June 30, 2008

"If Barack Obama wants to question John McCain's service... he should have the guts to do it himself and not hide behind his campaign surrogates."

Said retired Admiral Leighton "Snuffy" Smith... speaking as a surrogate for the McCain campaign.

Questions:

1. Is it really so bad to use surrogates to articulate the arguments that wouldn't sound too pretty coming from the candidate's mouth?

2. Is every supporter who makes an argument a "surrogate" for the candidate? I think that "surrogate" implies that the campaign authorized the person to say something on behalf of the candidate and that it should not cover supporters who happen to say things, even when they say things that make you want to ask the candidate whether he would adopt the supporter's statement as his own.

3. Was Wesley Clark sent by the Obama campaign to say that John McCain's military experience — "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down" — is not the kind of executive decisionmaking that a President needs to do and is therefore not much of a qualification for President? Clark was responding to a question about Barack Obama's lack of equivalent experience, and the point was to minimize McCain's service — which would be stupid — but to defend Obama's qualifications.

4. Wasn't Clark correct on the precise point that he made about executive experience?

5. Wasn't Clark a fool not to see how the other side would be able to use his remark?

6. How should Obama respond now? He has to say something today, and I feel as though I could type out the appropriately Obaman professorial distinctions and explanations that I expect to hear, but this post is too long already.

7. Wesley Clark can't be the VP pick now, right? Or does the uproar over his remarks show that McCain supporters think Clark is a formidable opponent?

UPDATE: The Obama campaign sends a spokesman — one Bill Burton — to say:
"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."
Obama needs to say something himself, something with some passion and less... Dukakitude.

173 comments:

Jim said...

Frankly, I was offended when Clark suggested that spending a few weeks in a Swift Boat and later discarding your medals didn't qualify as Executive experience.

Or did I not hear correctly?

Salamandyr said...

Well, it's Clark. It's not like anybody actually expected him to say anything intelligent or sensible. The guy's a flake.

Middle Class Guy said...

Clark has the same affliction that Bill Clinton has; feet in mouth disease. The guy is a tool and always has been.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that the single action of being shot down is not much executive experience. Very inelegantly put, however, by General Clark. I was tempted to have my aide write this remark, but I'm doing it myself.

MagicalPat said...

Obama is beginning to look like he has no control over any of the people he is associated with.

Can Obama really win with a campaign whose motto is, "The buck stops over there."?

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm stunned by Clark's remarks. It proves party affiliation equates with straight up industrial strength toxin. This, coming from an Army general, NATO commander. It runs completely counter to all that training and experience. It vastly diminishes him. Makes a cartoon of him. Shrinks him so that he speaks by squeeking up from inside his own shoe, as a cartoon character who just drank an entire bottle of shrinking potion. It's dispicable. So now we all see, behind the visage of a fairly benign soft-spoken pleasant looking guy is an ugly monstrous deplorable hack. *runs away, slams door, wedges chair agains door handle* I see his face, my mind changes it to Freddy Kruger.

Roger J. said...

General Shelton's comments about Wes Clark are on the money. And yes--I would prefer the candidates tell us in their own words what they think--if there is some type of critical reaction to Clark's inane comments, then Obama will do what he does best: claim they were inartful. Clark reminds me of the character William Rich in "Man for All Seasons:" For Wales, Rich?

Kansas City said...

Clark comes across as a self promoting narcisist, but he was smart enough to figure out that if he claimed that he was a democrat and voiced suppport for various liberal policies that he almost certainly does not believe, as a former general he would be welcomed by the democrats. Remeber, Michael Moore endorsed him in 2004.

Jim Gegahty wrote a column on Clark with this wonderful description of how people who worked with Clark felt about him:

"Interviews with a wide variety of current and retired military officials reveal that Clark was disliked by only three groups: Those whom ranked above him in the chain of command whom he ignored, his peers at the same rank whom he lied to, and those serving beneath him whom he micromanaged. Other than that, everyone liked him."

The issue with respect to the election is the extent to which Obama's lack of any real connection to the military is a shortcoming for a presidential condidate in today's world. I think it is a significant shortcoming. To me, in addition to the benefit of having any military experience, the most compelling aspect of John McCain as a person is that he turned down the chance to come hom for Hanoi after about a year of prison and torture, saying that fellow prisoners captured earlier had to go home first. I don't need to know anything else about him to be comfortable with him as president. It is very hard to imagine Obama even joining the military, let alone doing what McCain did.

Bissage said...

It’s well-established that many “low information” voters cast their ballots against a disliked candidate and not for a favored candidate.

So long as it’s done within the bounds of decorum, calling Obama a pussy is good for McCain.

I expect we’ll be hearing more of it.

Chip Ahoy said...

I feel another bus incident coming on. But this is not the Clark I knew. As I've said consistently ...

dbp said...

Former General officer Clark deploys the classic strawman attack:

I have never heard McCain's campain suggest that6 being shot down is any kind of qualification. They do talk about how he handled himself as a POW and how he later regained his strength, requalified to fly and then commanded a large Navy squadron.

Roger J. said...

this is one card I hope the Obama campaign plays--it will be the campaign equivalent of Moveon's Betrayus ad--as I recalled that worked out very well for the lefties.

bearbee said...

A while back I was curious if any thing in McCain's experience could be considered 'executive experience'.
According to Wikipedia, in 1976 he became commanding officer of a training squadron stationed in Florida. It seems to me that could qualify.

1. It is gutless
2. No
3. I don't know
4. Yes
5. Isn't 'fool' his natural role?
6. He could give the usual ambiguous palaver about his respect for McCain's military service, blah, blah.
7. See 5. above

former law student said...

If every word a supporter/adviser says about the opposition is a proxy for the candidate's own words, then Obama did call Hillary a monster. But didn't Hillary call Obama a drug dealer first?

Getting shot down is not executive experience. Flying a one-seater plane is not executive experience. But, McCain's surviving years of torture shows an amazing depth and breadth of character, as well as patriotism. He's ten times the man W. or Clinton was or ever will be.

Roman said...

Wesley Clark is a fool. He has had his own problems with Command. From what I heard, it was going outside his chain of command. Not a good thing for a high profile Commander, no matter who he is. Some people who have stars on their shoulders get some sort of complex, as they cannot do any wrong. Perhaps too many "yes men" under them.

rdkraus said...

Even though I couldn't vote for McCain (because of his positions), everything I've heard about his military experience tells me he is a man with integrity and good strong character.

That's a boatload more "stuff" than most other candidates and politicians have got. Way more than BO or HRC or WJC, from what I can tell.

PJ said...

4. Wasn't Clark correct on the precise point that he made about executive experience?

What do take to be his precise point? I don't think you've stated a position on that. But if you're including the part about how McCain's command of a large Navy squadron doesn't count as executive experience because it was peacetime, I do think that precise point is wrong.

I suspect that what really happened here is that Clark was attempting to take a Hillary talking point (remember it?: First Lady is real executive experience) and recycle it into an Obama talking point. But it works even less well for Obama than it did for Hillary, because one can't help but notice that however you try to diminish McCain's relevant experience, you can't make him have less than Obama. On "executive experience," Hillary had an argument that might convince someone who already wanted to believe; Obama has an argument that requires suspension of disbelief (not that he won't get it).

downtownlad said...

First off - John McCain was not tortured. He simply underwent some "enhanced interrogation techniques". And really - they were nothing more than fraternity pranks - certainly not as bad as what we did at Abu Ghraib - and we all know that was pretty trivial.


Second - I didn't know that John McCain made propaganda for the enemy Viet Cong. Sorry - but that is treason. That's as bad as what Jane Fonda did. Why isn't this front page news? Why did John McCain work for the enemy. There is no excuse here. Even if it was "torture", we all know that "torture" is just a way of enhancing information that the person already has or believed.

Third - If you read the transcript, Clarke was just answering a question.

SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.

CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.


Fourth - The Repulicans LIED about Kerry's service and MOCKED his service to the country. All Clarke did was answer a question truthfully, What he should have done is question why McCain was making enemy propaganda during a time of war.

Richard Dolan said...

Even though "executive experience" doesn't describe either senator, it would be foolish for Team O! to pursue Gen. Clark's theme. McCain has proved his mettle and has the scars to show for it. Having nothing comparable to show, O would just prefer to bury the whole subject in a flurry of two-edged praise for McCain's long-ago heroism ("we all honor Sen. McCain courage and sacrifice as a POW in the Vietnam War ...."). The voters will certainly notice (both the difference and the subterfuge), but what they will make of it is another matter.

Team O! has been quite impressive in avoiding foolish mistakes throughout the campaign season. It's hard to believe that anyone with any political sense urged Gen. Clark to say what he did.

Bissage said...

Ross Perot had a wealth of executive experience.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Is every supporter who makes an argument a "surrogate" for the candidate?

Ordinarily that would be a pretty good question. But having used the eevil Republican 527s as a pretext for going off public funding, I don't think Obama's very well-placed to ask it.

Chip Ahoy said...

I agree that the single action of being shot down is not much executive experience.

That's about as insipid as remarks come. It willfully overlooks two terms as representative from Arizona and four terms as Senator. Other than that not much executive experience atoll.

But then that must be compared with community activitism, whatever that is in your fervid imagination, and a partial term as Senator with no actual record to examine, save for a several "present" votes, and huge chunk of that term spent campaigning along with web-site seizing, name obuscation, championship bus tossing and decathalon bridge burning.

[ full disclosure: neither of these candidates represent me ]

Chip Ahoy said...

