Liberalscum Buster

July 4, 2008


Filed under: BARACK OBAMA, Bush, hillary clinton, John McCain, life, mideast, news, politics, war — gasdocpol @ 2:34 pm


Joe Conason
Fake Outrage Over Clark CommentsThu Jul 3, 3:00 AM ET

Despite all the feigned outrage fanned by the mainstream media and the right-wing noisemakers, Wesley Clark — retired four-star general, former Supreme Commander of NATO, wounded and highly decorated veteran of ground combat in Vietnam and a military man to his core — assuredly did not denigrate the war record of John McCain when he talked about the Republican candidate on television last Sunday.


Instead, perhaps naively, Gen. Clark stated a very simple fact. Mr. McCain’s service in Vietnam doesn’t prove his aptitude or competence to serve in the nation’s highest office. Or as he told “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer on CBS: “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

Nor with all due respect is withstanding long captivity and torture by the North Vietnamese. “I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me, and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war,” said Gen. Clark. The reservations he expressed were clear and honest, requiring no apology and no scuttling repudiation by Barack Obama.

Supporters of Mr. McCain insist that his military service should be exempt from discussion, except when they feel like bringing it up to prove some point about national security, terrorism or the presidency that it really doesn’t prove at all. But of course he was not the only soldier, sailor or airman to survive such experiences with courage and nobility. There was once another former POW whose candidacy for high office vindicates the Clark argument.

Or has everyone forgotten Adm. Stockdale?

The late James Bond Stockdale epitomized the bravery and idealism of the Americans imprisoned and tormented, both physically and mentally, by their captors in Hanoi. Captured and beaten after his Navy jet was shot down, he lived in leg irons for two years and in solitary confinement for four years between September 1965 and February 1973, when he was finally released. His many honors and citations included the Medal of Honor, and he rose to vice admiral. He was a man of indisputable intelligence who taught philosophy at Stanford University and wrote several books before he died of Alzheimer’s disease three years ago.

Yet the sad truth is that Stockdale lived out his final years in the shadow of his disappointing independent candidacy for vice president as industrialist Ross Perot’s running mate in 1992. He knew little about policy or politics, as roughly 70 million Americans discovered with a wince as they watched a televised debate that pitted him against Al Gore and Dan Quayle.

“Who am I? Why am I here?” were his opening lines, a bid to acknowledge his inexperience that left audiences laughing at him. Although he sounded refreshingly unscripted by comparison with his opponents, Stockdale’s evident confusion and unreadiness left him looking like a “bewildered grandfather,” as Maureen Dowd put it. Everybody liked Stockdale, but nobody thought he should be running for vice president, and the notion that he might sit a heartbeat from the Oval Office raised serious questions about Mr. Perot’s judgment.

Stockdale was too honorable and too wise to claim that the answer to his own question — “Why am I here?” — should be found in his matchless military record or his epic POW experience. After his humiliation in the debate, he liked to say that he was the candidate of “the people,” but although the people liked him, they didn’t vote for him.

The Stockdale episode also highlights the bias and hypocrisy behind the fury over Gen. Clark’s comments. In the days following the October 1992 debate, Stockdale was roasted from all sides, with much of the most withering commentary emanating from the self-styled superpatriots of the far right, who were angry about the Perot candidacy and worried that Bill Clinton would win the election, as he did.

So a headline in “The Washington Times” called Stockdale a loser, and conservative columnists denigrated him as “geezerish,” “lame” and “the big loser.” Rush Limbaugh, who evaded the Vietnam draft thanks to an inflamed boil on his behind, devoted nearly an entire broadcast to mocking Stockdale. After playing a clip of the admiral defending abortion rights, the radio host described him as “intellectually vacant” and “pandering” and suggested that his pro-choice views were insincere.

Incidentally, the Limbaugh show’s producer back in October of 1992 was none other than Roger Ailes, who now heads Fox News Channel, where the faked anger over the Clark comments has swiftly reached a seething boil. He’s a phony, and so is this latest eruption of right-wing indignation.

Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer ( To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at




  1. This was John Kerry’s introduction by General Wesley Clark at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, MA. How come John Kerry qualifies for president but John McCain doesn’t? I just thought you may find it funny.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my fellow Democrats. I am an American soldier. Our country has been attacked. We are at war. Our nation is at risk, and we are engaged in a life-and- death struggle against terrorists who are seeking nuclear and biological weapons. As we are gathered here tonight, our armed forces are in combat. Our freedoms were won in war. Our freedoms have been protected by generation after generation by the selfless service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform. From Bunker Hill to Bastogne, from the frozen hills of Korea to the steaming jungles of Vietnam, from Kabul to Baghdad, American men and women in uniform have served with honor. They’ve given us so much; they’ve asked for so little. Tonight, please give them a round of applause. Honor them, our veterans, and our families. Give them a round of applause. We love our men and women in uniform. They have given so much. I want all of America to see our party and how we respect the men and women who serve. Thank you. Thank you. And I want to thank my wife, Gert, my son Wesley, his wife Astrid, their son, and all of the military families especially who’ve stood year after year behind those who have served in uniform. But I ask you now to observe with me just a moment of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could have the freedoms that we exercise here tonight. War. War. I’ve been there so has John Kerry. I’ve heard the thump of enemy mortars. I’ve seen the tracers fly. Bled on the battlefield, recovered in hospitals, received and obeyed orders, sent men and women into battle awarded medals, comforted families, attended funerals and this soldier has news for you tonight. Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the best defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people. Franklin Roosevelt said it best. Franklin Roosevelt said: “Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth.” This hall, this Democratic Party are filled with veterans who have served under the American flag. And this is our flag. Right there, that flag, we saluted this flag. We rose up in the morning and stood reveille to this flag. We fought for that flag. We’ve seen brave men and women buried under that flag. That flag is ours, and nobody, nobody will take it away from us. We are the America can trust. But we’ve got to tell the truth. And the truth is this: The safety of our country demands urgent and innovative measures to strengthen our armed forces. The safety of our country demands credible intelligence. The safety of our country demands cooperation with our allies. The safety of our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies. The safety of our country demands an end to the doctrinaire, ineffective policies that currently grip Washington. Enough is enough. A safe America, a just America, that’s what we want, that’s what we need and with John Kerry and John Edwards, that is what we will achieve. John Kerry has heard the thump of enemy mortars. He’s seen the flash of the tracers. He’s lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a senator, he proved his physical courage under fire. And he’s proved his moral courage too. John Kerry fought a war and I respect him for that. And he came home to fight a peace. And I respect him for that, too. John Kerry’s combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need as Americans in our commander in chief. And John Edwards with his leadership and extraordinary intelligence, he’s going to be a great member of that command team. John Kerry is a man who in time of war can lead us as a warrior, but in times of peace, he will heed the call of scripture to lead us in beating swords into plowshares. John Kerry will lead American with strength and wisdom. He has the will to fight. He has the moral courage born in battle to pursue and secure a strong peace. Under John Kerry, I have no doubt — and neither should any American — that we are going to attack and destroy the terrorist threat to America. John Kerry will join that pantheon of great wartime Democrats: great Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, who led us to victory in World War I; great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, who turned back the tide of fascism to win World War II; great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis; and great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy, backed by force, brought peace to a shattered land. My fellow Americans, Democrats are leaders and Democrats are fighters. And John Kerry is a leader, a fighter, and he will be a great commander in chief. You see, John Kerry knows that the power of America is not just our armed forces and our weaponry. It’s really the power of our values and ideals. And John Kerry knows that members of our armed forces embody the best of America’s values: service, sacrifice, courage, compassion. He knows that the members in the armed forces are serving to build something greater than them. They’re serving to build something worth fighting for. They’re serving to build something worth dying for. John Kerry knows that the men and women who serve and our veterans are a company of heroes. And everyone who fights for the best in American life is also a hero: firemen, police officers, teachers and so many others. I say to you tonight: John Kerry’s time to lead this company of heroes has arrived. Right here, right now, in this town, tonight, from this place, we set out together to put our country back on track to security and freedom and opportunity. America, hear this soldier. Choose a leader whose physical courage, moral values and sound judgment, with the grace of God and our determined commitment, will strengthen our country, protect our liberty, renew our spirit and secure a future for our children that is worthy of our heritage. Make John Kerry the next president of the United States. Thank you. God bless America. Thank you, my friends. Thank you.

    Comment by 4hournotice — July 4, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

  2. 4hournotice

    Kerry was my 5th choice among the Democrats in 2004. However…

    In defense of Kerry
    1. Kerry did not have to go to Vietnam. McCain did once accepted a free education at the Naval Academy (whether he actually got one is another question. He was at the very bottom of his class.

    2. In terms of their contribution to the war effort they seem to me about equal.

    3. Kerry was an effective prosecutor and investigator of BCCI, Iran-Contra and POW/MIAs (with McCain)

    4. Kerry got though law school and passed the Mass. Bar. McCain never demonstrated anything rigorously academic.

    Kerry was more qualified than GW Bush but I think that the problems created by Bush/Cheney would be blamed on Kerry and we would be looking at more Neocons and the

    Personally, I preferred : Dean, Clark, Graham and Gephart to Kerry. At the time I would have preferred McCain to Kerry and Edwards . Now that I know more about McCain , I would have preferred Kerry.

