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January 23, 2004



Kleiman, sadly, gets it wrong. Four things ought to be done:

First, watch the events in question and see Clark's body language. The man is lashing out, and he means to.

Second, ask military or ex-military acquaintances what they think of Clark's rhetoric. In my experience, nine of ten will agree that he is issuing a thinly-coded rank-pulling put-down of Kerry and Kerry's record.

Third, ask the John Kerry campaign, which has seized upon this behavior as a calculated insult from Clark.

Finally, apply Occam's razor and ask yourself what the simplest explanation here is. If Clark's statements are so content-neutral, then why do they require the level of parsing (and yes, context-stripping) that Kleiman must bring to them?

Lots of effort here and elsewhere to defending Clark, I see. Best of luck to you. I wish I could say he'll validate your efforts.


Yes, I've heard from Unlearned Hand and others that if you actually watch the tape on CNN you don't get the same impression. I can only judge by the transcript.

From what I can tell, Clark still has a lot of support among veterans. How Kerry's camp spins things is not exactly the best way to judge the situation.

I think Kleiman's explanation is the simplest. Why would Clark want to put down most of the military? He's built his campaing around a theme of patriotism and supporting our troops. He has also based a large part of his campaign on being the only candidate with a lot of executive experience and dealing with other nations in building alliances. It is important, therefore, for him to distinguish between his role in the military and Kerry's.

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