Posted by: Puma1 | June 30, 2008

My Fallen Idol: Clark’s Out-of-Character Attack on McCain’s Service Proof Dem Party Has Lost Its Soul

All the things that I used to say
All the words that got in the way
All the things that I used to know
Have gone out the window

~ as performed by Sugar Ray


This election cycle has been and continues to be paradigm-shifting, energizing, and compelling in innumerable ways at the grassroots level. Voters are participating in our democracy in record numbers, and they are owning their votes and making their voices heard. Yay!

That excitement turns to disappointment when the discussion shifts to the D.C. based political and media Beltway establishment. But just when I thought politics at the national leadership level could not get any more disappointing, yesterday my personal political idol fell — and fell hard.

I first became aware of Wes Clark in 2003; he was a Humphrey-Eisenhower-Stevenson Democrat like me, a Baptist like me, pro-military Southerner like me, had strong affinity for the Jewish community like me. Unlike me, he was valedictorian at West Point, a Rhodes Scholar, and a highly decorated army general. I knew this was the one who would save my country.

I donated and volunteered for the Draft Clark movement in 2003. When he entered the race that fall, I dreamed of a Clark/Bradley ticket booting the Cheney-Rove-Rummy cabal out of power. I argued with classmates about why he was more electable than John Kerry. I fretted over his fateful decision not to compete in the Iowa primaries. When Sen. Kerry won the nomination, I eargerly supported Kerry — but didn’t remove my Clark ’04 bumper sticker for months. When Gen. Clark spoke at my alma mater, USC, the night before the general election, I dragged my buddies. I’m still miffed they ended the Q & A period before I got a chance to demand an explanation as to why he skipped Iowa.

After Kerry’s predictable but upsetting loss, I suppored Gen. Clark’s political action committee, WesPAC. I spent much of 2006 praying for a Clark/Clinton ’08 ticket — partly because I knew it would be unbeatable, but also a lot because I wanted Clinton/Obama to be able to run virtually unopposed in 2016.

It didn’t quite work out that way, but Wes Clark remained my favorite Democrat, unsullied by a primary season which left heroes like Hillary Clinton bruised and turned Barack Obama, Our Great Hope, into a rampaging Night Terror. As I hardened against Obama’s utter lack of integrity — his crookedness would make Boss Tweed cringe — my Obamabot friends tried to woo me with the notion of an Obama/Clark ticket. I balked, planting my feet and crossing my arms…but I knew it would have been nearly impossible to vote against Wes.

That is no longer the case, since Gen. Clark shocked the world by deciding to go all Swift Boat Veterans for Nonsense on us on tevee this weekend:

General Wesley Clark, acting as a surrogate for Barack Obama’s campaign, invoked John McCain’s military service against him…

Clark said that McCain lacked the executive experience necessary to be president, calling him “untested and untried” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” And in saying so, he took a few swipes at McCain’s military service…

“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.

“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”

It’s inexplicable. It’s left me incredulous and speechless. This isn’t the Tony Rezko Jeremiah Wright Wesley Clark I thought I knew. No, I didn’t have the benefit of twenty years of friendship, but all the same, it’s pretty hard to swallow.

On its face, this is a fallacious argument. McCain isn’t invoking his service as a managerial skill but as an example of character, service, and self-sacrifice — all of which do actually rank very high among the personal traits needed to qualify a Commander-in-Chief.

More than that, it’s a dumbfounding and despicable attack on par with the Bush Justice Department throwing soldiers under the bus for war crimes encouraged by the Pentagon’s own rhetoric and policies, an oft-forgotten episode that deserves infamy on par with the Valerie Plame affair and Colin Powell non-Adlai Stevenson moment in front of the UN.

As a campaign strategy, denigration of Mr. McCain’s military credentials is massively dumb — since it’s an argument Mr. Clark cannot possibly hope to win — except perhaps to cause a firestorm which will distract from Obama’s twice daily flip-flops. Not that we all haven’t been sufficiently introduced to Sen. Obama’s galloping gall before, but does the Obama camp really expect voters to compare Sen. McCain’s decades of Congressional and military service negatively to their candidate’s anorexic resume? This guy doubts it:

Say what you will about McCain otherwise, but his service to the country was exemplary.

But here’s a question: if the willingness to fight for your country, put your life on the line and suffer the brutality McCain suffered as a POW doesn’t make the cut as far as qualifications go, how far below that does a “community organizer” show up on the list of non-qualifications?

It’s an unfortunate criticism, unworthy of a man as respected as Gen. Clark used to be until he uttered it. Unfortunately also, this cannot be excused as a one-time slip-up, since Clark apparently has been a one-man battering ram of late, determined for weeks to push this message — who knew? Typical of the media to wait till the Democrats have everything to lose to stir up trouble.

That the Democratic party’s presumptive selectee would engage in such a hypocritical tack is embarrassing enough in light of the nauseating attacks on John Kerry in 2004. That Mr. Obama and Mr. Clark would conspire to do so to the very Republican who put his reputation on the line (again) to become the most vocal defender of Mr. Kerry’s military service is proof the Democratic Party has lost its soul.

Remember that? Mr. McCain’s unequivocally condemned right-wing attacks on the Democratic nominee’s military service:

“I wish they hadn’t done it…I don’t know if they knew all the facts…I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad…I can’t believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt…it reopens all the old wounds of the Vietnam War, which I spent the last 35 years trying to heal…I deplore this kind of politics…I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat he commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam.”