DTL on ignore. You're way to mean and resolutely stupid to read.

TMink said...

DTL wrote: "First off - John McCain was not tortured. He simply underwent some "enhanced interrogation techniques"."

Dude, for the rest of us, being stabbed in the groin with a bayonet is not foreplay.

And McCain has made numerous statements against torture in gerneral and waterboarding in parituclar.

Trey - who hates himself for reading a DTL post

TMink said...

Say what you will, McCain has legislative accomplishments. The same cannot be said of his opponent.

Trey

Roger J. said...

Yeah DTL: thats a great argument! by all means you keep pushing that one. Thats going to play so well with the American public.

AJ Lynch said...

Chip said:

"I feel another bus incident coming on".

LOL

Can Obama supporters get insurance to protect them against this type of "incident"?

downtownlad said...

Nice try Tmink. McCain VOTED for torture and waterboarding and he's running on a pro-torture position right now.

Why did McCain make enemy propaganda during the war? Because of some measly enhanced interrogation techniques? Sorry - what a wimp.

And let's not forget that roger j. and tmink MOCKED John Kerry's service to his country. And LIED about it.

I'm telling the truth. John McCain made enemy propaganda. Why? It's just a simple question. A real man wouldn't have done that.

Jim Howard said...

"one can't help but notice that however you try to diminish McCain's relevant experience, you can't make him have less than Obama"

PJ is precisely on point.

Obama has zero 'executive experience. None whatsoever. Not in the military, not in government service, not in the private sector. Of all the possible candidates of either party, Obama is the only one who has less executive experience than Hillary.

It is just insane for Democrats to bring up 'experience' in any context now.

P. Rich said...

ALthouse, still trying: ...but to defend Obama's qualifications.

There aren't any, offhand implications to the contrary.

rd said: Team O! has been quite impressive in avoiding foolish mistakes throughout the campaign season.

You have, perhaps, been off-planet for an extended period of time? Does "gaff" ring any bells?

fls said: He's ten times the man W. or Clinton was or ever will be.

I presume the omission of Obama from that statement was an accidental oversight.

Roger J. said...

DTL: excuse me but where have I mocked and lied about Kerry's service to his country? I appreciate Kerry's service to his country--I heartily disapprove of his subsequent actions in turning on his fellow veterans for what, I would submit, was political gain.

AlphaLiberal said...

First, Wesley Clark made his controversial - and 100% accurate - comment in response to a direct question by Bob Schieffer. It wasn't an intentional campaign ploy or he would have otherwise rolled it out in introductory comments.

And the comment is accurate! Being shot down is not a qualification to be Commander in Chief. What nonsense to say it is.

And, John McCain's experience does not include executive-level leadership making strategic policy decisions, such as the President does.

McCain's strategic decisions; invade and occupy Iraq and bomb Iran, are massive blunders. He is a trigger-happy warrior.

Let's also trot out the arguments against McCain's war record made by the wingers in the 2000 Republican primary. Bush's allies alleged McCain collaborated with the Vietnamese and betrayed other POWs. I predict total media amnesia on this score.

AlphaLiberal said...

From the CNN story we see that the comment about being shot down originated with Bob Schieffer, the interviewer, not Clark:

"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. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility," said Clark, a former NATO commander who campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

"He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not," Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he "ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down."

"Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," Clark said.

Video here, at end.

McCain's qualifications and military record are entirely appropriate for discussion. The Repubs are trying here to inoculate him from criticism, basically saying he is (now, not in 2000) above criticism because he was a POW.

Roger J. said...

Alpha: as I said above, this a point the Obama campaign needs to continue to make--Obama himself should be making it at each and every campaign appearance--this is going to a winning issue, I can assure you.

P. Rich said...

jim howard said: It is just insane for Democrats to bring up 'experience' in any context now.

I agree, but this is an issue only if you value sanity. Irrational policies and positions are the hallmark of the left. Such behavior apparently serves as a natural attractant for stupid-votes. Examples of "leadership":

Need oil? Block drilling, raise prices.

Winning a conflict? Declare failure, precipitously withdraw.

See how easy it is? Heck, after a little minor surgery to remove certain overvalued portions of the brain, anyone can qualify as a liberal-progressive-Democrat.

downtownlad said...

Roger - So you're admitting that the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" lied about John Kerry's service in ?Vietnam???

garage mahal said...

Buck up Republicans, you started this and it's going to get alot worse. Much of what McCain claims happened in Vietnam doesn't add up to scrutiny, and you can bet if a Democrat had a bust erected by the Commies and your jailers endorsing your candidacy everyone sure as hell would be hearing about it.

Henry said...

I predict total media amnesia on this score.

I would hope so.

AlphaLiberal said...

roger, whatever. Can you elaborate on why being shot down is qualification to be President?

John Stodder said...

Team O! has been quite impressive in avoiding foolish mistakes throughout the campaign season.

This is an important point. The experience claimed for Obama is that his relevant executive experience is running a winning campaign from an underdog position, toppling a prohibitive favorite in part by transforming the entire process of campaigning.

That's what they say, anyway. I'm not sure everyone would agree that they've avoided foolish mistakes. The Republicans have quite a few unforced Obama campaign errors from the primary period that they can take advantage of in the fall.

DaveG said...

Obama has zero 'executive experience. None whatsoever. Not in the military, not in government service, not in the private sector.

To continue:

Not in his home.
Not in his church.

He is not a leader in any stretch of the word. He may be popular, but that is no substitute for strong, irresolute leadership. At even the whiff of the derogatory remarks routinely directed at the current president, he cowers behind his race or finds a scapegoat.

Perfect for the Senate, not qualified for the Executive.

downtownlad said...

Ann - Did you ever have a post that questioned the charges of the Swift Boat veterans? I don't recall one, although I do think you made several subtle comments that suggested to me that you believed their charges.

DaveG said...

Can you elaborate on why being shot down is qualification to be President?

Can you provide McCain's quote when he explicitly said it was?

Roger J. said...

DTL: Frankly, I haven't the remotest idea, nor do I give a damn, what happened with respect to Kerry's combat exerience. Your inane little high school debating ploy is going to remain unanswered. You may, of course, draw your own conclusions. Now please tell me where I lied about or mocked Kerry's service. My post above about how I feel about Kerry speaks for itself.

With respect to the swiftboat stories, I do have enough combat experience to understand that nearly every one who has been in combat will see things a bit differently. Things are not clear cut when the bullets are flying.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Just another example of faux outrage and a silly way to pass the time until Obama's win in November. What will be the next "controversy" come mid-July? Yawn.

At this point, it's not a question of will Obama win, but how much of a landslide will it be?

The media and the far right keep throwing out bombs thinking that they're giving the voters some red meat (Rev. Wright, Michelle Obama's "whitey," fist bumps, Ayers, "bitter voters," Rezko, flag pins, etc., etc.)...but guess what, none of it works and none of it sticks. Obama leads in just about every national poll and is slaughtering McCain in swing state polling.

The youth vote is going to be massive and will handily put Obama over the top. I'd be surprised if McCain carries any state outside of a handful in the south. Very exciting times.

Roger J. said...

Alpha: and where did I say getting shot down is the stuff of presidential timber? It has no relevance at all to his ability to be president.

What is it about the lefties on this board--Can any of you folks read? Or when you dont get the answers you want, you have to put words in people's mouths.

AlphaLiberal said...

OK. I read all the comments here and the conservative reaction can be summed up thusly:

a) Say this is an outrage and deny McCain made shooting down a qualification (ignoring the McCain campaign commercials!!).

b) Attack Wes Clark personally without addressing the substance of his comments.

c) Pronounce doom upon Obama for McCain's claim to qualification to lead having been questioned.

I like John Aravosis's (sp) approach:
"McCain is running for president of the United States, not the student council. He should stop feigning shock and outrage and start answering some very legitimate questions about his character and his experience," he said in a message to Politico. "Well, the Republicans sported Band-Aids to mock John Kerry's medals from Vietnam. They mocked his injuries in war."

"McCain isn't being mocked, he's being questioned," he said.

AlphaLiberal said...

AL: "Can you elaborate on why being shot down is qualification to be President?"

dave g said:
"Can you provide McCain's quote when he explicitly said it was?"

See his campaign commercials that show him bobbing in the water. (No, I won't look it up for you, sorry).

Pogo said...

It's despicable, this trashing of the abuse and torture McCain suffered just for political gain, but it will not alter anyone's positive view of Obama.

At this point, I cannot think of anything that will change the YesWeCanner's collective mind about him.

Not Rev. Wright, not grandma dissing, not Ayers hugging, and not this. So we'll soon have a man with no integrity as President, just like Bill Clinton. But as Trooper York used to say, Obama's bought and paid for, so maybe less dangerous than a maverick.

As for me, it appears that with either guy, we're screwed economically.

But the crap by DTL, garage, and alphaliberal, trying to justify Clarke's stupidity, is beyond disgusting assholery, and just shy of evil.

Craig Landon said...

The squadron McCain commanded post-jail (circa 1976) was Attack Squadron 174 in Jacksonville, FL. It was charged with training all Navy Light Attack pilots assigned to the 12 or 14 squadrons assigned to east-coat carriers. He was my CO there then as I transitioned back to the fleet from shore duty in '76.

The squadron also trained all of the enlisted sailors enroute to all east-coast sea-based Light Attack squadrons.

The squadron had some 40-50 aircraft and several hundreds of officers and enlisted (both male and female, as women were beginning to be assigned to shore-based squadrons in those days).

