast majority of the intelligence filtering has been done.

    And the intelligence consumption begins…sucking you dry until you are pretty sure you never had any intelligence to start with…I mean if you were intelligent, would you put up with the abuse and the poverty just so you can get a job putting up with abuse and poverty?

  76. The difference between Swift Boats charges and Wesley Clark’s comments is the Swifties revealed Kerry’s obfuscations, where Clark tried to smear the truth.

  77. “The difference between Swift Boats charges and Wesley Clark’s comments is the Swifties revealed Kerry’s obfuscations, where Clark tried to smear the truth.”

    Um, what exactly does “smear the truth” mean? Is it anything like what happens when a person talks, and the things said are, you know, true?

  78. Somehow I think putting a campaign together relying exclusively on the unverifiable, hazy recollections of the grumpiest and most biased old farts on Earth is a little different than pointing out the obvious fact that being president is different than crashing an airplane.

  79. It had to do with the fact that I was too busy getting drunk and chasing tail.

    I do find it funny that people will say, grades don’t mean anything about intelligence when defending people they’re ideologically aligned with, but then use the correlation of GRE/SAT/AFQT when defending The Bell Curve.

    I think the season they use the standardized tests is because [at least in my experience] really smart people who were very studious and got great grades get the same marks on those tests as really smart people who spent their time getting drunk and chasing tail.

    Grades represent an indication of your habits of living; standardized tests can get around that and go straight to your capacities.

  80. Fluffy, were I you I don’t think I’d try to start a meme about who’s the biggest whiner in the race. Obama whines about everything, and plays the race card.

    Obama may be a whiner too. But I’m voting for Barr, baby doll.

    I just see McCain for what he really is. Unlike a lot of people who will overlook anything out of loyalty to the crappy GOP.

  81. See, I thought the difference between the Swift Boat vets and Clark was that the former slimed Kerry’s military record – accusing him of faking injuries, of lying to his superiors, of not performing the acts the Navy attributes to him, of wounding himself to avoid duty, of not looking out for his guys, of not deserving his medals, etc. – while Clark agreed with and spoke respectfully about everything McCain did in the war.

    Vis: your mother didn’t really win the Pillsbury Bakeoff. She stole somebody else’s cake, and falsified the results.

    vs.

    Winning the Pillsbury Bakeoff doesn’t mean your mother knows how to refinish a hardwood floor.

  82. Somehow I think putting a campaign together relying exclusively on the unverifiable, hazy recollections of the grumpiest and most biased old farts on Earth is a little different than pointing out the obvious fact that being president is different than crashing an airplane.

    Are you people insane? Maybe it is just joe and Lamar who are and this doesn’t extend beyond Reason’s blog….but if it does then i really wished i liked McCain cuz this cross talk is going to put him right into the Oval office.

    No one said crashing a plane gives executive experience….and experience is not a very good topic if your candidate is Obama…and finally by bringing up his POW experience in any negative way is a good way to get everyone in this country to hate you.

  83. This is why, when today’s Democrats talk about John McCain, they can sound incredulous. After all the crap they took, why is he able to ride his Vietnam record to the GOP nomination?

    Are Democrats really that stupid? If Kerry has merely opposed the Vietnam war, it would not have been a strike against him. Nearly everyone agrees that Vietnam was a huge horrible mistake. Instead he joined the Peace Movement?, and that is one part of the baggage he carried in the election. Anti-war protestors do not protest war, they protest Israel and capitalism. But even that wasn’t enough to sink his presidential aspirations. It was his douchbaggery. Getting rid of his medals, slandering soldiers, lies about atrocities, etc., are what lost him the election.

  84. No one said crashing a plane gives executive experience….

    Um, maybe you didn’t notice, but the interviewer asked if it did.

    If someone asks if it does, is the answer yes or no?

    finally by bringing up his POW experience in any negative way is a good way to get everyone in this country to hate you.

    Hey, great. But Clark didn’t do that.

    Clark said absolutely nothing negative about McCain’s POW experience. Period. There’s really no room for discussion, unless you’re a lying cunt.

