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Comment Of The Day: Mccain's War-hero Liability

At the Stump, Mike argued that while Wes Clark's anti-McCain comments hurt Obama now, in the long run they may cause people to question the McCain campaign's use of his military service. In the comments, Rhubarbs suggests that McCain should take heed of the failure of past war hero presidential candidates:

Question: Does McCain really believe that "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president"? If so, there are other American aviators who have been shot down more than once; surely McCain should cede the nomination to one of them.

The correct response from McCain would be, "Wes Clark is right -- getting shot down is not a qualification to be president. But a lifetime spent in service to country, in uniform and in Congress, is." Or somesuch. Because as much as the rightwing likes to fetishize the military, the plain fact is that since Baby Boomers came of voting age, every time but once that a military hero has run for president against someone with less distinguished service or no service, the former hero has lost. The only exception was George HW Bush in 1988. McCain may think there's hay to be made playing up the "war service equals presidential material" angle, but the more he plays that up, the more he looks like he's running on biography instead of issues, and the more he looks like John Kerry or Bob Dole.

--The Editors