Commanding it was the equivalent of running a large corporation with major divisions in California (for weapons training) and other east coast locations (carrier qualifications).

The operating budget was several millions of dollars per year just for fuel and spare parts, let alone the asset value of the aircraft. It was a non-profit.

McCain was charged with ensuring every aviator and sailor walking out to the fleet was ready to fight and survive. As I recall, he handled that executive position in steller fashion.

Henry said...

Don't you meant the "Yute" vote?

Vinny Gambini: It is possible that the two yutes...
Judge Chamberlain Haller: ...Ah, the two what? Uh... uh, what was that word?
Vinny Gambini: Uh... what word?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Two what?
Vinny Gambini: What?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Uh... did you say 'yutes'?
Vinny Gambini: Yeah, two yutes.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: What is a yute?
[beat]
Vinny Gambini: Oh, excuse me, your honor...
[exaggerated]
Vinny Gambini: Two YOUTHS.

Pogo said...

It's the deliberate obtuseness about and reckless disregard for warning signs regarding the lack of integrity that marks a failure which is singularly human, and, in my mind, our most regrettable and unforgiveable trait.

AlphaLiberal said...

Pogo said:

"It's despicable, this trashing of the abuse and torture McCain suffered just for political gain..."

Pogo, I don't think McCain got tortured for political gain. That's just not a fair charge.

Other than that your post is all heat and no light. Not one rational thought about why being shot down (as highlighted constantly by the McCain campaign) qualifies someone to be President.

But you hate liberals. Yeah. We've got it.

MadisonMan said...

Chip, I don't consider Legislative experience -- house or Senate -- to be Executive experience. Do you? I have long lamented the fact that two Senators are running for President in part because of that.

SteveR said...

You can argue about what Clark said (or meant to say) or how we should read his mind but as someone who is affliated with Obama's campaign, it was hideously stupid. Not the least bit surprising coming from Clark.

Beth said...

I have long lamented the fact that two Senators are running for President in part because of that [lack of executive experience].

I agree and hope that each chooses a VP candidate from the ranks of governors or military execs, and not from Congress.

Roger J. said...

What Madison Man said re Senators and their "executive" experience. This is one of the few elections I will have voted in (and cast my first vote in 1964) where neither candidate appeals to me.

Pogo said...

you hate liberals. Yeah. We've got it.

No, alpha, just you.

AlphaLiberal said...

"...it was hideously stupid..."

An assertion without logic to back it up. Why do you say it's stupid?

Is it because McCain is not to be questioned? You do understand that the whole point of campaigns is to question candidates, yes?

And seeing as how the McCain campaign is making this experience a reason to vote for McCain why can only one side address it?

In short, you don't make any sense at all.

Synova said...

I think that being shot down and being a prisoner *does* add to McCain's qualifications for president.

Is that "executive" experience? No. But why is that the only sort that counts? It's not.

Now, command experience and executive experience... pilots probably have less of that than the average sergeant, at least at lower ranks. Being commander of any sized military unit *is* command experience far more than most people ever get or understand. Clark is an ass... but we knew that. And I wasn't even dissing pilots to say that sergeants have more experience... the fact is that any member of the military at any rank has far more experience wielding authority than their average civilian counterpart. What 22 year old enlisted persons are *responsible* for would turn most people's guts to jelly. (Particularly if they consider it's a "kid" who's got his trigger finger on the big guns.)

But being captured is life experience that counts for a great deal in understanding the world. Wes Clark was only ever in charge... never entirely powerless and at the mercy of torturers. Who then understands best what it means to be oppressed?

McCain is far from my first choice, but Obama is my last.

In the end, however, Wes Clark's remarks are about Wes Clark. When is that ever not true?

Ann Althouse said...

downtownlad said..."Ann - Did you ever have a post that questioned the charges of the Swift Boat veterans?"

I can't remember, but I just made a tag "Swift Boat" and added it to this post, so click on it and you'll find all the old posts. There are 29 posts with this tag.

Roger J. said...

Alpha; I'm sure Stever can do this by himself, but it seems to me the logic is pretty straight-forward: some number of American's respect McCain for his POW experience; attacking that experience is (1) likely to alienate those that respect it; and/or (2) diminishes the Obama campaign for bringing it up. Thus, it is a lose lose political move. In short, it has no appeal to any but the hardcore nutroots types. (who are already getting a bit queasy about Obamas move to the center). YMWMDV.

AlphaLiberal said...

Thanks for substantive comments, Synova. You make some fine points.

But I'd add that being in the chain of command and passing along orders is far different than setting war policy, setting strategic direction that affects military actions, policy making and diplomacy.

And that is where McCain has a big gaping void. The only strategy he seems capable of promoting is "bombs away," which is what he knew as a pilot.

Although there were the diplomatic overtures he made to Viet Nam with John Kerry when they found there were no more POWs/MIAs there. His campaign should highlight that experience more.

Ann Althouse said...

Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't display all 29. Here are the links for the undisplayed ones:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

I haven't reread these posts and don't know how relevant they are.

SteveR said...

Alpha, it was stupid because it accomplished nothing and possibly hurt Obama. I'm not saying "don't question McCain", I'm saying it was an inarticulate way to try and make a point (and a weak point at best).

Not making any sense to you, makes perfect sense.

Bissage said...

Thank you, Craig Landon.

Synova said...

Setting war policy is, of course, experience that *no* candidate for president has.

I don't trust McCain's aggressive rhetoric to reflect the decisions that he'd make if they were his to make. I rather expect that he realizes that it's good for opponents to utterly trust that you are resolute. The more I consider chest-thumping the more I consider that we've become delusional in our disregard for it.

I'd expand on that, but have to take my daughter to the dentist.

Be well.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

AL- I haven't seen the McCain ad your talking about, but my guess is it does not stop with his being shot down and captured, but continues on through the next 40 years of his experience. It's part of a brief bio, not the lynch pin of his campaign, unlike Kerry, who basically based his entire run on his 4 months in Vietnam and the three Purple Hearts he had awarded for shooting himself (yeah, I know you believe differnetly, but when he releases the reports maybe we both can find out the truth, and since he hasn't I believe its because they don't prove his side).

Face it, the best war heros the Dems have are Kerry and Clark, and while I respect their service, I believe both of them are using that service improperly.

Why don't I feel that way about McCain?

Because he hasn't made his service THE point of his campaign, Clark has used his service to become a Left talking head; Kerry used his slam damn near every other Vietnam vet, and then used that performance to capapult himself into public office.

When McCain uses his militray experience to denigrate his compatriots, then I'll put on the same list with Kerry and Clark.

reader_iam said...

But I'd add that being in the chain of command and passing along orders is far different than setting war policy, setting strategic direction that affects military actions, policy making and diplomacy.

And that is where McCain has a big gaping void. ...


As opposed to whom?

Palladian said...

"The youth vote is going to be massive and will handily put Obama over the top."

LOL. The youth vote! Hahaha. Yeah, that one always worked!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"So you're admitting that the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" lied about John Kerry's service in ?Vietnam???"


They did NOT lie. I personally know 2 people who were in service with Kerry at the same time and same place. They are both men of the highest integrity and were sickened by his Winter Soldier betrayal. I trust and believe in their firsthand personal experiences. They did nothing about this until Kerry came out at as a "war hero" and made further mockery of their service.

Neither of these men had or ever has had any political ambitions and one is a life long Democrat, but they could not stand by while Kerry blew his brief stint in Vietnam all out of proportion for a younger generation that has no memory of those times. Also for a younger generation that has been brainwashed by the public school system with inaccurate and distorted history of those times.

They came out with the truth at the peril of their own reputations and careers. There was nothing in doing so for them on a personal level and much risk. Nevertheless they banded together with others to bring the truth to the American people.

Titan said...

MagicalPat said...

Obama is beginning to look like he has no control over any of the people he is associated with.

I don't understand why he should have control over people he is "associated" with. It's all in that slippery word "associated."

Is Clark on Obama's staff? No.
Are they close friends? No.
Is Clark Obama's VP pick? No.

In fact, to my knowledge, I'm not sure Obama has ever met Clark in person. (He probably has, I'm just saying that I'm not clear what the "association" between them is.)

So McCain and you can try to blame Clark's comments on Obama, but it really doesn't make sense to me and causes me to look more negatively on the person involved in the misdirection.

Obama has consistently praised McCain's service, knowing full well that he must tread lightly in that area.

reader_iam said...

I see Synova beat me to it.

In any case, I'm with those who point out that these are probably not the best grounds on which to compare/contrast Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama, because whatever gets said about McCain in terms of lacking that specific experience can also be said about Obama and, arguably, more emphatically.

Clark was responding during a series of questions. He didn't do so particularly well or, yes, artfully. He went for a tree, ignoring the forest. The result was predictable.

I think ALL of this surrogate stuff is nonsense, by the way, or at least getting upset by it (I'm not saying Althouse is, btw--I enjoyed her pointing out the irony). It's SOP, inside baseball stuff, and I, for one, urge people not to get deflected by it.

madawaskan said...

Dukakitude

Ahhhh! I love it!

Wesley-ummm just ask any field grade officer that served with him over in Kosovo...

Particularly the Air Force officers.

There is always this withering statement you hear about certain officers-for awhile I thought the term ws militaryese-but what they said about Wesley-

Every decision was about his own self-aggrandizement.

reader_iam said...

Palladian: I'm glad to see you've recovered from my Astley assault and are alive and well this morning.