  85. McCain is an unhinged, mentally unstable warmonger who would deploy soldiers capriciously because he hasn’t truly experienced the horrors of ground battle.”

    Wait, who actually disagrees with this? I thought that was what conservatives, and certainly Kirchick, liked about McCain. And since when do conservatives view being a POW as a badge of honor? That’s such a liberal touchy feely pansy view to take. In Israel former POWS are viewed with contempt and suspicion.

  86. No one said crashing a plane gives executive experience

    Thank you, joshua, for admitting that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and haven’t bothered to educated yourself about even the most obvious, easily-researched facts surrounding the issue before opining about it.

    While all the regulars know about this habit of yours and treat your comments accordingly, it’s nice of you to tip off any N00bs that might happen along.

  87. “No one said crashing a plane gives executive experience….and experience is not a very good topic if your candidate is Obama…and finally by bringing up his POW experience in any negative way is a good way to get everyone in this country to hate you.”

    First, my candidate is not Obama.

    Second, mentioning that McCain’s service is irrelevant to his bid for the White House is not positive or negative treatment of his service. Die hard Republicans, however, will attempt to characterize it that way to avoid any real scrutiny (or the obvious truth) of the claim.

    Third, John McCain has trumpeted his war record, and now must live with it when we all collectively don’t care.

    Fourth, I clearly said (@ 8:19pm) that McCain’s service record is admirable and counts for something.

  88. I spit on every member of the Swift-Boats, and those who bought into their slanders against John Kerry.

  89. I suppose everyone forgets what Rove did to McCain in 2000.

  90. I love the insinuation in this article that the comments by Clark were orchestrated by the Obama campaign. But this is the response we typically see in this election. Any comment by a surrogate for a candidate is automatically taken as speaking for the voice of the candidate him/herself.

    Of course in this case, if this was orchestrated they would have had to have gotten Bob Schiffer to first bring up the implication that being shot down DID make you qualified to be president, since that’s what Clark was referring to.

    Nevermind the fact that Obama has gone out of his way time and time again to talk about how McCain was a war hero, and it is not in their political interest AT ALL for this controversy to continue, especially since it’s drowning out major speeches Obama is giving.

  91. REMEMBER when JOHn KERRY campaigend on his experience as GIN JUICE CAAN to be President?

    WOW! Do I EVER?!?!

  92. No one has answered the crux of Gen Clark’s question: How does years spent as POW(30 years ago) qualify one to be president?
    Instaed of addressing the question, the MSM took umbrage for Mccain because it flies in the face of their 25-year adoration of McCain.

  93. I think the season they use the standardized tests is because [at least in my experience] really smart people who were very studious and got great grades get the same marks on those tests as really smart people who spent their time getting drunk and chasing tail.

    Not true. I know some really smart people that are bad test takers. Give them a real world task or have them apply knowledge and they kick ass. They’re just not wired for tests. I also know really good test takers that are completely worthless outside of a standarized testing situation. There is some correlation, but standarized tests are just good at identifying people that are good at taking standarized tests.

    Grades represent an indication of your habits of living; standardized tests can get around that and go straight to your capacities.

    If that was true, Kaplan and Princeton Review would go out of business. If learning how to take the test can raise your score 200+ points (to the extent where companies can guarantee performance), it says there are some pretty intrisic flaws in the methodology as a pure measure of g. It also says that there will be significant flaws comparing between SES.

  94. It sure smells funny here….kind of like male bovine excrement. Is this one of those right wing sites?

  95. < Snark>

    Heck, if being a C minus student, alcoholic, cocaine addicted uber wealthy fratboy cheerleader qualify’s one to be the president, then being a lifetime military brat on the government’s (and wealthy booze heiresses) dole his entire life, an obviously bad pilot (hello…he was shot down after all) and a POW captive should surely qualify the man to lead us lemmings over the clif the cheerleading coke head in chief has steadily been steering us towards.

    Why have honest discussions when casting aspersions is so easy?

    Thinking? That’s for the “elite” educated types.

    Me, I want a flip flopping, doddering, senile old POW who has absolutely no idea what a computer is or can do to lead my nephew into our glorious NEW war with Iran.

