Sunday, August 03, 2008

Meat, The Press

The first thing you have to say about the once-venerable Meet The Press, is that we all think we personally knew Tim Russert, and we can tell that Tom Brokaw is no Tim Russert.

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!).

MR. BROKAW:
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:
But...
MR. BROKAW:
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.
In short, Wesley Clark's distinguished career certainly and uniquely qualifies him to take the full measure of a poseur like John McCain.

But what is such a freaking stunner is that none of this occurred to John Kerry.

10 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Emily said...

Vigil:

I was sickened watching Brokaw toss softballs to Joe Lieberman (whose political affiliation was identified as "I/D", standing, I guess, for "Independent/Democrat", which also infuriated me, as Lieberman is clearly a Busheney-McCain toady) while throwing punches to the midsection of John Kerry, who appeared befuddled and inchoate at times.

I winced as Kerry denounced Wes Clark's totally appropriate and accurate comment that McCain's behavior as a POW, while admirable, does not mean that McCain is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of our military.

But not until I read the actual transcript which you provided, did I realize how cleverly Brokaw got to Kerry. Brokaw's suggestion that Clark's criticism of McCain was similar to the criticisms Kerry endured in his 1994 run for the Presidency, clearly hit home with Kerry, rendering him, yet again, helpless to put together a coherent thought.

Our Country (and Obama, as well) needs women and men of good will who are able to speak simply and clearly about the multitude of very real issues facing us as a nation. Wes Clark's words are an important first step, but we desperately need others who will dare to speak truth to power. I am so fed up with politicians (and mainstream media pundits) who pander, obfuscate, spin, distort, and lie.

8/04/2008 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

Kerry looked "bufuddled and inchoate at times" because he was.

8/04/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

And speaking of softballs, George Stephanopoulos did everything possible to help Nancy Pelosi pull herself out of a hole Sunday, but Pelosi was determined to just dig deeper....

No wonder John McCain said he was "looking forward to working with her" when he becomes President.

8/04/2008 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

emily, you just said it all.

8/04/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

Absolutely, emily. Liberman makes my stomach churn. But, yes, Brokaw did a great job—one of the fairly good journalists left.

Vig, great points on Clark. Much as I enjoy blogging with Mad Mike and K, I am convinced Clark is the best choice. MacDaddy, unfortunately, is right. Funny thing. I was just visiting Boston Maggie, who was highly critical of Kerry (she showed a picture of him as a "party animal") and proceeded to go off on Pelosi.

What could I say, except,(brief comment) Maggie, LOL: both the progressives and conservatives don't like them, either. We could have done so much better.

And on it goes...

8/04/2008 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger schmog said...

Look, we all know Kerry is a bonehead. I don't know how this guy still gets to be the face of the DP after the 2004 debacle. I recall one specific moment during the debates where I knew Kerry was going to lose. Kerry was asked about Iraq, and the decision to go in. He almost gave a good answer -he was about to say "it didn't pass the smell test". At the last second, he hesitated at where the word "smell" would go, and instead opted for "global". He got clobbered for it, and I don't blame everyone for doing so. Global test... gimme a break. It was all so obvious he was scared of saying the wrong thing, and couldn't keep his wits about him when confronted with a defining moment.

I missed MTP, but it doesn't surprise me then that he got walked on, and didn't raise fighting talking points to refute Lieberman's rediculousness. Leiberman is a boob, but you don't need to be a genius to recite GOP talking points....

Barack (more specifically, his campaign) needs to hit back against McCain HARD. Period.

8/04/2008 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Ain't watching Meet the Press until they get someone better. Send Brokaw back to the ranch.

8/04/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Stella:

If I had as little faith in Barack Obama as some do, I'd believe this rumor. But I don't, so I don't.

8/05/2008 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

And, I agree, Beach: MSNBC ought to go one way or the other way: Either get someone in with serious gravitas like Rachel Maddow to moderate the show, or let any one take it but add a laugh track.

8/05/2008 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Schmog writes:

"Barack (more specifically, his campaign) needs to hit back against McCain HARD. Period."

I couldn't agree more. At the risk of shameless self-promotion please see my 5 ways the dems can lose an unloseable election; not responding to attack ads is one of them.

8/07/2008 12:27:00 PM  

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