Tag Archives: Commander in Chief

McCain’s Myopic Military Experience is Disqualifier

In today’s TPM post, “More on McCain’s Myopia,” Josh Marshall raises the point that John McCain lacks the big thinking to be president. Marshall suggests McCain’s navy pilot experience does not avail itself to strategic thinking.  

I wholeheartedly agree, and would like to add some of McCain’s bio to the conversation.   As Marshall suggests, there is nothing about military experience the mitigates the capacity for strategic thinking. Yep. Marshall finds the source of McCain’s myopia in his military experience.  Again, I agree.  McCain was trained to see immediate tactical questions, not larger strategic visions. I would add the following: While McCain’s military service is certainly heroic for his sheer self-preservation, it provides little other training or experience that makes him qualified to be commander in chief. According to the historical record, nearly all of McCain’s combat duty was spent off the battlefield. Consider the following: McCain was assigned to the USS Forestall in December 1966. His combat duty commenced spring 1967 as part of “Operation Rolling Thunder.”  McCain later wrote that these missions were micromanaged and as such were virtually worthless.” In all candor, we thought our civilian commanders were complete idiots…”  My purpose here is to show McCain’s own assessment of the value of this experience.   He is likely to concede “Rolling thunder” was not something that would qualify him to be commander in chief. A short time later, July 29, 1967, McCain was almost killed in a friendly fire incident aboard the Forrestall.  A rocket fired and hit his plane; the resulting fire killed 134.  McCain escaped. Then, after 23 bombing missions, on October 26, 1967, his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down. McCain remained prisoner of war until March 1, 1973.  The question:  Exactly which part of this military experience renders John McCain, or anyone with similar experience, to pass the Commander in Chief threshold.  Hey, the guy walked through fire– literally– and far worse, but really, where is the credential, tactical, strategic or otherwise? see TPM:http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/184630.php   

Hillary’s Forest Gump Test for Commander in Chief

The media was in all-too-common form when it allowed the Clinton campaign to create a “threshold to be commander in chief,” and hold that Clinton passes the threshold test while her opponent fails. The mainstream press seems to have accepted this fictional test, perhaps only to chide Clinton that John McCain quite possibly would score even higher than she.

Wow. The press accepts this campaign concoction as if it were real and the Clinton campaign were merely repeating some time honored constitutional test. Well, no such test exists. If you are 35 years old, a natural born citizen (a question for McCain), and you win 270 electoral votes, you can be commander in chief. Even if you are Forest Gump.

Part of the spectacle is the nonsensical criterial being bandied about in the press, again, as if it were always so. Although the Clinton camp has not quantified this criteria (because inone exist), they make sure everybody knows that she (and McCain) possess it.

Basically, the Clinton criteria amounts to being in close proximity with power and historical events around the time important decisions were made. It’s really a Forest Gump test to be Commander in Chief.

According to Susan Rice, when Clinton lists her credentials to be commander in chief, she includes her attendance at the Beijing Women’s Conference, at the peace accord in Northern Ireland, and went to Kosovo when they opened their border with Macedonia. According to george Mitchell who brokered the Northern Ireland peace accord, Clinton played no role; and Susan Rice contends she arrived in Kosovo the day after the border opened.
On other matters in the White House, she, as First lady, attended to east-wing duties, and was not making the key decisions in the west wing.

As for McCain, it bears mentioning that although he was close to the action in Vietnam, but made few decisions in combat (as if combat is a commander in chief credential). Almost all of his war experience was spent as a POW (a virtue to have survived, but not a credential to be commander in chief). And before ‘Nam, he was aboard one of the aircraft carriers that carried out the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a close observer here to history.

The bottom line is that Forest Gump has been as close to historical events as two of the three candidates for president. The third candidate for president, Obama, would likely admit a much. Like Forest, Hillary and John were witnesses to history, but were not its participants or makers.