When Obama chose to not wear the flag pin on his lapel early in the campaign process, he said something to the effect of choosing to portray his patriotism through his actions rather than his attire. What a breath of fresh air. Everyone knew, of course, that this was risky behavior since most of the country has limited its exposure to the world around them to the info-bits (news nibbles?) that scroll across the bottom of their TV screens while they watch Facts of Life reruns (or should I say, “reFUNs”!!) and scarf their trans-fatty, high fructose corn syrup-laden bacon-flavored pop tarts.
So yesterday when Obama did his speech about “patriotism” (spurred, in part, by Wesley Clark’s comments about John “Cracker” McCain’s time in the military), that fucking flag pin reared its tacky head, sitting there on his lapel. Is this really what it comes down to? Who’s wearing a fucking flag pin? As for sound bites, when you hear Clark’s comment in context, it’s not so controversial. In fact, here ‘tis:
Bob Schieffer: Well you, you went so far as to say that you thought John McCain was, quote, and these are your words, “untested and untried,” And I must say I, I had to read that twice, because you’re talking about somebody who was a prisoner of war. He was a squadron commander of the largest squadron in the Navy. He’s been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for lo these many years. How can you say that John McCain is un- untested and untried? General?
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk. It’s a matter of gauging your opponents, and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. 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 Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in Air- in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn’t a wartime squadron. 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. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it-‘
Bob Schieffer: Well-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: ‘ -it publicly.’ He hasn’t made those calls, Bob.
Bob Schieffer: Well, well, General, maybe-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: So-
Bob Schieffer: Could I just interrupt you. If-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure.
Bob Schieffer: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.
In context it’s not so controversial, is it? Clark calls McCain a personal hero. All he was saying is that being shot down does not a President make. Duh. Of course, history shows us that being a military drop out and former coke head DOES make a good President, so…
In summary, this.