I suspect we will have more turnout in all groups this fall and perhaps a disproportionately (in the sense of history) large increase among youthful voters. But I'm with you in that I'd be quite surprised if The Youth Vote is the deciding factor. Not as surprised as I will be if Obama doesn't win, but still pretty darn surprised.

Oh, well. Who knows? Not I.

carly said...

Does anyone actually believe that the juxtaposition of Clark's demeaning McCain's record/service (markedly similar in subject matter/talking points to murmurings of other Obama surrogates) with Barry's speech on "Patriotism" is accidental???

The orchestration might not be quite so obvious if the pattern of having "someone" make "off the cuff"/supposedly unauthorized remarks furthering a policy/line of argument favored by Barry's most ardent, leftist cult members that is then kinda/sorta disavowed by the candidate himself, often in bombastic speeches in which he lays out the "rules" of how "we" may deal with this in the future.

The Obama campaign is engaging in blatant manipulation; it's astounding that they seem to be able to get away with it time after time-even with help from his army of "journalist" allies.

Bissage said...

(1) The Obama campaign sends a spokesman . . .

That's not a gesture chock full of tasty lawprof goodness, but Mr. Obama understands well the proverb: One ought not speak of halters in a hanged man’s house.

(2) Obama needs to say something himself, something with some passion and less... Dukakitude.

What?! Did Althouse just call Obama a pussy?

Ha!

bearbee said...

In fact, to my knowledge, I'm not sure Obama has ever met Clark in person. (He probably has, I'm just saying that I'm not clear what the "association" between them is.)


[CORRECTION: Clark was not on the Working Group roster -- which is made up of people with civilian national security experience -- but he was sitting at Obama's side when he met with retired flag officers earlier this afternoon.

An Obama campaign aide emails that "General Clark attended the meeting that Obama had with retired military and admirals this afternoon and he will be an important voice on this campaign."]

Palladian said...

"Palladian: I'm glad to see you've recovered from my Astley assault..."

I'll never forgive you for that.

Anyway, if Obama wins I'm leaving the country...

club.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Titan: re your comments about Clark being associated with Obama: You are either a hopeless Obamabot or haven't read a paper in the last year re Clark's "association" with Obama.

AlphaLiberal said...

Clark was a Clinton supporter.

Roger J. said...

Alpha--Clark was initially a clinton supporter until he saw which way the wind was blowing (thats ole wes for ya)--Google Wesley Clark Barack Obama for the time line.

EnigmatiCore said...

Wesley Clark, being a telegenic General, should have been a formidable candidate in his own right, both in 2004 and this time around.

That he wasn't is testament to the fact that he's a tactless blowhard. The primary reaction of people to him is wonder that he achieved the rank he did.

reader_iam said...

Obama rebukes Clark.

Pogo said...

Obama: "And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides."

Same old story.
Obama supporter says something reprehensible.
Obama 'distances' himself.
Damage done.


So alpha, Obama himself says you're wrong.
What say you?

former law student said...

"The youth vote is going to be massive and will handily put Obama over the top."

LOL. The youth vote! Hahaha. Yeah, that one always worked!


The only youth candidates I remember were Eugene McCarthy and Howard Dean. Neither got to the starting gate in November -- the smoke-filled room guys selected bland boring Humphrey in the first instance, and the media humiliated Dean in the second, allowing bland boring Kerry to be selected.

The Dems have a penchant for the bland and boring. They tend to pick the guy they think is next in line, rather than someone who might attract votes.

Adlai the Egghead
Adlai
KENNEDY***
LBJ
Humphrey
MehGovern
Carter
Carter
Mondale
Dukakis
CLINTON***
CLINTON***
Al Bore
John Kerry
OBAMA***

Roger J. said...

The difficulty the Obamabots have is they cover for their main man much too soon--by the time the bots have justified the oopsie, Obama turns around and disavows it. I love it when the bots are left hanging there looking like they have been had.

blake said...

Oh, well. Who knows? Not I.

Isn't it astounding? Some people are just so confident about the future!

Currently, it seems to be the left. They were sure W was gonna get whacked in 2004. Then they were sure HRC was going to be Pres in 2007. Now it's Obama who just can't lose.

The Youth Vote. Heh.

Back in my voter data days, the target groups were 55+.

To maximize your direct mail bucks, you send to: a) People who are going to turn out; b) People who are going to vote for you.

I never once saw the "youth vote" do anything.

But this could be the election!

MadisonMan said...

Same old story.
Obama supporter says something reprehensible.
Obama 'distances' himself.
Damage done.


You are too specific. Substitute just about any politician's name for Obama and the series of statements are true.

Roger J. said...

Madison Man: true, of course, but Obama promised us something new. I assure you, I am not disappointed, as I never believed him in the first place. His candidacy is very much like Gene McCarthy's in 1968, although I think McCarthy was considerably more honest that Barack Obama.

Pal2Pal said...

Does anyone think that an Affirmative Action Columbia education prepares you better for leadership than the Naval Academy? What leadership or management skill has Obama ever shown? He can't even show good judgment in picking his friends and mentors. The Navy is all about training leaders. My husband had the equivalent in hours of a 4 year college education in all the leadership, management, specialty training, and liaison training he received, if you count it hour by hour. Not just classroom flights of fancy spewed by left wing professors but real world experience day after day, year after year, constantly evaluated and corrected as you move up the chain of command.

And Wesley Clark is a joke. Brought home from his NATO command in disgrace and fired by Bill Clinton for nearly singlehandedly starting WWIII. Criminey, if Bill Clinton thought he was an incompetent military commander, imagine what real men think of him. Clark is a jealous narcissist without a shred of loyalty to anyone except himself, which makes him a perfect fit for the communist sympathizing, arrogant know nothing, bus tossing Bambi, who was picked by the Chicago Machine and George Soros because he is malleable and easily led down the garden path.

You are joking, right, about Clark being seen as a "formidable opponent?" He is thought of as an idiot and a blame everyone else for his shortcomings kind of guy -- an incompetent fool and embarrassment.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger I said...With respect to the swiftboat stories, I do have enough combat experience to understand that nearly every one who has been in combat will see things a bit differently. Things are not clear cut when the bullets are flying.

reminds me of that Churchill line: THE GREATEST thrill a man can experience, Winston Churchill was reported to have said, is to be shot at and missed.

as for the topic at hand, the Army has a great marketing campaign called "Army Strong", (they should keep that ad agency forever)

The latest commercial shows a young sergeant leading a squad parachuting out of a helicopter. He stands on the ramp, waves the men off, and shouts those immortal words: Follow Me!, jumps and he men stream forward into the abyss of combat.

brings tears to my eyes.


on the Clark comment:

1. McCains command of that squadron following Vietnam was executive experience, by all accounts, post Vietnam, the squadron was a shamvvles, with bad maintenance and a bunch of hanger queen aircraft. McCain managed to get them all flying.

2. The POW time, 5.5 years was clearly "Leadership experience", He demonstrated it time and time again to his peers and superiors in the Hilton.

3. And the Forrestal fire, when McCain post-fire, volunteered to join another Carrier to get back intot he fight was leadership of a different kind. McCain was a mid level officer volunteering to flying combat missions over the most dangerous spot in the world. he did it day after day till he was shot down on his 23rd mission. He broke a leg and both arms, was bayoneted and had his should broken by the crowd.

Pal2Pal said...

Re: John Kerry. The men who served with him do not honor his service, to them (including my husband) he is a coward and a liar, not to mention a gigolo. John Kerry has the honor of being one of the two most hated people in America for American vets. His cohort Jane Fonda being the other.

The night he stood in front of the camera and reported to duty with that salute, he was giving the finger to every honorable vet and their families who had ever served. I was so shocked and angry, it made me retch in disgust and I had to run and throw up.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pal2pal wrote:

Re: John Kerry. The men who served with him do not honor his service, to them (including my husband) he is a coward and a liar, not to mention a gigolo.

Sorry, Pal, but you don't speak for the men who served with John Kerry.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Roger wrote:

Clark was initially a clinton supporter until he saw which way the wind was blowing...

Clark was a Clinton supporter until Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee. He didn't change his support mid-campaign as you suggest.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

As for me, it appears that with either guy, we're screwed economically.

This from a Bush supporter... Hilarious!

Verso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Verso said...

God, I have to admit, the emotional delicacy and fragile self-image of conservatives is truly amazing to behold. They are in a state of pure frenzy over Gen. Clark's completely innocent and totally accurate observation. This is just another part of the conservative mentality of "I am a victim and nobody loves me. Please hold me while I sob over the damage to my fragile self-esteem."

I haven't seen this much whining since my 7 year old nephew took a piece of candy from my 6 year old niece.

Talk about a vortex!

Ann asked, "5. Wasn't Clark a fool not to see how the other side would be able to use his remark?"

I would say, "no." Do the conservatives who are flailing around over this innocent remark know that Clark was responding to a direct question, and was simply repeating the words used by Bob Schieffer?

__________________

SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.

CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.
__________________

So, as you can see, Clark's comment was off the cuff and spontaneous; not planned. Given the low threshold for upsetting exceptionally delicate conservative sensibilities, it is literally not possible to go more than a few days without saying something that will reverberate throughout the right wing causing mass waves of hysteria. It's completely hilarious, IMO.

Conservatives are devoted to their own special formula of political correctness, where even true statements cause paroxysms of rage — and, more than rage, self-pity. Because there is nothing so characteristic of the conservative mind evident in this reaction as vast self-love.

