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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:15 pm 
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[I split this off from the VP thread, since it went in a different direction, and the threadstarter of that thread requested it - VtF]

Wesley Clark is making headlines after claiming in a CBS interview that McCain's military experience is irrelevant since it didn't include "executive responsibility":
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/29/ ... mpaign.php

There doesn't seem to be any indication of why CBS chose to interview him in the first place. Could this be some sort of test to see how he plays? Or Clark independently trying to demonstrate that he'd be a good choice? In any case, the attack seems rather impolitic.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:51 pm 
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I think the attack was surgically precise: yes, McCain served, yes, he was a POW, and no, neither one has jack or squat to do with making decisions that affect a lot of other people.

And Clark is certainly in circulation, although it could be simply because his stars give him a license to comment on these matters that someone who has never been in the military doesn't have.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:56 pm 
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Well, it makes a good point, sure. However, McCain still gets the credit for experiencing what war is like first-hand rather than just waving troops into the battle from an armchair thousands of miles away.

I'm still not going to vote for him.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:00 pm 
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This is certainly a point that can only be made by someone with unassailable military credentials. It would backfire on anyone whose record of service didn't at least match McCain's.

But I'm glad it was pointed out this early in the campaign, because I think it's a silly requirement for that office. How many U.S. presidents have had major military command experience, at the level that would be actually relevant to being commander-in-chief? Eisenhower . . . Grant . . . Washington. . . . Anyone else?

This is why presidents have military advisors.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Former career military officers who became President:

George Washington
Andrew Jackson
William Henry Harrison
Zachary Taylor
Ulysses S. Grant
Dwight Eisenhower

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:16 pm 
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Thanks, Ax.

It's interesting, though, that in the well over a century since Grant there has been only one more career military president, and none in the past 50 years, even as the world situation and the technology of war have gotten immensely more complicated.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:24 pm 
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I think we saw enough examples of why the military and civilian spheres should stay separate in the 20th century to make an impression.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:26 pm 
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What makes Obama visionary?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:32 pm 
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Just cuz. :P

vi·sion·ar·y
1. given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes: a visionary enthusiast.
2. given to or concerned with seeing visions.
3. belonging to or seen in a vision.
4. unreal; imaginary: visionary evils.
5. purely idealistic or speculative; impractical; unrealizable: a visionary scheme.
6. of, pertaining to, or proper to a vision.
–noun 7. a person of unusually keen foresight.
8. a person who sees visions.
9. a person who is given to audacious, highly speculative, or impractical ideas or schemes; dreamer.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:34 pm 
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axordil wrote:
I think we saw enough examples of why the military and civilian spheres should stay separate in the 20th century to make an impression.


Good point. No more Arch-Generalissimo-Father-of-His-Countryship*, eh?

* Pratchett reference

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:49 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
vi·sion·ar·y
1. given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes: a visionary enthusiast.
2. given to or concerned with seeing visions.
3. belonging to or seen in a vision.
4. unreal; imaginary: visionary evils.
5. purely idealistic or speculative; impractical; unrealizable: a visionary scheme.
6. of, pertaining to, or proper to a vision.
–noun 7. a person of unusually keen foresight.
8. a person who sees visions.
9. a person who is given to audacious, highly speculative, or impractical ideas or schemes; dreamer.


Almost all pejorative in this context. Interesting. But of course in undercutting Obama's ideas, the easiest first approach is to claim that they are entirely impossible to realize. :P

Meanwhile, from the Obama campaign earlier this morning:

Quote:
As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:50 pm 
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Quote:
–noun 7. a person of unusually keen foresight.
wasn't bad. :D

You know, if I didn't know better (and I don't) I would suspect that the Clark statements and the reaction of the Obama campaign were, I dunno, co-ordinated or something... :whistle:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:54 pm 
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You astonish me! :shock:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Either way, it seems to suggest that Clark is not going to be the VP--you don't want your running mate to be someone whose statements you need to disavow right from the start.

One of Clark's oft-cited weaknesses in 2000 was a lack of media-savvyness; i.e. not considering how his statements would sound when repeated out of context ad-nauseam. Some have asserted that he's learned from his mistakes, but this interview would suggest otherwise. Accurate or not, attacking a POW's military record is generally not a good campaign tactic.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:21 pm 
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He wasn't attacking his record. If I say that your stint as a Boy Scout doesn't confer you with the ability to fly to the moon, am I somehow attacking your time as a Boy Scout?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Only if it was really important to Dave's ambitions to create the general impression that Boy Scouts and only Boy Scouts can fly to the moon.

Incidentally, of the first 29 astronauts, 26 were Boy Scouts; of the 12 astronauts who have walked on the moon, 11 were Boy Scouts. So I think Dave would have an argument.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:29 pm 
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ax wrote:
He wasn't attacking his record. If I say that your stint as a Boy Scout doesn't confer you with the ability to fly to the moon, am I somehow attacking your time as a Boy Scout?



While I don't disagree with your point, this is a unfair comparison. The proper comparison would be that your stint as a Boy Scout doesn't confer you with the ability to lead the Boy Scouts. A vastly finer line though both are still probably accurate.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:33 pm 
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You're correct that he wasn't precisely attacking McCain's military record; he was attacking the idea that his record qualifies him to be President. It's still a risky thing to do, I think. As Prim said, Clark is probably one of the few people out there who stands a chance of pulling it off without looking like a jerk, but it's still risky. If it were clearly a case of "my record is better than yours" it would be another thing, but since Clark isn't the VP candidate and the interview wasn't part of a debate, it doesn't come off that way.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:50 pm 
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Quote:
The proper comparison would be that your stint as a Boy Scout doesn't confer you with the ability to lead the Boy Scouts.


Except being Commander in Chief is only one aspect--among many--of being President.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Dave--

It's risky enough that Obama is having no public part of it. ;) But since it's one of about two things McCain is trying to run his campaign on, calling it into doubt is strategically viable. The immune-system like swarming of McCain's constituency, the MSM, all over Clark's remarks indicates exactly how close to home it hit.

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