  96. When the McCain campaign came out and blasted Webb for saying what he said on Olberman i heard all i needed to know regarding this spat. They aren’t interested in a rational debate. They want to get points by playing the military victim.

    It now makes all complaints about Clark’s uneven comments silly.

  97. Obama could have served in combat in Grenada or Lebanon. Instead he smoked weed and went to college(affirmative action no doubt). Fuckin’hippie

  98. Yeah, well, John Wayne was a fag.

  99. REMEMBER when JOHn WAYNE played TEMUJIN? That was GAY!

  100. “Obama could have served in combat in Grenada or Lebanon.”

    Grenada, maybe. But Lebanon was where that old cut and runner president just cut and ran like a little girl cutting and running. This is why we can’t have weak presidents cutting and running all the time. What was that ol’ cut and runner’s name?

    And, kudos joe, funniest response I’ve seen all day…

  101. Prominent Hillary Clinton supporters allege that Obama is a fag.

  102. I don’t think Clark was impugning McCain’s service, and what he said was certainly true as far as it goes. But what I think everyone is missing here is that Wes Clark’s statements ultimately weren’t about John McCain or Barack Obama. They were about Wes Clark. All the things he says that McCain has never done are things that Wes Clark HAS done. He made the same argument in ’04 when he was running against Kerry.

    Clark is obviously bothered by junior officers with less-distinguished military careers leapfrogging over him to run for president. THAT’s the reason Obama should tell him to shut up, not because he made a comment that got the GOP Manufactured Outrage Machine humming.

  103. I said:

    A discourse analysis of Clark’s statement would start with the fact that he simply repeated the question asked of him and turned it into a statement about qualifications.

    Later, Fluffy said

    No one said crashing a plane gives executive experience….

    Um, maybe you didn’t notice, but the interviewer asked if it did.

    If someone asks if it does, is the answer yes or no?

    Clearly, Fluffy is the better communicator.

  104. Buddy wrote, “No one has answered the crux of Gen Clark’s question: How does years spent as POW(30 years ago) qualify one to be president?”

    Not a qualification, but a reason. We know McCain had to be treated barbarically and tortured before he signed his “confession”. (Kerry was under no such compulsion when he collaborated with North Vietnam.)

    Obama wants to talk with our enemies with no preconditions while talking tough with his own countrymen of the opposing party. Obama’s mentor said, “God DAMN America”. Obama’s friend Ayers said he wished he had done more violence with the Weathermen.

    I know which one I trust more.

  105. “I know which one I trust more.”

    I guess it’s cool to trust John McCain more than Barak Obama because of John Kerry, Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers. Still, it would be nice if you could cite to the actual target of your mistrust. After all, I can’t go a day without hearing how John McCain has put American lives in jeopardy because of his partnership with Russ Feingold. I think all of us would agree that John McCain should be judged by Russ Feingold’s record.

  106. Clark, while an ass—-, was perfectly correct in his comments regarding McCain’s military service and how it relates to being C&C. Let’s get real folks. Being a POW does NOT qualify anyone to be C&C. Neither does commanding a Navy Squadron. Arguments to the contrary are meaningless.
    Having said that, the very idea that Obama has ANY experience to be C&C is utterly absurd.

  107. THERE IS A LOT ABOUT JOHN MC CAIN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DONT KNOW. EVERYONE KNOWS HE HAS ONE HELL OF A BAD TEMPER AND HIS MILITARY SERVICE NEEDS TO BE LOOKED INTO.

    BEING A STOOGE IN VIET NAM ISNT SO COOL EITHER. THERE ARE MEN WHO WILL BACK UP HIS GIVING INFORMATION TO THE ENEMY

    AND THE KEADYING 5 AND HIS SNL BUDDIES AND THE SWEETHEART DEALS HE MADE BACK THEN. I DONT TRUST THE MAN WITH OUT MILITARY BECAUSE HE IS A WARMONGER AND I DONT WANT HIS FINGER ON THE BUTTON THAT COULD BLOW US ALL UP.

    I DONT WANT HIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE WITH HIS STAFORD WIFE AT HIS SIDE.

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