Monday, June 30, 2008

Silly "swift-boating" moral equivalence

So according to the McCain campaign and their allies, this is questioning John McCain's military service:

First off, let me say that I am not a huge fan of Wesley Clark. Not that I would ever question his service, but he's never struck me as a very talented politician. And he was a Hillary Clinton supporter....

But anyway, on what basis can anyone truthfully claim that Clark was questioning McCain's military service? What he said was in response to Bob Schieffer's assertion that McCain's war record qualified him to be commander-in-chief. Clark correctly pointed out that having your plane shot down and being held captive by the North Vietnamese does not qualify you to be President.

The media is so head-over-heels in love with McMaverick that they view such an obvious statement with shocked incredulity. Just look at Schieffer's expression in that clip! He can't fucking believe it!

And to try and equate this with the John Kerry Swiftboating (as some are trying to do) is just ridiculous. Clark made no denigrating comments about McCain's record at all; all he was doing was hitting back against the silly idea that because he commanded a Navy Squadron and was shot down in Vietnam, he's inherently more qualified to be President than Obama.

It pisses me off to no end that "commander-in-chief" and "President" have become almost synonymous in the public eye. Yes, the President is indeed "commander-in-chief" of the military, but the Presidency is not a military position. The President is not defined by his military role; he is the civilian head of government. Taking it as a given that military service means you are inherently more qualified to be President is a very dangerous idea, and speaks to an increasingly military-centric view of the office of the Presidency. Hopefully Obama will take the time to point this out the next time the question arises.

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