Wesley Clark was on Face the Nation today, and he took aim at the idea that McCain’s Vietnam War experience makes him more qualified to be president. “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,” Clark said.
Host Bob Schieffer said that Barack Obama hasn’t had these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. Clark replied that, “I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.” With one swoop, Clark attacked the entire basis for the McCain presidential campaign.
McCain spokesman Brian Roberts tried to use Clark’s statement to paint Obama as a typical politician, “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.”
Of course, Clark is correct. The whole idea that McCain would make a better president because he was a P.O.W. is stupid. Clark was not challenging McCain’s military record, what he was challenging is the phony idea that McCain’s military record makes him a more qualified candidate than Obama. McCain’s experience in Vietnam probably shaped his ideology, so isn’t it fair to ask if this ideology is the correct one to lead the nation forward at this time.
I am glad that somebody finally had the guts to stand up and challenge the Republican Party and their faux patriotism. For too long Democrats have cowered at the prospect of being labeled un-American, so it was refreshing to see Wesley Clark finally step up and challenge these GOP myths. Now I am left to wonder if Clark just elevated himself on Obama’s VP short list.