Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Early Clark Reaction

The blogsphere is beginning to react to the impending announcement of General Clark's candidacy. Mark Kleiman has a good take on it:

I am convinced that he would be the strongest candidate against Bush, and have a weaker but still distinct belief that he might well make the best President as well.

His strength as a candidate comes partly from his resume and partly from his novelty as a politician and the attendant lack of baggage. Partly the resume issue is a pure quality one: Would you rather have, as President, someone who was first in his class at West Point and won a Rhodes Scholarship or one who earned gentleman's C's at Yale? A Silver Star holder or an AWOL? But partly it's his ability, based on his resume, to make the security issue, and the Saudi connection issue, against Bush.

In addition, the combination of being Southern and being military means that Clark will not naturally be seen as a cultural threat by Red-state voters. No non-Southerner has won the White House for the Democrats since JFK in 1960. Graham has the same advantage, but his campaign seems to be going nowhere. Edwards has it to a lesser extent; yes, he's Southern and grew up poor, but he's now a multimillionaire blow-dried Yuppie tort lawyer. Dean, and to an even greater extent Kerry, are going to be pure poison among voters who long for the 1950s; Kerry isn't just a liberal politically, he's a Grateful Dead fan. Well, so am I, but that's not going to sell in North Florida.

Indeed not. Democrats must unite behind a candidate who can win and win convincingly. Face facts, Dean is likeable but is unelectable. Kerry and Edwards might have a chance, but the rest are simply ridiculously out of their depth.

Mark is inviting his readers to join him in donating to General Clark's campaign. I've already donated, but intend to give more. And I'll need to replace my "Draft Clark" bumper sticker!

tompaine.com has a good article as well:

In the end, Bush will have Karl Rove and about $200 million to make sure that security is foremost in the minds of the voters. Rove's team will do its best to create the impression that the Democratic nominee is soft on security. You might call it a process of Dukakisification -- and there is no candidate riper for being Dukakisified than Howard Dean.

Which candidate is least susceptible to such an attack? Gen. Wesley Clark. Indeed, it's difficult to even conceive of how the Bush team could use the security issue against the likes of a West Point grad, Vietnam veteran, four-star general, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander. I imagine the first thing they'd do is mothball the footage taken when Bush played dress-up on the aircraft carrier....

...If Democrats were wise, they'd coalesce around the candidate who not only neutralizes the security issue but may very well capture it -- and the White House -- for the party.

Amen, friend.

General Clark will be making a special pre-announcement webcast to his supporters at 6:30 am EDT tomorrow (hey, he's a military guy! They get up early!) at http://www.draftwesleyclark.com/.


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