1996: Bob Dole is a war hero!
Clinton is a draft dodger! WORSHIP THE WAR HERO!
2000: Forget the war! Ignore the potential Vietnam-era AWOL-ness of our candidate, and his complete lack of foreign policy knowledge! He's got integrity!
2004: So what your candidate actually fought and was injured in the same war during which our candidate was so very much NOT AWOL! We mock his service and question the legitimacy of his injuries! Have a purple band-aid to wear at our convention!
2008: Only a certified war hero can lead this country! WORSHIP THE WAR HERO!
h/t TPM http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/
What did General Wesley Clark actually say?:
On Sunday, Clark said on CBS that McCain had never held “executive responsibility” or commanded a squadron during wartime.
Asked about the fact that McCain was shot down in Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for five years, Clark replied: “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”
That is NOT an attack on McCain's military service or heroism. It's a statement on his qualifications. Period.
And then there's this from "Think Progress:"
- During an interview with National Journal, John McCain was asked if “military service inherently makes somebody better equipped to be commander-in-chief.” McCain said, “Absolutely not…I absolutely don’t believe that it’s necessary.” [National Journal, 2/15/2003]
- I believe that military service is the most honorable endeavor an American may undertake. But I’ve never believed that lack of military service disqualifies one from occupying positions of political leadership or as Commander and Chief. In America, the people are sovereign, and they decide who is and is not qualified to lead us. [American Legion Speech, 9/7/1999]
- Earlier this year at Washington’s Gridiron Club, where humor is the required fare, McCain lay bare what underlies his candidacy. Wearing a jacket outlandishly festooned with dozens of fake military medals, McCain said, “The question I ask myself every morning while shaving in front of the mirror is: OK, John, you’re an incredible war hero, an inspiration to all Americans. But what qualifies you to be president of the United States?” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/7/1999]
Again, I'd like to remind the GOPers that they weren't so sensitive when their attack dogs questioned the LOYALTY of Max Clelland, a triple-amputee who served his country in Viet Nam and when their attack dogs mocked John Kerry's service to his country. John Kerry volunteered to fight in Viet Nam; President Bunnypants chose not to go to Viet Nam, instead he was in the safe TANG, where his daddy got him a safe assignment.