Although unsigned, the Washington Post's editorial about Gen. Clark's comments about McCain got off to a decent... first paragraph. Then this:
Casting guilt by surrogate association is a bipartisan affliction, so ours is a nonpartisan lament: Cut it out! The Clark blooper is no more revealing than was the Charles R. Black Jr. pseudo-outrage or the James A. Johnson ersatz scandal. What Gen. Clark had to say - that Sen. John McCain's military experience was not "a qualification to be president" -- was stupid, substantively and politically.Except Gen. Clark did not say anything of the sort.
Moderator Bob Schieffer, who raised the issue by citing similar remarks Clark has made previously, noted that Obama hadn't had those experiences nor had he ridden in a fighter plane and been shot down. "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," Clark replied.So the Washington Post's attack on Clark is a fabrication - a smear - and the author doesn't have the courage to sign his name to it. Go figure.
By the same token, there's also no reason to believe that Gen. Clark's blunder has anything to do with Mr. Obama's fitness for the presidency. Had Mr. Obama not immediately repudiated the comments, that would be noteworthy. Under the circumstances, we find it hard to understand why this was even a one-day story.Could it be... because reporters and pundits who are dishonest, inept, or both keep mischaracterizing Gen. Clark's comment? Really - could it?
The Post suggests that the Obama campaign may have been behind the remark:
If Sen. Barack Obama's campaign somehow whispered in Gen. Clark's ear to adopt this approach, the campaign has obviously been taken over by people other than the smooth crew that helped Mr. Obama win the Democratic nomination.Is there any basis for that innuedo? If not, why compund the sin of misrepresenting Gen. Clark's comment by breathing life into baseless innuendo?
Update: Giving credit where credit is due, Maureen Dowd remembers the 2000 campaign:
When McCain zoomed in the New Hampshire polls in 2000, W.’s supporters insinuated that McCain’s years in Vietcong dungeons, including two suicide attempts, left him with snakes in his head.
Now McCain is trying to magnify the words of Obama surrogates on Vietnam to tarnish his self-styled postpartisan rival as partisan. On the way to Colombia, he talked about Clark and said it was time for Obama to “cut him loose.”
Yet McCain himself has joked: “It doesn’t take a lot of talent to get shot down. I was able to intercept a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane.”