Friday, July 4, 2008

General Clark

I've followed General Wesley Clark for several years now, and have been impressed in many ways. He was the Supreme Commander of the NATO forces in Kosovo, and ran for president in 2004. The recent fallout over his off-hand remark about John McCain - saying very clearly that he is a hero to Clark himself and to hundred of thousands of other soldiers who fought in Vietnam, but that getting shot down in a plane and serving in a prison isn't necessarily qualification for high office - has caused a great deal of controversy. Paul Krugman has an editorial about this today which I believe puts the situation in proper perspective, but I do regret that public opinion is following the same path it did with the Swift Boat situation in '04. One of McCain's most vocal aides is Colonel Bud Day, who is outraged that Clark would "insult" McCain in this way. Colonel Day was one of the primary Swift Boaters, who actually did question and insult John Kerry's Vietnam service, though that's clearly not what Clark did. The original interview is here, and you can see for yourself how even-handed he is.

I had hoped (and still hope) that Obama would choose Clark as his vice-president. That would have been unthinkable when Karl Rove was still in charge, but Krugman seems to suggest that the days when his tactics worked automatically on an unsuspecting America are now over, and that we are now in an era where trumped up smears are outshined by real issues.

God, I hope so.

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