I would guess that those most upset about Clark's comment are those who feel courageous and manly vicariously through their identification with the manly men idolized in the Republican Party. Since their sense of manhood comes to them by proxy through McCain, an innocent comment about qualification to hold office is perceived as a direct attack on the conservative manhood.

I can tell you: I'm not the only one watching this who finds it more than a bit pififul. It makes you want to say, "Get a grip, wingnuts!" Be [i]men[/i]. Show some strength and self-confidence, for a change. My six year old niece would be flattered you consider her a role model, but most of us just find it pathetic.

Pogo said...

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

whatever he said.
Why yes, Cyrus, Greenspan during the Clinton era and Bush era has totally screwed the pooch, setting up this worldwide financial debacle.

Now, the Democrats come to 'save the day', by digging the hole even deeper, with their FDR instincts honed, ready to stick that sharp point into the dying patient, hoping that bloodletting (tax increases) will save the day.

But like FDR's screw-ups, it will make the pain last far longer than it needs to. Indeed, we're already hearing the same stupid witch-burning talk that FDR engaged (i.e. "speculators").

So yes, Bush was dumb (tax cuts were good, but the increase in spending was shameful), but the Democrats will outdo that incompetence rather quickly.

Pal2Pal said...

Well Cyrus, think of me as a surrogate for a husband who served 16 mo. on the Mekong Delta servicing the Swift Boats at the same time as Coward Kerry's less than 4 mo. and came home in '69 talking about the "cowardly LT." A few years later, when Kerry's face was plastered all over during his shameful "Winter Solder" communist propaganda testimony, he said to me, "that's the guy, that cowardly LT, I told you about." By then, my hubby had two more Vietnam tours under his belt.

In 26 years of military service, I only heard him twice make disparaging remarks about someone connected to the services. One was that slime McNamara, the other was the cowardly lying, traitor Kerry. Later, after he retired from military service, he added Bill Clinton to the list.

Verso said...

Ann asked, "Wasn't Clark a fool not to see how the other side would be able to use his remark?"

When Fox News recently insinuated that Barack Obama and his wife were terrorists, Ann defending them, saying, "There is this thing these days to find little things and then to make a big deal about them. Any time Barack Obama mispeaks, or someone at Fox strings some words together and throws something in there that's off, people jump all over that."

I think that answers her question about Clark quite well.

Verso said...

Oh, by the way, I also served in Vietnam at the same time and same place as John Kerry!

Amazing how many of us with firsthand experience with Kerry have found our way to this comments thread! LOL!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pal2Pal wrote:

Well Cyrus, think of me as a surrogate for a husband who served 16 mo. on the Mekong Delta servicing the Swift Boats at the same time as Coward Kerry...

Sorry, Pal, but you speak for yourself, not for the men who served with Kerry. Try to remember that next time you post.

Pogo said...

Verso, this is quite a different thing altogether than someone stringing some words together and throwing something in there that's off, and people jumping all over it.

Clarke said one very specific and stupid thing.
He's military. He knew exactly how it would be percieved by military.
What a dumbass.

But Obama gets to say "That is not the Clarke I knew".
Again and again.

Nevertheless, the fact that Obama repeatedly needs to disavow someone means nothing at all.
Not a thing.

Clinton redux.
Here, history repeats, first as farce, now as tragedy.

former law student said...

to them (including my husband) he is a ... gigolo.

Kerry was more of a gigolo than McCain? Kerry didn't dump his crippled wife and mother of his children to marry a rich blonde babe barely half his age. Kerry was separated from his wife for six years before they divorced.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

[gibberish]

Pogo, considering your track record, you really aren't qualified to make pronouncements about economics.

However, I agree with you that Bush is dumb.

Verso said...

From today's news:

"The Dow has closed out its worst June performance in over 75 years today, after lapsing into a bear market last week."

Thanks, Republicans!!!

I'd want to talk about Clark's innocent and accurate remark, too, if I was a McCain shill.

former law student said...

Amazing how many of us with firsthand experience with Kerry have found our way to this comments thread!

My uncle's neighbor's beautician's UPS route driver's grandfather was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton next to McCain. He recalls McCain's muttering in his sleep something about Panama, soy, and El Caudillo. To me this proves that while you can take the boy out of the Canal Zone, you can't take the Canal Zone out of the boy.

Pogo said...

Pogo, considering your track record, you really aren't qualified ...blah blah blah.

Cyrus
You're always at your most impotent when you can't think of anything to say except 'Bush is dumb and so are you', thinking that it makes you appear, well, smart.

It's like some pimply teenager response:
"Oh yeah, well Bush is dumb, and, like, so are you".

Glad to see you're back after taking lessons and honing those debate skills. Clearly at the top of your game.

Synova said...

I don't know what comment thread Verso is reading... it must be the one inside his head.

Wes Clark's remarks are stupid and self-serving and *yes*, as someone who had been in the military he should have understood how not to make them. But maybe he really doesn't know the difference. It's highly likely.

But judging by all the piling on going on this sort of attack on McCain's service and character is hitting some of the right buttons with the right people. Sort of like the shivery fright of the notion that McCain comes from a family tradition of military service and sacrifice so we should all fear that just a little bit because who knows what "those people" are like after so many generations.

It won't play to conservatives, moderates, or veterans... though I certainly have met those who will nod sagely at the wisdom expressed in the concern.

blake said...

Syn--

Verso, Alpha and Cyrus are always responding to the thread that's in their head. And the thread is always a football game of Us vs. Them.

You can't point out, no matter how rationally, that Dems are pushing any bad policy without getting a "tu quoque" about Reps.

Even if you're not a Rep, have never voted for a Rep, and totally disagree with all their policies.

It makes everything a lot clearer, really: We're not having conversations, just scrimmages. And all that matters is the yardage.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

Nevertheless, the fact that Obama repeatedly needs to disavow someone means nothing at all.
Not a thing.


Pogo, perhaps you've missed a few headlines...

Headline from June 24:

"McCain Disavows Aide's Terrorism Comment"

Headline from May 23:

"McCain Rejects Parsley's Endorsement"

Headline from May 22:

"McCain Repudiates Rev. Hagee, Rejects Endorsement"

Headline from April 24:

"McCain Denounces North Carolina GOP TV Ad"

Headline from February 26:

"McCain Disavows Radio Host's Comments"

Pogo, does the fact that McCain repeatedly needs to disavow someone mean nothing at all? Not a thing?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Synova wrote:

But judging by all the piling on going on this sort of attack on McCain's service and character...

Synova, I haven't seen any attacks on John McCain's military service. Where have you seen such attacks?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo,

Compare the economic outlook today to the economic outlook 8 years ago.

Get back to me when you figure it out.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo,

By the way, it's Clark, not Clarke.

Also, it's potato, not potatoe.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Cyrus- Comparing the economic outlook for just two years ago and today is even easier.

And the big difference is teh the Dems are now in charge of Congress.

Do you REALLY want to compare economic outlooks?

AlphaLiberal said...

Synova breaks ranks with other conservatives to make a substantive point.

"Setting war policy is, of course, experience that *no* candidate for president has"

Hey, good enough point. But how does being shot down and a POW for five years help with that?

People with decades often have strategy experience. I'm not aware McCain has this.

But we're not supposed to be discussing this. McCain is above criticism! He's a vet! Like Kerry and Cleland!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Sorry, Pal, but you speak for yourself, not for the men who served with Kerry. Try to remember that next time you post."

I believe she is speaking for her husband who served with Kerry. A wife is allowed to do that :-) Serving "with" someone in the military doesn't mean that you were sitting in each other's laps during the tour of duty. As I said before there are many who serve together in different capacities at the same time and the same place, and they know of and about each other. I would take the word of Pal's hubby over yours in a heartbeat and I know nothing of him, but I think I have a pretty good grasp of your character by your writings.

How about these guys or or these ? Can they have an opinion? They served with Kerry, or is it only the handful of people who were on a boat for a few weeks with Kerry that are acceptable to you?

reader_iam said...

[Plaintively]

I know (that and why) we have to discuss the 2008 election cycle, but do we have to redo the 2004 one, too?

[Slinks off to find anti-hives lotion]

Verso said...

Synova said, "this sort of attack on McCain's service and character"

Synova: can you actually quote some text of Clark saying anything that could be construed as an attack on McCain's service and character?

Please. I'm dying to see it. Somehow the librul media has blacked that part out and I haven't heard it. All I heard was Clark saying that being shot down doesn't qualify someone to be president.

Verso said...

Synova: "I don't know what comment thread Verso is reading... it must be the one inside his head."

My remarks were in response to the full blown meltdown over Clark's comments taking place today on right-wing talk radio, the right-wing blogs, and the cable news shows. Sorry you misunderstood.

Pal2Pal said...

Okay Cyrus, I'll speak for myself and myself alone. Here me roar: John Kerry is a slimeball piece of cr@p, who should have been tried for treason. How's that? Clear enough for you?

I won't fall back on conversations had before anyone ever heard of Kerry's name. I won't fall back on the teacher, who after listening to his testimony, told my 7 year old that "God doesn't listen to prayers for baby killers." I won't fall back on my own eyes and clothing that got splashed with raw sewage when a bunch of anti-war crazies threw a trashcan full of sewage on my uniformed hubby and in front of me and his then 4 year old son, while chanting all kinds of anti-war slogans and obscenities. I won't call on the millions who feel the same way as I do to cover my six. And I won't tell you in what utter contempt I PERSONALLY hold Kerry and his Winter Soldier/Code Pink minions and those who would defend him.

