From Steve Benen...
Clark didn’t criticize McCain’s war record or military service at all. Not once. Not even a little.…which leaves me somewhat disappointed by the Obama response. “No one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides…" intoned the Senator. Fair enough, no one did. This, though, is a thought that needs to be rethunk…
"We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period. Full stop.”Actually, from time to time our men and women in uniform do some dreadful things, things for which they deserve no gratitude at all, and there's nothing sillier than the idea that every veteran, by virtue having served in any fashion, deserves the presidency.
Military service is, like education or occupation, a meaningful resume point for a candidate, but that meaning is dependent on the nature of the service, and the simple fact is that McCain's service was notable only for the victimization he suffered at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors. General Clark's central point, that McCain's military resume lacks the kind of command experience that might translate into a degree of preparation for the role of Commander In Chief.
As Benen notes, the heart of the problem with Obama's response is that it "...implicitly accepts the criticism offered by the media and the right — that Clark was attacking McCain’s military service, despite the fact that never actually happened."
We saw something similar in Obama's response to Reverend Wright's National Press Club appearance. While there were doubtless points on which Wright's comments could be challenged, the objections Obama raised were, again, to things that weren't said, that didn't happen.
Hardly my first instance of disappointment with Barack Obama, and almost certainly not my last, but that's why he wasn't my first choice going into the nomination campaign (nor my second choice, for that matter). He is, however, my nominee, and my disappointments hardly rise to the levels of abhorrence inspired by the prospect of a McSame presidency.