Truth is Outrageous and Offensive

For all of 2007, the big three network newscasts devoted 1,157 minutes for the war in Iraq. Halfway through 2008, they’ve offered up a meager 181 minutes. Instead, the mainstream media inflates generic non-issues into The Most Pressing News Story of the Week. The latest hullabaloo is over one sentence by Gen. Wesley Clark, during an interview with Bob Schieffer:”Well I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”To which ol’ Bob startles and blurts out: “Really?!”Context for this exchange can be found in the YouTube video (start at 2:15 if you’re impatient). There is, of course, a case to be made that the pundits are simply ignoring context but I’ll let you watch and be the judge.Instead, let’s just look at the sentence itself in isolation: “Well I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.” This is patently, obviously true to anybody who doesn’t have a show on FoxNews. Out of our 43 presidents, a solid 0 of them have ever flown a fighter plane and been shot down. All of them, nevertheless, were still elected and many of them were really rather great presidents. Some 415 planes were shot down in Vietnam — are all those pilots now qualified to be president? Is this debate anything other than Orwellian absurdity? Let’s be clear: Sen. John McCain is qualified to be president (as much as anybody can be for such an immense job). But his qualifications do not include “I got shot down.” It’s an insult to the man to reduce his career to that.Rep. Kevin DeWine e-mailed me (ok: and millions of others) last night to complain about Gen. Clark and, by association, Sen. Obama. Kevin DeWine is from Fairborn and shares my first name, so I feel some affinity for the man. His second cousin is Mike DeWine, formerly an Ohio senator and now Distinguished Fellow at Cedarville University’s Center for Political Studies. Kevin DeWine is, unfortunately, a man of barely any intellectual honesty. Let’s see what tripe he spat out:

Outrageous and offensive.There’s just no other way to describe the gutter campaign tactic the Obama campaign pulled Sunday.“I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.” That’s what Obama spokesman Gen. Wesley Clark said Sunday on national television.Sadly, it’s not the first time the Democrats have tried to smear John McCain’s war record, and it won’t be the last.Will you contribute $100, $250, or $500 today to help us push back?We’re building an Ohio defense fund to counter these insidious attacks by Sen. Obama and his supporters.John McCain spent five years being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. His heroic service to our nation stands in stark contrast to Sen. Obama’s thin record (that doesn’t contain a single day of military duty).Please help us fight back.Your contribution of $100, $250, or $500 will help us build a defense fund here in Ohio so we can counter these slash and burn tactics by a candidate who promised a “new” kind of politics but delivers more of the same.Kevin DeWineDeputy Chairman of Disinformation

Outrageous and offensive. That’s what Rep. DeWine thinks the truth is. He doesn’t get two sentences in without lying: Gen. Wesley Clark spoke, of his own free will, on Sunday — the Obama campaign did not “pull” anything Sunday. You’d think the GOP forgot for a minute who was actually running.Secondly, note that Rep. DeWine simply repeats the Clark quote without explaining anything. Why, Kevin DeWine, is that quote offensive? Kevin DeWine doesn’t want to have to try and explain because he’d quickly discover the impossibility. I’d love to hear Mr. DeWine explicate how being shot down in a foreign country is, de facto, a qualification to hold our nation’s highest office.Lastly, Rep. DeWine’s sly inclusion of Sen. Obama’s lack of military record is so ironic that I almost choked: my distinguished representative from Xenia, Fairborn, and Beavercreek himself has not served a single day in the armed forces — and the supposedly offensive quote comes from (get this!) a General. Oh Kevin, you slay me.