The No-Experience Experienced Candidate

Wes Clark hits all the notes that have been running through my mind for months.

Barack will engage in the diplomacy that is necessary to bring stability to the Middle East. Just like George Bush, John McCain repeatedly resorts to saber-rattling and threats about invading Iran while revealing a startling ignorance of the basic issues that define the politics of the region.

Barack knows we have to invest in renewable energy to end America’s dependence on foreign oil and fight global warming. And like George Bush, John McCain is in the pocket of big oil.

It’s about judgment — and I think the answer is clear.

While I respect John McCain’s service, I know exactly what he stands for — Bush’s third term. And in national security terms, John McCain is largely untested and untried. He’s never been responsible for policy formulation. John McCain is calculating that he will use the national security debate to his advantage. He’s wrong.

Many of the right love to tout McCain’s experience based his time in the military. The reality is that he never reached a position to be involved in actual planning. A quarter of his career was spend as a prisoner of war, and another quarter lobbying the Senate. To claim this gives McCain national security qualifications is like claiming playing catcher for the Braves also qualifies you be to the general manager. It just doesn’t add up. If one needs clearer evidence, look at the foreign policy records of high ranking military officers who actually made it to office (in order by highest rank achieved).

Washington: A wash. Kept the nation out of wars we were not equipped to fight, but went too easy on French.

Eisenhower: Utter failure. Decision to reduce conventional weapons to focus on nuclear capacity strengthened the Soviet’s hand for a decade.

Grant: Too drunk to notice he was even elected.

W.H. Harrison and Taylor: Gotta be alive to make policy. Just sayin’.

Jackson, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Pierce, B. Harrison: Quiet times.

A. Johnson: No score because Congress basically ran the country.

This list, while no means all of them, makes the point well enough.