2003 September 21 Sunday
Will Democratic Base Bond With Wesley Clark?

The New York Times has a not very confidence inspiring profile of retired 4 star General Wesley Clark.

On Thursday, the day after he announced his candidacy, he said, "I probably would have voted for" the resolution. On Friday, he backtracked, saying, "I never would have voted for war." But last October, according to The Associated Press, he said he supported a Congressional resolution to give President Bush authority to use military force against Iraq. He then spent months as a television commentator criticizing the president's action.

His real preference has got to be his first answer when he said he was for the war resolution. But then someone reminded him that he has to win in the Democratic Party primary before he can move to the right for the general election.

He sounds like he's for war except when being against it will help in self-promotion either as a TV commentator or when running in a Democratic Party primary trying to appeal to the left-leaning base of the party. He comes across as one of those self-promoters that lower level officers with more conviction love to hate. He'd be better suited for the US Senate where the disconnect between power and responsibility would work well with his personal style.

Update: I think Mark Steyn's takedown on Clark sums up the problem with Clark's candidacy:

The only rationale for his candidacy is that he is the soldier for the party that doesn't like soldiering. He supposedly neutralises the Democrats' national security problem: they can say, hey, sure, we're anti-war, but that's because our guy is a four-star general who knows a thing or two about it . . . That's all they need him for: cover.

It is not going to work. All General Jello does is remind voters of what they dislike about the Dems on this war: their weaselly evasive oppositionism. All his military background does is keep military matters at the forefront of the campaign.

Could Clark swing any marginal southern states if he was Dean's VP pick? If he's the VP candidate then he doesn't have to have so many issue positions of his own but might sway a few people into believing that the Democratic Party isn't as wobbly as it otherwise appears to be.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 September 21 12:51 PM  Politics American Domestic


Comments
Eldar said at October 8, 2003 9:59 PM:

Hi!

Can you help me to have receive email-adress general Wesley Clark?

Sincerely,

Eldar Asgerov

Douglas M. McCullough said at December 10, 2003 5:56 AM:

I doubt that Clark's position as a candidate is enhanced by his military background. Almost anybody who is thinking critically and is concerned about the dem's position on defense and other military issues is not going to be favorably impressed by his presence on the ticket in any capacity (I am considering the prospect of his being a running mate for Dean). I think that the chance of Wesley Clark being the democrat nominee for President next year is about as likely as Charlie Manson has of being appointed Attorney General by George Bush.

Just Clark's explanation of how his early removal from his position as commander in Kosovo was not a relief blows any credibility he had for anyone who knows how general officers go to extreeme lengths not to embarrass other general officers even in situations where one needs to be removed from command. According to the most constrained definition of, "relief" he was not relieved of command. On the other hand, for all practical purposes it was a relief. I suppose one could argue that it really depends on what the definition of, "is" is.

In any event even if I am wrong and more people are favorably impressed by Clark's military credentials than are unfavorably impressed, the number of voters that swing to the dems for that reason will be more than offset (at least in the South) by the boneheaded endorsement of Dean by Al Gore. I can predict with a high degree of confidence that the dems will not carry any southern state with the possible exception of Florida. They will probably not even carry Florida unless they can figure out how to get people who are too mentally incapable of rational thought to remember to vote for democrats and teach them how to find the democrats on the ballot.


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