Meat, The Press
In today's edition, Brokaw lost control. He let Joseph Lieberman walk all over John Kerry. Joe, who really couldn't put together a paragraph length statement on any subject, was allowed to run up his minutes of noise by interrupting Kerry's statements. It was so pathetically transparent, that Trophy Wife was totally disgusted and turned off the TIVO-ed MTP and switched to Animal Planet. Meat the Press was so zoo-like, it was 90 seconds before I recognized that the channel had been changed.
But, in truth, it could be argued that the polite and urbane Kerry allowed himself to be walked on. He also missed key Democratic talking points every minute and apparently couldn't hear our cues shouted at the TV. To pick just one egregious example, there was this exchange which caused such an outburst from us that Ballou started barking (again!).
We're going to get to all those issues, but I also want to raise what a surrogate for Senator Obama had to say to my friend Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation." This is former General Wesley Clark talking about John McCain. He said, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." He described him as untested and untried. With all due respect, Senator Kerry, he could have been talking about your qualifications. You're a Vietnam veteran...SEN. KERRY:
Yeah, I, I don't agree. I don't agree with Wes Clark's comment. I think it was entirely inappropriate. I have nothing but enormous respect for John McCain's service. I had the privilege of standing with John McCain in the, in the cell in Hanoi when we visited there together, when we worked on the issue of Vietnam together. It was an emotional moment. I, I have awe for John McCain's experience as a prisoner of war, and he, and he does understand duty and service. But...MR. BROKAW:
But unless...SEN. KERRY:
Unless I missed it, though, Senator Obama has not specifically rebuked Wesley Clark's comments.SEN. KERRY:
Oh, I think they--I thought--I did, and others did, and I thought Obama had at the time.And Kerry goes on to change the subject. He slunk away without uttering single word about the context of General Wesley Clark's comments which included respect for McCain's service and heroism.
Even more outrageous, John Kerry never stood up for his comrade-in-arms. Not one mention of:
- Clark's entrance into West Point at the age of 17, where he graduated first in his class.
- His record at West Point which won him a Rhodes scholarship, and in 1966 he headed to England for two years of study at Oxford University. He passed his Oxford exams in two years and left to go to Army Ranger School for 72 days of training before leaving for Vietnam.
- While he was a 25-year old Army captain in Vietnam, Clark commanded of a mechanized infantry company, One day, while on patrol in the jungle looking for Viet Cong, he was shot four times. Continuing to command his troops despite his wounds, he gave a series of orders, and his soldiers quickly overran the enemy positions. His bravery in battle earned him a Silver Star.
- He was the commanding general of the Army's National Training Center during the Persian Gulf War, and later conducted three emergency deployments to Kuwait as the commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
- In 1994, General Clark was named director for strategic plans and policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- A few months later, General Clark worked out a peace plan for Bosnia that would prove militarily enforceable.
- After serving as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Southern Command (1997), General Clark was selected for one of the top posts in the military: Supreme Allied Commander of NATO - a position first held by General Eisenhower.
- As Supreme Allied Commander, General Clark commanded NATO forces during the war in Kosovo - and won the war in a way few thought possible: with air power alone, without a single allied combat death, while holding together the alliance of 19 nations, and isolating Milosevic from his allies.
- General Clark ended 38-year career of public service in the United States Army, as a four-star general, a trainer of soldiers, a leader of troops, equally accomplished in war and in peace.
But what is such a freaking stunner is that none of this occurred to John Kerry.