Tuesday, July 01, 2008

what Clark said

Here's the significant part of the now-infamous Wesley Clark moment on Face the Nation:
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.

I'm sorry, is that even a debatable point? "Getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down" can be evidence of patriotism or courage or 20/20 vision, but of course it's not a qualification to become president! There is no skill whatsoever that you learn flying a fighter plane or being in a Vietnamese prison that is readily transferable to being the chief executive. Not one.

And for the record, there's an implicit argument in Schieffer's statement that it's a better service to this country to get in a fighter plane than to become a community organizer, and that's really chaps me. It's part of that old canard that the only way to "fight for freedom" is to join the military despite the fact that every threat to our freedom since at least World War II and perhaps the Civil War has emanated not from foreign invaders but from our own government and our own employers. Passing up a hot shot New York business to become a community organizer on the South Side is pretty frakin' solid service to this country if you ask me.

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