Tony Blankley

As of today, Sen. Barack Obama is about halfway through his "patriotism theme week" message cycle. As of 2008, Sen. John McCain is about seven-ninths through his patriotism theme life cycle. I guess that is the difference between the new politics and the old patriotism.

The Obama campaign launched its new politics patriotism week last Sunday, with retired Gen. Wes "Speichellecker" Clark smearing John McCain's war record -- even to the point of the former general saying that "riding" in a fighter plane and getting shot down are not qualifications for being president. Well, in fact, McCain wasn't riding, of course. He was the pilot in his 23rd mission over heavily defended enemy territory when he was shot down by a Soviet missile. But when Wes "Camera Hound" Clark goes on a mission, he always aims low.

This is the same Gen. Clark who, while leading the bombing campaign against Serbia from his desk, was reprimanded by President Clinton's secretary of defense, William Cohen, to get his "f------ face off the TV. No more briefings, period. That's it." During that bombing campaign, Gen. Clark didn't even go along for the "ride."

And it is the same general who was removed prematurely from his European command on the following explanation of then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Sheldon: "The reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues." This is the man who the Obama campaign -- which is above politics as usual -- sent out to smear a genuine war hero. Of course, after 24 hours, Obama disassociated himself from his surrogate's smear attack. This is becoming a pattern of Obama's new politics. Wes Clark is the seventh prominent Obama supporter to disparage Sen. McCain's military service. Obama is beginning to reveal Nixonian political instincts.

But Wes Clark is right. Merely being a war hero is not qualification for the presidency, although it is a hell of a start when compared with those of us who never served in uniform. And the more than five years as a prisoner of war with constant torture that McCain suffered through is also not qualification for being president -- even when compared with Obama's tough seven years of service at Columbia undergraduate and Harvard Law School.


Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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