There do you "feel" better now.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I know (that and why) we have to discuss the 2008 election cycle, but do we have to redo the 2004 one, too?

Quite true. I'll stop.

The Democrats and their sock puppet Clark are making a big big mistake to try to make out McCain's military and POW experiences as being a negative. McCain's campaign isn't bringing up this as a qualification for President but more as a character atestation and part of McCain's history. When the Dems try to bring it up as a derogatory or try to dimish his POW experience they merely look petty, mean and desperate. They should continue.

Personally I think it, not commanding troops in battle, a non-issue. Presidents rely on their advisors and subordinates to give them information on which to make decisions. No one, not even Bush makes these command decisions in a vacuum.

The bigger issue is the attitudes of Obama vs McCain towards the military. Their understanding of what it is to be a soldier and how that might impact decisions.

AlphaLiberal said...

We've already spent a billion words on the accusations against, and defenses for, Kerry. We're now spending billions of words on McCain - Obama. Try to keep up, gang!

Columbia Journalism Review nails it:

"The McCain camp, sensing an opportunity, complained that Clark had “attacked John McCain’s military service record.” Of course, Clark had done nothing of the kind. He had questioned the relevance of McCain’s combat experience as a qualification to be president of the United States. This is a distinction that you’d expect any reasonably intelligent nine-year old to be able to grasp."

and this ....

"This is the perfect embodiment of the press’s unbelievably destructive habit of assessing every piece of campaign rhetoric for its political acuity, rather than for its validity and accuracy."

Yup. Few wingers rushing for the smelling salts today actually address the words Clark said. They're spanking their own straw monkey.

Pogo said...

Compare the economic outlook today to

Cyrus, you bonehead, it was the same.
The policies set in place then propelled us to where we are now.
Shee-hit, Cyrus. Wake up man.

Pogo said...

Cyrus said Clark, not Clarke

So far Cyrus gives me:
1. Bush is dumb.
2. Spelling error.
3. Compare now to then, (even though now came from then).

That's it?
Well, great comebacks, man.

gk1 said...

Obamabots,
Please stop digging. No one will think lesser of you or your candidate if you simply agree it was a foolish statement Clark made. As much trouble as obama is having trying to convince blue collar america he's a staight up guy, this crap really doesn't help.

Verso said...

Bunny said, The Democrats and their sock puppet Clark are making a big big mistake to try to make out McCain's military and POW experiences as being a negative.

What are you talking about? Cite a single source in which Clark or any Democrat of note "tr[ied] to make out McCain's military and POW experience as being a negative."

chuck b. said...

Clark is just being a good soldier for his party. Clark is putting the idea out there that people shouldn't consider McCain's experiences in VN. Obama can then make himself look good by distancing himself from Clark.

Two birds with one stone.

Very Clintonian.

chuck b. said...

Clarke.

chuck b. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Wasn't Clark a fool....

Absolutely. And not just for the reason you stated.

veni vidi vici said...

"Can Obama really win with a campaign whose motto is, "The buck stops over there."?"

I thought the motto was,

"That is not the buck I knew; however, I only knew the buck in passing."

veni vidi vici said...

"I know (that and why) we have to discuss the 2008 election cycle, but do we have to redo the 2004 one, too?"

This 2008 election is beelining for the crapper faster than even I expected it to.

All the 2004/military talk is bruised egos and vendettas against the Republicans b/c of how "they" "wronged" the Democrat candidate last time around. It's a load of dung, but just another batch of "issues to be worked through" in our therapy-culture.

Before any of you uber-wankers take offense, note that I'm perfectly comfortable pointing out that the Republicans do the same thing. Welcome to politics.

Unfortunately for those of us who live and try to thrive in this country and must suffer under the yoke of the DC elite's policymaking, we're going to get yet another bullshittified "debate" this time, with the figurative game of "kick the can" being played by substantive issues/policy folks out back, because there aren't any cameras.

Clark, or Clarke, or whatever his name is, is a campaign surrogate. You don't see non-affiliated's taking pole position on the Sunday shows at this point in the electoral cycle. Alpha Liberal did name the tune, though, particularly in the earlier posts before he started with the "wingers" and all that nonsense; when read or heard in context, Clark's comment is pretty anodyne.

Still, it should be disappointing to everyone who takes this stuff seriously (and not only as some sort of a scrimmage) that the Obama campaign appears to be blowing a real opportunity here. He set himself forth as the candidate of a new politics, but increasingly he and/or his surrogates are devolving into a standard issue campaign. Is it the Kennedy-wing backing that's beginning to show early signs of doing for him what it did for Kerry's campaign? What's next, hiring that 8-time loser Shrum to head the campaign?

Seriously, Obama's gotta be an idiot to be running on the attack the other guy's character/experience line, and not only because of the glass house he's living in. Just think:

Democrats have had 16 years now, upon which Obama's campaign could, from the Democratic perspective: (a) take the best of their legislative/policy works from the 90's, and (b) take lessons from the worst failings of the '00's.

With a candidate that could sell ice to eskimo's, so great are his oratorical and persuasive gifts, one would expect the campaign to be coming forward and articulating a lot of ideas, policy proposals and *ways of getting to where we should be*...

Instead, we're talking about what John F'in Kerry was doing during the 4 months that are "seared, seared" in his memory.

Thanks for the mammaries, John.

Seriously, step back from this for a minute and think -- not about McCain -- but about Obama '08, and why his campaign is wallowing in this particular mire. I don't understand it, other than in a very cynical way that doesn't speak well of Hopeism/Changeism. Time will tell...

vic

Verso said...

Admirably, Clark shows some spine and defends himself against the coordinated joint effort of the media and the Republican Party to smear and distort his innocent and accurate comments:

Clark Stands by Criticism

Funny: Even the headline on Huffington Post plays into the wingnut narrative, as if what Clark did was "criticism" and not simply a straightforward factual observation (being shot down doesn't qualify you to be president).

The Exalted said...

funny to see all the armchair qbs call the former commander of NATO a "fool" and/or a "flake" for pointing out the obvious in direct response to an insipid question

imagine if obama had literally made enemy propaganda films...would there be any end to your calls for treason charges?

i doubt it

The Exalted said...

hi pal2pal,

mccain finished 5th from bottom in his class, obama made harvard law review.

thanks for playing.

veni vidi vici said...

The argument that by having some footage or mention of being shot down in a bio-commercial McCain is claiming that the being a pilot, shot down, is a qualification for office, exposes a pretty lame mental facility. It's fairly obvious both in the said and unsaid aspects of McCain's campaign that that stuff is put out there to (a) acquaint the public with the candidate, and (b) to demonstrate character, loyalty, sense of duty, etc. If voters take that and abstract out from it that McCain's character is suitable for the office, that's up to them.

In a very similar vein, Obama has on several occasions opined that his having spent part of his life living abroad would give him certain insights and advantages to pursue international relations and diplomacy more successfully than past presidents, and ostensibly McCain as well. People may differ as to whether it's reasonable to surmise that a few years of elementary school (or having a certain skin color or ethnic-sounding name, for that matter) in another country would be a qualification for claiming enhanced diplomatic skillz, but people will take from these things what they wish to take.

Saying McCain's pilot footage in his commercials are a "claim of qualification to be president" is thus as reductively (in)accurate as arguing that Obama's Indonesian elementary school years signify he'll be a Jihadi sympathizer.

It's a stretch, in either case, and indicates shoddy thinking.

Allen said...

verso said "What are you talking about? Cite a single source in which Clark or any Democrat of note "tr[ied] to make out McCain's military and POW experience as being a negative."

Clark is the 7th of 8 Democrats who have now questioned McCain's military experience during the campaign.

Some examples:
WV Senator Jay Rockefeller: ""McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues."

IA Senator Tom Harkin:
"Republican presidential candidate John McCain's family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, "and he has a hard time thinking beyond that. I think he's trapped in that. Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous."

The 8th, from an Obama advisor, argued Monday that the former POW's isolation during the Vietnam War has hobbled the Arizona senator's capacity as a war-time leader.

“Sadly, Sen. McCain was not available during those times, and I say that with all due respect to him," said informal Obama adviser Rand Beers. "I think that the notion that the members of the Senate who were in the ground forces or who were ashore in Vietnam have a very different view of Vietnam and the cost that you described than John McCain does because he was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil here or the challenges that were involved for those of us who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam war."

"So I think," he continued, "to some extent his national security experience in that regard is sadly limited and I think it is reflected in some of the ways that he thinks about how U.S. forces might be committed to conflicts around the world."

This is an orchestrated campaign to turn one of McCain's biggest positives (his character, as demonstrated by his military service and POW status) into a negative.

Synova said...

Thanks to Allen for doing the heavy lifting.

"Synova, I haven't seen any attacks on John McCain's military service. Where have you seen such attacks?"

Cyrus and Verso, the quotes Allen supplied are the context I was thinking of as well as dtl's hyperventilating and other references to supposed shameful actions taken by McCain while a prisoner.

Obviously some people on the right have taken the opportunity to use Clark's comments against Obama while people on the left have taken the opportunity to embrace the (misunderstood) message that McCain's experiences are not only not a plus, but are minuses. What I've said is that Wes Clark talks about Wes Clark. Assuming what he says has anything to do with Obama is assuming quite a bit on little evidence.

And Alpha, really, how can I break ranks with conservatives? I realize that it's nice to think that those people over there aren't *thinking* but are following some script... except that it's almost entirely not true. I'm not part of any ranks from which to break.

