This Is Not “Swiftboating”

The wingnuts are screaming because of something Gen. Wesley Clark said:

The dust-up began with Clark’s appearance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” where moderator Bob Schieffer asked him about his interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month.

In the interview, Clark said McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was “untested and untried.”

When Schieffer asked to explain the comment, Clark said he was referring to McCain’s experience, or lack thereof, in setting national security policies and understanding the risk involved in such matters.

“I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility,” said Clark, a former NATO commander who campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

“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,” Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he “ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.”

“Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.

So a televised wingnut hollered that McCain was being swift-boated by Gen. Clark. Hello? Clark didn’t make unsupportable claims that McCain is lying about his war record or that he had behaved dishonorably in the service, as the swifties did to Kerry. He’s saying that being a fighter pilot and then a POW doesn’t qualify someone to be President.

Dear wingnuts: This is a simple statement of fact.

All manner of people have been POWs who would not have been good presidents. I sometimes write about my uncle, a POW in Japan during World War II, who was a great guy with many admirable qualities. But he would not have been a good president, either.

Look, wingnuts, if your atrophied brains have any firing neurons left, think about what skills a POW needs to survive. Then think about what skills a President needs to carry out the duties of office. I’m not talking about character here; I’m talking about professional skills. What does he know how to do?

I’m not saying that a former POW would necessarily be a bad president. I’m just saying the POW experience is irrelevant. John Kennedy’s PT 109 experience was irrelevant, also. That doesn’t mean he was a bad president. I’m just saying that bravery in war and being an effective POTUS are two unrelated things. I believe that’s what Gen. Clark was saying.

BTW, here’s a lovely bit of projection from a rightie blogger:

The “Ugly Liberal” is coming out in the Democrat Party. A close cousin to the Ugly American – who would go to Europe and other places and display such arrogance and snobbery that it gave all America a bad reputation – this is the election for the Ugly Liberal. It is their hate of Americans, conservatives, life, etc that drives them. They are a constant insult machine, tearing down others to prop up their insecurity. They run their little fantasies about how only they can save humanity from itself.

Cross out “liberal” and write in “wingnut,” and it would be more than accurate until the last sentence. Righties don’t fantasize about saving humanity from itself. They don’t give a bleep about humanity.

Update: Real Swift boaters don’t Swift boat.

Update: See also Josh Marshall:

It’s not surprising. But it is an example of the fatuous McCain worship that is the bread and butter of the Washington press corps that Wes Clark’s comments this weekend on Face the Nation are being called ‘swift-boating’. It’s almost comical, but not much less than Bob Schieffer’s incredulous responses to the fact that Clark had the temerity to argue that McCain’s experience as a Navy pilot and a POW don’t necessarily mean he’d be a good president. …

… The McCain campaign is now launching an attack with its ‘truth squad’ about the Clark ‘controversy’ and pushing Obama to “denounce” Clark, etc. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens here. The McCain campaign’s angle here is to not to prevent attacks on the integrity of McCain’s war record (which Clark explicitly did not do) but to make it off limits for anyone to question that his war-time experience means he has the temperament and experience which make him the better qualified candidate to be president.

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