    I would have preferred McCain or even GW Bush over Al Sharpton, even now.

    Comment by gasdocpol — July 4, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  3. 1. I’ll have to agree to disagree on Kerry but I wasn’t trying to Kerry-bash. I was Clark-bashing. According to Clark’s 2004 speech, how is it that Kerry’s Vietnam (all 6 months) service make him a qualified candidate to be president back in 2004 but not McCain in 2008.

    2. Kerry not having to go to Vietnam is a moot point. Honest to God, whether McCain had gone to Harvard or Arizona Community College, you think he’s the type of person that would dodge Vietnam? If you do you’re obviously partisan. On that note he didn’t have to stay at the “Hanoi Hilton” but he did.

    3. Kerry was no genius in college either however I concede that Obama/ Kerry have more academic accolades then McCain. You really want a lawyer as president?

    Comment by 4hournotice — July 5, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  4. 4hournotice

    Thank you for your excellent, coherent response to my post. Many of your points were well taken.

    1. As I said, I was not very enthusiastic about Kerry and I was glad that he was not elected. Kerry did not get good grades at Yale but, unlike GW Bush, he has impressed me as a well educated man. I felt that Kerry was more qualified than GW Bush which is not saying much. I did not think that Kerry would be very capable of reversing the damage caused by Bush/Cheney.

    2. I agree that Kerry’s Vietnam service did not particularly qualify him to be President. He was apparently a credible warrior but nothing more. Kerry’s endeavors as a credible warrior, competent proseceuting attorney , Senate investegator of: BCCI, Iran-Contra and POW/MIAs (which he did with McCain)showed a pattern of intellegence, hard work ,efficiency and effectiveness. Contrast this with GW Bush, who despite being born to exceptional opportunity and resources, he was a drifter with a drinking problem until he was 40 and then a serial failure in business before he was propped up by the Neocons as their front.

    3. Since Kerry was the Democratic nominee, it was Wesley Clark’s job to endorse Kerry, who I claim was more qualified (however many hundreds of thousands of other Americans were more qualified) than GW Bush. Your claim is that since Clark overstated the case for Kerry, he also overstated the case against McCain. At that rate, since Bush/Chaney lied us into the Iraq fiasco, neither of them should be trusted to do anything again ever.

    4. Is the response in answer to Clark’s interviewer, Bob Schieffer’ question that riding a warplane and getting shot down does not qualify McCain to be President so outrageous? Consider the uproar it caused. If McCain’s war record were a valid argument for his candidacy, discussion of that record could only help him. I think that McCain’s campaign KNOWS, that is not and they are forcefully resisting any discussion .

    5. Since McCain had a father and grandfather who were four star admirals, McCain got special treatment at the Naval Academy which he would not have gotten at Harvard or Arizona Community College. I don’t think that he would have gotten through Harvard. Along with the free education and the glory of Annapolis, he had an obligation of military service. Kerry had no such obligation.

    6. Fighting has always been part of McCain’s schtick. In high school his nickname was “Punk McNasty”. At USNA, he was a raunchy rowdy party boy. He was a hotdogging risk-taking flyboy. This probably gave him some credibility as a warrior. I would characterise him more as an unguided missile or a loose cannon. There is nothing that I have seen that has shown me that he was an effective warrior.

    7. Who is more qualified than Wesley Clark who has spent many thousands of hours more in combat than the 20 hours that McCain spent from which he milked 28 medals and a career in the Senate? Clark has clearly displayed heroism on the battle field , Valedictorian at West Point, Rhodes Scholar with a Masters from Oxford in Philosophy,Psychology,Economics, Masters from War College, General for 10 years, etc,etc,etc.

    8. Do I want a lawyer for President?* I have great respect for solid legal training. The Law addresses itself to most of the aspects of human interaction. Unfortunately some Lawyers choose to sell their souls to Satan. You probably disagree but I think the Ben Ginzberg is one of those lawyers, although his skill and intellect are awesome. I have more respect for Arlen Spector. The fact that Obama is a lawyer does not disqualify him in my eyes. I think that his legal training would serve him well a President.

    * The only significant experience John Edwards had was sueing doctors and running for President. His six years in the US Senate was only remarkable for being gung-ho for the Iraq invasion. Edwards was on the Senate Intellegence committe whose Chairman was Sen. Bob Graham (FL-D) who was strongly against the invasion. For this reason Edward, was my 6th choice among the Democrats who sought the nomination in 2004.

    Comment by gasdocpol — July 5, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

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