I am, however (and entirely irrelevantly), darned good at calling cadence.

downtownlad said...

So Ann and the rest of the wingnuts now think that being a fighter pilot and getting shot down instantly qualifies you to be President. And to say otherwise is to attack their service to their country.

How low they have sunk.

reader_iam said...

No, no, no and no.

Also, no.

downtownlad said...

Synova - You are a fool. I never once said that McCain's actions were shameful. I was MOCKING you and the rest of the wingnuts, since you were the one being shameful by attacking Kerry's service. But your IQ is too low to pick up on that.

downtownlad said...

Maybe Obama should disavow Clark's statements when Ann disavows the statements of her friends:

1) Dr Helen's statement that the APA should endorse e-gay therapy.

2) Volokh's statement that gays recruit children

3) Daniel Henniger's statement that all gays are child molesters and can be put on a scale of 1-10 in that category.

4) Powerline's statement that America should go back to the days when gays were executed for having sex.

downtownlad said...

SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn’t had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.

CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Redneck wrote:

Comparing the economic outlook for just two years ago and today is even easier.

Redneck, since I don't believe you are seriously interested in examining the performance of the economy during any period of Bush's stewardship, I'll limit this comparison to a few easily understood indices.

First, the unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted):

May, 2000: 4.0%
May, 2006: 4.7%
May, 2008: 5.5%

Second, the annual budget surplus/deficit (in millions):

2000: +236,241 (surplus)
2006: -248,181 (deficit)
2008: -239,387 (deficit)

Third, real disposable personal income (in billions):

2000: 4.8
2006: 3.1
2008: 1.4 (data available for Q1 only)

Fourth, poverty rate:

2000: 11.3%
2006: 12.3%
2008: no data

Redneck, the implication of your post--that the national economic outlook in 2006 was rosy, or even decent, compared to 2000--simply isn't supported by basic economic data. The performance of the economy during the Bush years has been remarkably poor.

Your attempt to blame Democrats for the current economy is highly amusing. I suggest you review the economic trends since Bush took office and get back to me when you come to grips with economic reality.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

DBQ wrote:

I believe she is speaking for her husband who served with Kerry. A wife is allowed to do that :-)

Perhaps, but that's not what she wrote:

"The men who served with him do not honor his service..."

Sorry, but she doesn't speak for "the men who served with him."

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo, compare the economic outlook today to the economic outlook 8 years ago.

Cyrus, you bonehead, it was the same. The policies set in place then propelled us to where we are now.

Dumb. Really, exceptionally dumb. The economic outlook is NOT the same today as it was eight years ago. Nor was the trajectory of the economy determined only by policies set in place before Bush became president.

Think before you post, please.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

So far Cyrus gives me:
1. Bush is dumb.
2. Spelling error.
3. Compare now to then, (even though now came from then).

That's it?
Well, great comebacks, man.


1. Actually, Pogo, you gave me "Bush was dumb." (See your post of 4:59 PM.) I was simply trying to be agreeable when I concurred (5:20 PM).

2. Considering that Clark's name was spelled correctly a hundred times or so in the comments prior to yours, and it was spelled correctly in Althouse's blog entry, and it was spelled correctly in the articles to which Althouse links, it's generous of you to refer to your use of "Clarke" as a simple spelling error. I think of it as your "Quayle moment." (Or, if you prefer, your "Quayl moment.")

Anyway, lighten up. That certainly wasn't the first stupid thing you've posted here and it's highly unlikely to be the last. :)

3. You can't "compare now to then," huh? And that's because, in Pogospeak, "now came from then?" Very interesting. Idiotic, but very interesting.

Pogo, as a doctor, how do you evaluate treatments given to patients? Since "now comes from then," do you see this as an impossible task?

Pogo, as I suggested before, think before you post. :)

Pogo said...

Nor was the trajectory of the economy determined only by policies set in place before Bush became president.

Not only, Cyrus (your typical false and passive-aggressive argunmentation style is intact, I see).
But mostly.
It's called Greenspan.
His policies, plus the easing of borrowing rules enacted by both GOP and Dem congressmen, are directly to blame.

And Cyrus, come on.
Spelling?
Bush is dumb?

That's your level of discussion?
You used to have the slippery-but-polite thing going for you. What gives? Are you actually Amanda Marcotte? I mean, really; are you? Cause that would be really really funny, showing up here all of a sudden after Ann posts about Feministing and all, it makes sense.

Hilarious.

Since "now comes from then,"
In medicine, as in economics, past is prologue. It sets the stage for the future, although not determining it for certain. If 'now' I have muscle aches, it may indeed have come from 'then', when I started a new statin drug.

Does that clarify things for you?

BTW, I misspelled a word herein, just to give you something to chew on. Enjoy!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo,

Your understanding of economics is dreadful. Greenspan is not to blame for the massive budget deficits of the Bush administration. He is not responsible for the Bush tax cuts. He is not responsible for the Bush budgets. You greatly overestimate his influence. And more to the point, as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Greenspan was judged to be highly supportive of Bush's fiscal policies.

Also, to the extent that you want to blame Greenspan for the grim economic performance during the Bush years, I remind you that in 2004, Bush nominated Greenspan for a fifth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. If Bush didn't feel Greenspan was doing a good job, why would he nominate him for another term? (By the way, do you understand the meaning of the saying "The buck stops here?")

Oh, one last thing... Your explanation of your idiotic "now comes from then" comment shows that you still haven't stopped to think before you post. You claimed earlier that the consequences of the fiscal policies of the Bush administration can't be judged because "now comes from then" (i.e., the trajectory of the economy was determined largely by policies put in place before Bush took office and not significantly influenced by fiscal policy since). In your recent example, you try to suggest that your "now comes from then" refers to something as simple as "cause and effect" (e.g., muscle aches following the use of a statin drug). Well Pogo, your two positions are not consistent, so which is it? Why, as you claimed earlier, is the economic outlook today "the same" as it was in 2000 in spite of eight years of significant events and changes in fiscal policy? Or was your silly "now comes from then" comment just your way of wriggling away from a difficult question that you don't care to face? If so, I'm sorry; I don't intend to make you squirm by confronting you with reality-based analysis.

Pogo said...

And you overestimate the effect of the budget deficits (which are no great shakes, by %GDP), or the President, on the economy. A common enough mistake.

The current market debacle took root in Greenspan's staunch efforts to keep inflation low (the 'then' which set the stage for the market 'now'). The budget deficit has little if anything to do with it. The economic outlook is the same now as then because the financial underpinnings are unchanged. But soon, very soon, inflation will rise significantly, and the Fed won't be able to do a damn thing about it, because all of their responses are set at maximum already. We are looking alot like Japan in the late 1980s.

The key now is that a Democratic Congress will be sorely tempted, FDR-like, to spend and spend and tax and tax and erect trade barriers. Then we'll look like the US in 1932.

You're wrong, Amanda.

Hoosier Daddy said...

We are looking alot like Japan in the late 1980s.

Cue the Vapours!

Well tax cuts were a great way to stimulate the economy and always have been provided of course spending is reigned in which it hasn't been.

I certainly won't argue that Bush has been a great steward of the economy but I don't hold out much hope that Bambi's policies will do much more than extend the misery index further. Tax hikes, even more spending aren't going to do much to alleviate an already deteroriating economy.

It would be nice if we could go back to the 90s where fiscal responsibility ruled the roost and wealth creation was encouraged instead of villified and threatened with 'windfall profits taxes'.

Without a doubt the GOP lost thier way in that respect. Perhaps we do need a second Carter term to get back on track.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Second, the annual budget surplus/deficit (in millions):

2000: +236,241 (surplus)
2006: -248,181 (deficit)
2008: -239,387 (deficit)"


Projected surplus. The surplus was projected on anticipated tax revenues which didn't appear because the market took a huge crap in March 2000, capital gains rates were not conducive to liquidating assets until the values had gone down and income tax levels while higher didn't produce the level of revenues anticipated.

It is a myth that there was a surplus of the amount you quote. Projections are just guesses.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

err/ **beginning in March 2000

former law student said...

pogo -- this "cyrus = marcotte" meme is dopey, and makes you look dopey.

Roger J. said...

The notion that the President has that much impact on the nation's economy seems to me to be rather fanciful. Others MMV. What has been fun is to watch Allen Greenspan's pronouncements after he was replaced: looks to me he is trying very hard to burnish his legacy at the expense of his replacment.

Pogo said...

this "cyrus = marcotte" meme is dopey

Lots of things make me look dopey. My hair, my unfortunate face, my complete lack of style, my vestigial tail.

But I'm actually serious about Cyrus being Amanda, though. It's been raised here before. I could be wrong, I readily admit.

The Exalted said...

marcotte is a putz, cyrus comes off quite well.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

And you overestimate the effect of the budget deficits (which are no great shakes, by %GDP), or the President, on the economy. A common enough mistake.

Incorrect. In fact, the nature of current budget deficits have had a powerful influence on other aspects of the economy. But let me start by correcting a serious factual error you've made.

Bush's budget deficits (as a percentage of GDP) in 2003 and 2004 were the largest since another Republican president was in the White House (Poppy Bush). And his budget deficits (as a percentage of GDP) were preceded by the previous Republican president's (Reagan's) series of deficits. And his budget deficits were the largest since the previous Republican president's (Ford's) deficits. In the post WW2 era, budget deficits (as a percentage of GDP) have exceeded 3% 16 times. In every instance, the deficit resulted from the budget of a Republican president. Here's the breakdown:

Ford (2)
Reagan (7)
Poppy Bush (4)
Bush (3)

However, using deficit as a percentage of GDP is a crude tool. It ignores how the budget deficit is created and what the long term cost to the American taxpayer is. There are two simple alternative indices that give far more information about the implications and real size of budget deficits.

