Wesley Clark Like George McClellan? Rush Hangs Himself in Comparison

Rush Limbaugh's Wesley McClellan

Rush Limbaugh's recent op/ed in the Wall Street Journal tries to draw an unflattering portrait of Wesley Clark by comparing him to General George McClellan, the Civil War general who was relieved of his command by an exasperated President and later challenged that President in the subsequent election.

Already you can see the problem here. Clark was relieved of his NATO command, but not at the hands of an exasperated Clinton. He ran afoul of Defence Secretary Cohen and General Hugh Stanton, who manuveured the snub of Clark. Clark then didn't challenge Clinton, as the parallel requires, but is now challenging the next president, George W. Bush.

So he's like McClellan, and not like McClellan. Let's look at some major points of Rush's comparison between the two and introduce another subject for the sake of true comparison: the record of George W. Bush himself.







The Verdict


West Point

West Point


Dropped out of Southeasten Missouri State University

No advantage, except over Rush

Place in Class



Unknown; grades poor enough that both Yale and University of Texas refused him entrance to master's program


Advantage: Clark

Master's Degree?

None; taught military engineering at West Point

Oxford University; master's in philosophy, politics and economics

Harvard Business School; MBA


Advantage: Clark

Wars Engaged In

Mexican, Civil War (relieved of command)

Vietnam, Bosnian (fought to victory)

Terror (ongoing)

Rush avoided service with a 1-B (later 4-F) classification due to a pilondial cyst

Advantage: Clark

Military Medals

Undetermined; likely some

Five Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, four Legion of Merit Awards, two Bronze Star Medals and the Purple Heart.

Undetermined; likely none


Advantage: At this point, decidedly Clark

Military career setbacks

Relieved of command (Civil War) after numerous clashes with Lincoln for not using his troops to gain victory in Civil War (factor which won the war after his removal)

Relieved of command (NATO) after numerous clashes with Cohen and Shelton for seeking to use ground troops in Bosnia victory (factor which won the war before his removal)

Suspended from piloting after failure to complete annual physical which may have required a drug test


McClellan was wrong, Clark was right, Bush wasn't there, and neither was Rush; Advantage: Clark

Highest Promotion in Rank

3 Star General

4 Star General

1st Lieutenant


Advantage: Clark
As you can see, Clark has it over both McClellan and Bush in these categories. However, if you had to pick which of these three men were most alike, I'd have to say that it's Clark and McClellan. Somehow, I don't think that's such a bad thing as it's being hyped to be.

Rush's performance speaks for itself.

Rush also brings up an number of other memes in contention to be the meme that finally Gored Clark. Here's another table to deal with them.

Meme Name

Meme Text

Rush's Charge


Like McClellan?

Using Ground Troops in Bosnia

Clark was wrong to want ground troops in Bosnia

Liberal "Refutation" of Indecisive Like McClellan

The credible threat of ground troops in Bosnia is what finally broke Milosevic's will.

McClellan was relieved of command for not pressing his advantages in victory: UNLIKE - Rush is wrong

Pristina Airport

Clark was reckless and almost caused a "disastrous...outcome"

See above.

Clark was implementing Washington policy. The Russians were severely compromised in supply lines. In later days NATO forces would surround Pristina Airport with no disastrous outcome.

See above: UNLIKE - Rush is wrong.

Flip-Flop on Iraq War

First he said he would vote for the Iraq war resolution, then he said he wouldn't

Indecisive like McClellan

Clark has consistently stated that his support of the IWR was intended for leverage in a UN-based solution, not the war that Bush eventually fought

Indecisive like McClellan? UNLIKE - Rush is wrong

Flip-Flop on Debate

One day he said he wouldn't attend a debate, then he eventually did

Indecisive like McClellan

THIS IS TRUE! Rush got one right...but it's a goofy one to be right about. Clark had been scheduled to speak the night of the debate. He got out of the gig to go to the debate. He wanted to go to the debate, and did.

Can't find any citation of McClellan waffling on debating opponents or not: INCONCLUSIVE


When Rove rebuffed him, he decided to become a Democratic candidate.

Big Ego

Clark voted for Clinton twice and Gore once; his offer to help the Bush Administration was immediately following the 9/11 attacks in a spirit of bipartisanship

McClellan was a Democrat who served under a Republican president: LIKE - but Rush is wrong. McClellan's nickname "Little Napoleon" was from military victories, not ego. Both McClellan and Clark can serve bipartisanly, the mark of a disciplined ego

9/11 Hype Call

Claimed White House hyped Iraq connection to 9/11, spoke of call to his house, later claimed that call from "a fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank"

Something ODD about Clark

Clark broadened his claim of hype so as to tell of the call from # after 9/11, never claimed it came from White House

McClellan's frequent statement about having no intention of being a dictator has no relevance to this event: UNLIKE - Rush is wrong
There are an number of flattering parallels between Wesley Clark and George McClellan. But General Clark is definitely the superior officer, all around, and both send George W. Bush packing to where Rush is hiding out.

All in all, it looks like Rush should stick to radio. Whenever he writes his words down, the outright lies become apparent to all intelligent people.