To NBC, Sen. McCain kept defending Sen. Kerry’s military credentials, even though he disagreed with him on other issues:

“This kind of rhetoric, I think, is not helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice…You know, it’s the most bitter and partisan campaign that I’ve ever observed…No, I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense…I don’t agree with him on some issues, clearly…I think that John Kerry is a good and decent man. I think he has served his country.”

Man, do you think Mr. Obama (or John Kerry or NBC) will defend Mr. McCain in this manner? Who is the new politics candidate? Who is the change candidate, again? Who is the unity candidate?

With all the valid criticisms of McCain sitting out there, I can’t imagine what would motivate Gen. Clark to sell out Sen. McCain’s military service. It does not motivate mining of McCain’s experience so much as it calls into question Clark’s integrity. Is this arrogance what our veterans and POWs can expect from an Obama Presidency…or a Clark Vice-Presidency?

What in Obamaland makes a man tested and tried, if not five years of torture? Apparently a speech, high-priced arugula, and spending the majority of your three years in the Senate running for President. Was Obama a boy scout in Hawaii while McCain was being tortured in Hanoi? Maybe Clark thinks that’s sufficient qualification.

Sorry, Gen. Clark, Mr. Obama can’t hold a candle to Mr. McCain’s legislative and international experience. Well, he could, but it would be like holding a candle up next to a California brush fire. Mr. McCain probably has pubic hairs that are more tested and tried than Mr. Obama.

Having destroyed his own stature in a matter of mere months, Barack Obama seems determined to spread the misery, ruining the reputations of Democratic icons like Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferarro, encouraging Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Richardson, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry and others to gut their legacies as well, and now sending out Wes Clark and Joe Biden on surrogate suicide missions.

Who’s next to throw himself into the Obamacano? Al Gore? James Carville? Rahm Emanuel?

It makes Hillary Clinton’s ability to crawl from underneath the infamous Obama bus with more glory than she had while being run over all the more remarkable. She could likely locate and save the real Wes Clark, but who could blame her if she follows her husband’s lead and wisely steers clear in order to save her own reputation? You won’t see any Rodham Democrats going down with this ship, count on it.

Meanwhile, I mourn the loss of my hero, Gen. Wes Clark, another once honorable Democratic icon-in-waiting now Guilty By Reason of Kool-Aid. Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?

— David Jamaal, DONE Founder & Chief Administrator



  1. John McCain can send all of his surrogates to attack Barack Obama racially and you want to be insulted when Wes Clark speaks the truth about McCain’s war record. Gen Clark is absolutely right and I advise all of you to get over it.

    I do believe that Obama is being attacked more by republican surrogates and the media than John McCain. If you ask me, Johnny is the one who is not qualified since he can’t remember important information from one day to the next.

    It sounds to me like you’re all upset because this smart black man has outsmarted the Clintons and is giving the republicans a “run for their money.”

    I’m sitting back and enjoying the show!!!!

  2. […] the world by deciding to go all Swift Boat Veterans for Nonsense on us on tevee this weekend:…Ben Smith’s Blog: Dems for McCain – Politico.comBen Smith’s blog on the 2008 […]

  3. ALL ABOARD!!! The Stop Obama Express, Hurry seats are filling up fast. Check us out on the web at

  4. Tremendous job on your well-written article. I too was surprised to read about Gen. Clark’s comments. I have been a huge Gen. Clark fan since before his run for president. The power of the Democratic party (of which I am an exiled member) is enormous–and very scary; however, I read with great interest one comment suggesting that Gen. Clark fell on his sword for Hillary Clinton–that’s pretty astute and explains for me why Gen. Clark might have done what he did. I am confident, more and more each day, that Senator McCain will prevail over the Ill. Senator when America casts their votes in November. I forgive Gen. Clark.

  5. Does this not expose the depths of desperation that defines the sole of the present Socialistic/Democatic/Liberial Party?

  6. It is certainly not a jaw-dropping surprise that Obama would send Wesley Clark out to denigrate John McCain’s military service. Obama surrogates and the print media have been doing the same thing for several months now. I even heard a rank-and-file Democrat publicly denigrating John McCain’s service at Starbucks. He had read an article in the newspaper, written by an Obama/DNC media operative, about how, as a POW, McCain “sold out his Country and his fellow POWs”. Obama’s mentors and his supporters certainly seem to have a shock value that I have never seen before in politics. But, fear not….with the media’s support and constant spin, even the excrement sandwiches that Obama, Inc. is serving can be made to taste at least acceptable.

  7. Clark is a devoted supporter of Hillary, I believe he deliberately sabbotaged BO and fell on the sword for Hillary. He wants BO to lose, this is in the same style as Wright and Pflieger.

  8. As a disillusioned former Republican who is sick of seeing his country sold out by people he trusted, I just want to say, “welcome to the club.” Neither the Democrat Party nor the Republican Party have the best interests of this country at heart anymore. Their lust for power has corrupted them absolutely. The powers-that-be are merely fighting over who gets to plunder us next. It’s time to throw them all out of office and start fresh.

  9. By the way, John McCain DID NOT attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1958.

    And what difference does his academic standing mean? Please. What a liberal distraction. Surely Obama’s living proof that you can have parchment from among the most elite colleges and still be an ignoramus.

    As for McCain apearing in a N.V.A. propaganda film? Obama and essentially very, very, very, very few of us will earn in this lifetime the right to question anyone’s years in an North Vietnamese prison, much less flying combat missions over hostile territory.

    Obama’s attack, through Clark, on McCain are unconscionable.

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