Obama losing the war against cynicism


Sen. John McCain's campaign on Monday called retired Gen. Wesley Clark's remarks that McCain lacks command experience "the lowest form of politics."

Clark, a military adviser for Sen. Barack Obama, questioned Sunday whether McCain's military experience qualified him to be commander in chief.

"I think it's kind of sad," McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said Monday on CNN's "American Morning."

"I think all the promise that Barack Obama made about trying to change the political dynamic and run a different kind of campaign is evidenced by the fact that he's completely changed his political strikes and become sort of a partisan hack."

Davis added, "Sending Wesley Clark out as a surrogate for your campaign and attacking John McCain and his war record and his military experience and his service is, I think, just the lowest form of politics."

Obama's campaign on Monday issued a response: "As he's said many times before, Sen. Obama honors and respects Sen. McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by Gen. Clark." Video Watch what McCain says about Clark's comments »

In a speech about patriotism Monday, Obama did not directly address Clark's comments, but after calling attention to McCain's service, he said, "No one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters of both sides."

Obama said, "We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period."

The statement came from his campaign just as his speech was ending in Independence, Missouri.

Clark on Sunday said he was referring to McCain's experience, or lack thereof, in setting national security policies and understanding the risk involved in such matters.


A cynic might beleive that Obama sent Clark out to make that statement in a cynical attempt to set up Obama's statesmen like appreciation of McCain's patriotism. But the calculation looks too calculated. Ben Smith examines some of the other voices of Obama supporters who have said the same things Clark said or worse. You get the feeling the left is doing their own "Swiftboating" but they have far less material to work with.


  1. I think what the Obama camp is attempting to do is make the subject of "patriotism" off limits.

    In St. Barack's speech today in Missouri, he vows not to question anybody's in the campaign's patriotism, and not allowing anybody to question his. But the most intersting part is where he attempts to define his way around the problem, by telling his audience "surely, we can arrive at a definition of patriotism that, however rough and imperfect, captures the best of America's common spirit."

    Throw in Gen. Clark's remarks about Senator McCain's experiences getting shot down aren't exactly qualifications to be President and you've got a one-two punch.

    The objective here is to (1) put McCain on the defensive, making him respond to Clark, and put up his own battery of retired flag officers to show (as if there was doubt) that he's qualified to be President. By defending themselves and shoring up the appearance of military support, McCain and surrogates are prevented from getting any attack on Obama rolling.

    At the same time, this approach is reinforced by (2) taking Obama and his party's weak position on national security and its (and his), doubtful credentials in the flag-waving department out of contention by hiding behind Clark's support and military record and re-defining patriotism in terms of the preferred Democratic/liberal position of solicitude for dissenters.

    With the help of the mainstream media, this might well work.


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