The first of these indices removes federal trust funds from the analysis. (I assume you know what federal trust funds are.) This really amounts to honest accounting. It's informative to look at how the true historical federal deficit picture (as a percentage of GDP) changes with this analysis. Some highlights:

[FBD = Federal Budget Deficit as a percentage of GDP

FBDXTF = Federal Budget Deficit (exclusive of federal trust funds) as a percentage of GDP]

YEAR | FBD | FBDXTF

1975 -3.4% -3.9%
1976 -4.2% -4.4%

1982 -4.0% -4.2%
1983 -6.0% -6.7%
1984 -4.8% -5.4%
1985 -5.1% -6.4%
1986 -5.0% -6.4%
1987 -3.2% -4.8%
1988 -3.1% -5.1%

1990 -3.9% -5.9%
1991 -4.5% -6.4%
1992 -4.7% -6.2%
1993 -3.9% -5.4%

2002 -1.5% -3.5%
2003 -3.5% -5.1%
2004 -3.6% -5.2%
2005 -2.6% -4.5%

What this table shows is that the rate of borrowing from federal trust funds in order to conceal deficit spending has increased since the Ford and early Reagan years. Because of this substantial increase in borrowing from federal trust funds, for example, the Bush deficit of 2005 is, in honest accounting terms, larger than either Ford deficit (as a percentage of GDP). This fact is generally ignored or unknown by Bush apologists.

A second alternative index for measuring the impact of budget deficits is to scale the surplus/deficit according to federal revenue. This makes good sense because GDP does not reflect the ability of the government to pay for its debt. For the sake of continuity, I've calculated federal deficits (excluding federal trust funds) as a percentage of federal revenue (excluding federal trust fund revenue). Again, here are the highlights:

[FBDXTF* = Federal budget deficit (excluding trust funds) relative to federal revenue (excluding trust fund revenue)]

YEAR | FBDXTF*

1975 -32.3%
1976 -37.8%

1982 -32.8%
1983 -60.5%
1984 -51.9%
1985 -57.8%
1986 -59.7%
1987 -39.6%
1988 -45.1%

1990 -53.6%
1991 -59.3%
1992 -58.8%
1993 -50.3%

2002 -32.5%
2003 -54.2%
2004 -55.0%
2005 -42.4%

As you can see, the Bush deficits of 2003 and 2004 are two of the seven largest budget deficits in the last 60 years. Contrary to what you claim, the Bush deficits are exceptional due to their size and nature. However, to think otherwise is a common mistake made by those who are inclined to repeat partisan talking points rather than to explore and understand economic concepts.

Finally, it's worth noting again that all of the massive budget deficits of the past 60 years are the product of so-called "conservatives." This is the basis of one of the big lies of the GOP of Reagan and Bush--simply put, there is nothing remotely conservative about the big government, massive deficit, wild spending fiscal policies of Republicans. The GOP has forfeited claim to fiscal conservatism. The historical record doesn't lie.

Fiscal policy isn't the only issue for which Republicans have abandoned conservative principles. Unfortunately, truth in advertising doesn't seem to apply to those rightwingers who, like Bush, babble about their "conservatism" while failing to apply conservative principles to their politics.

Pogo said...

1. There is nothing remotely conservative about the big government, massive deficit, wild spending fiscal policies of the combined Democrat-Republican Congresses over the last 48 years. I doubt anyone would disagree with that. (Republicans have controlled Congress for just 10 of the past 48 years.)

2. "The GOP has forfeited claim to fiscal conservatism."
No one would dispute that, hence their fall into disfavor. But the Democrats are about to elect Obama, who is the quintessential big government, massive deficit, wild spending liberal. Are you suggesting the US should write in Fred Thompson?

3. The concealment of deficit spending that has increased since 1960 is done primarily to hide the massive social spending needed to support Medicare and Social Security. Cyrus, are you proposing we cut their funding and privatize?

4. Your post does nothing, however, to clarify your claim regarding the effect of the budget deficit on the economy. It merely says 'the budget deficit is really really big'. Well, no shit. No one argues it has no effect on the economy.

The housing and debt crises and the related market meltdowns are not due to the budget deficit.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

DBQ wrote:

Projected surplus. The surplus was projected on anticipated tax revenues which didn't appear because the market took a huge crap in March 2000...

It is a myth that there was a surplus of the amount you quote.


DBQ, your information is wrong. According to historical tables in the federal budget for fiscal year 2008, the budget data for year 2000 is as follows (in millions of dollars):

Total receipts: 2,025,457
Total outlays: 1,789,216
Surplus: 236,241

This is an actual surplus, not a projected surplus as you claim. The data from my earlier post (that you cite) is taken directly from the federal budget tables. It is certainly not a myth.

In light of my comments in the previous post, the surplus of 2000 is noteworthy in that it is the ONLY surplus of the Clinton years that didn't require borrowing from federal trust fund revenue. Therefore, in honest accounting terms, it corresponds to a real (although relatively small) surplus. The last time that happened was 1960.

Pogo said...

Cyrus,
All a 2000 surplus could possibly demonstrate is that during a bubble economy, tax revenues soar. During the inevitable crash after the bacchanal, tax revenues dwindle.

So what?
Is that supposed to be news, or revelatory? Instructive? How?
What's the lesson?
"Have a bubble economy as often as possible"?

The last time that happened was 1960.
I like Ike.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

The concealment of deficit spending that has increased since 1960 is done primarily to hide the massive social spending needed to support Medicare and Social Security. Cyrus, are you proposing we cut their funding and privatize?

No. You should familiarize yourself with the historical budget data. Federal trust fund receipts have exceeded federal trust fund outlays every year since the early 1960s. The annual federal trust fund surplus is substantial. The concern about Social Security, for example, is adequate future funding, not--as you imply--current funding.

Some critics of federal spending have suggested a pay-as-you-go approach. One problem with this is that it encourages political cowardice (which is certainly not in short supply). The opposite is actually a more sensible approach: tax-as-you-go. If Americans are unhappy with their federal tax bill, they can let their representatives know at election time. Moreover, it will make clear to Americans that foreign adventures come at a real cost (aside from the cost in human lives) and require sacrifice from everyone.

Pogo said...

The annual federal trust fund surplus is substantial.
Although the words "trust fund" do not actually convey anything meaningful. It's all money that Congress thinks they can -and should- spend. It's not held in trust for anyone at all. It's money in = money out.

While the concern may not yet be about Social Security, it most assuredly is about current funding of Medicare and Medicaid, as has been true since about 1980.

a more sensible approach: tax-as-you-go.
Not entirely unreasonable. If we mandated a personal savings plan in addition to this, it might work.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

All a 2000 surplus could possibly demonstrate is that during a bubble economy, tax revenues soar.

No. Federal budget deficits (as a percentage of GDP) begin to shrink dramatically by 1994. This corresponded to the Clinton tax increase which generated more federal revenue. (Additionally, the Clinton budget cut spending as a fraction of GDP.)

It's a simple lesson: since WW2, in constant dollars, federal income tax increases have resulted in federal income tax revenue increases. Conversely, in constant dollars, federal income tax cuts have resulted in a decrease in federal income tax revenue.

If you look at historical federal budget data, you will see that during the Bush years, federal spending as a percentage of GDP is reasonably consistent with federal spending during the Clinton years. The difference is that federal revenue as a percentage of GDP has dropped substantially. Can you say "irresponsible tax cuts?" (I'm referring to the tax cuts that McCain opposed before he supported them. Flip, flop.)

Ultimately, of course, the American people are to blame. They greedily bought into the stupidity of Bush's "it's your money" sales pitch in reference to the projected budget surpluses. Not surprisingly, once Team Bush started to create massive deficits again, Bush didn't suggest raising taxes with an "it's your debt" sales pitch.

The stewardship of the economy by Bush is remarkably similar to his performance as an oil tycoon--miserable. There's no excuse for anyone saying they didn't see this coming.

Roger J. said...

The data Cyrus cites speaks to relative and absolute size of the deficit; but Cyrus has not told us, as both DBQ and Pogo note, what effect those deficits have on the overall economy, other than "a powerful influence...." Perhaps Cyrus could inform us exactly what that influence is and how it correlates with budget deficit.

I was interested enough to wonder is there a correlation between size of deficit and growth of personal income? or corporate profits? or exchange rate for the dollar? or tax revenues? I ran a few of those on excel, correlating them with budget deficit and except for exchange rate for the dollar--to be expected, I think, the size of the deficit does not have much impact on those particular measures. Perhaps there are other that constitute that powerful effect. Merely reciting data, fails to make the case Cyrus is asserting.

Pogo said...

I agree.
Cyrus, you seem to conflate the relative budget deficit with "the stewardship of the economy".

Moreover, not all consider a decline in federal revenues as a bad thing. I for one think such decreases should be hurried and augmented.

Roger J. said...

oops: the data speak

The Exalted said...

where is the evidence of obama's so-called wild spending urges?

blake said...

where is the evidence of obama's so-called wild spending urges?

Where is the evidence of his frugality?

Indeed, where is there evidence of...anything?

stuart b said...

is this website associated with fox news?