Goodbye Howard Dean, hello Wesley Clark? (Improved, w' poll)

And suddenly it looks like the Democrats may have a chance at ousting Bush.

I like Dean a lot, but he strikes me as unelectable. He’ll lose all the southern states off Civil Unions alone.

I don’t know much about Clark yet, but the basics certainly sound promising. Intelligent, military history… Have to look into his guy.

Here’s a military bio. First in his class at West Point. A master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

That should be “this,” not “his,” above, but I don’t want to screw the poll with an edit.

Looks like there’s plenty of anti-Clark sentiment out there. This site hardly strikes me as calm, reasoned, or balanced, but I figured someone who had command of military actions in Kosova and South America would have some naysayers…

Another Rhodes scholar from Arkansas? That should scare the hell out of the Dubya camp! :)

And the website above is probably secretly funded by them! (No proof, just my usual trusting nature.)

Just an FYI, my Dad worked with him when he was in the military, and described him as a “bastard” - so take that as you will :P

Also my Dad’s a quite low key guy - I’ve heard him call exactly 2 people bastards in my Life :P

The betting money still favors Dean


Bit of background on zmag: it’s basically Noam Chomsky central. Noam, if you’ll remember, had this batshit-insane theory that the US was really making all that stuff about ethnic cleansing in Bosnia up - we were actually there to take their oil or build a pipeline or something!!!

Needless to say, they hate Clark for running that war.

Why I Like Clark:

1st in Class at West Point
Purple Heart and Silver Star in Vietnam (he wasn’t some rear-echelon mofo)
Rhodes Scholar (from Arkansas no less!)
CinC Southern Command (Panama and South America)
Supreme Allied Commander, NATO

If there is any Democrat who can take on Bush in military and security matters, which are vitally important to the nation in this post-9/11 world, it’s Wes Clark.

His experience as NATO commander will also go a long way to healing the rift with the Europeans.

Reports are that as a military man, he’s probably a conservative Democrat, but both of those would help him immensly in the South. States like North Carolina provide the largest proportion of recruits to the military.

All the excitement is on Dean, but that’s in the more liberal arms of the Democratic party. Go to a union rally in a state in your typical midwest industrial state, and you’ll see his appeal wane drastically. Amongst the Birkenstock set, it’s big. But Dean hasn’t proven anything amidst the labor and working-class. That’s what’s scaring the Democratic leadership right now. Dean gets the nomination and they bomb big time at the general election.

Yeah, but which Democrat has real street cred with the labor? Clark sure doesn’t – he’s got the foreign policy/military cred, but other than that, he’s a complete cipher.

Now, that could be good, it could be bad. We will see.

Hey, bastard is fine, as long as he’s not a crook too.

Nixon was a bastard, and he was very effective. It was just the “crook” part that screwed him up.

Please, let’s not try to rehabilitate Nixon!!

Josh Marshall has some good stuff on Clark.

How well does Clark do raising money?
What sort of team does he put together?
How do his opponents come after him?

Hey Guido, I would be interested in hearing more on this. Can you ask your dad for more information. Was he a bastard but extremely competent? Is he a bastard that’s incompetent and takes credit for other people’s work? What exactly is the quality of his “bastardness”?

FWIW until I read Guido’s comment, I was pretty psyched to see the “pre-announcement” today that he’s running. I think he’s a much stronger candidate than Dean.

I don’t know a single person who reaches high office or rank that isn’t (or isn’t perceived to be) a bastard. When you’re dealing with that much shit, you only pay attention to what’s important.[/list]

Ask yourself this: Could he in any way possibly be worse than Bush II?

True enough. Everyone who reaches a certain level will have enemies. However, I think first hand experience working with someone is invaluable for finding out what they’re really like. Guido is as close to a primary source on Clark’s personality as we’re likely to find. I’d like to hear more about his dad’s perceptions of Clark.

And if his dad is a hardcore Republican?


And if his dad is a hardcore Republican?[/quote]

It still would be interesting to get his take on Clark – not from a political perspective but from a personal perspective. I don’t think the term “bastard” is usually applied to someone simply because they have opposing political views. I didn’t like Reagan, for example, but I wouldn’t have called him a bastard. I don’t think I would call George W. a bastard either–misguided perhaps, dangerous certainly, but not a bastard. Now I might call Rumsfield a bastard, but that’s because of his personality not because of his ideological views.

Clark a bastard? Sure, but in the eyes of the beholder.

Clark made some enemies on the way up. First off, he was canny enough to hitch his wagon to Gen. John Shalikashvili. When General Shak was promoted to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the young General Clark was appointed J-5.

J-5 is the “hall monitor” position of the Joint Chiefs–whoever gets stuck with that job becomes instantly unpopular with his home service, whether it’s an Air Force, Navy, or Army guy. J-5 coordinates all the different branches, deciding who gets what responsibilities in various theaters and actions. Invariably, the J-5 has to make decisions that “slight” his home branch of service, and that gets you labeled as a “bastard” nine times outta ten.

Secondly, Clark wasn’t one of William Cohen’s “boys”. When Cohen agreed to succeed William Perry as Clinton’s second term Secretary of Defense, he did so with the understanding that General Shak would step down and General Shelton, one of Cohen’s “boys”, would be promoted to Joint Chief. To make way for Shalikashvili’s “retirement”, they tried to strip the Joint Chiefs of his allies, but the canny Clark, rather than retire, got himself appointed to NATO’s Southern Command.

At that high echelon of rank in today’s military, the policy is “up or out”–you’re basically progressing towards promotion or you’re retired. Clark was under pressure to step down, but instead stepped on a lot of Cohen’s boys to get himself appointed SACEUR, and got his fourth star. Joint Chief, General Shelton then spent three years trying to undo it, finally getting Clinton’s support to recall Clark in 99, and clearing Clark’s retirement in 2000.

Now then, I’ll wait for someone to bring up the “I’m not starting World War III for you, General,” quote. Can’t wait for that, and I’ll just sit here humming the appropriate old school U2 song that applies here for refutation…;)

Fortune had a pretty laudatory article on Clark this last month. I just think there is a certain degree of cognitive dissonance in being the brains behind Kosovo and opposing the Iraqi war categorically. Unless, of course, he thinks the US should only act when its not in any of its interests, which could rapidly propel him over Dean with the Granola crowd.

LK, the only reason I ended up opposing the Iraq war was that I was convinced this administration would fuck it up. I haven’t been proven wrong just yet.

(I was supporting until I heard Bush threatening Mexican immigrants to get Mexico’s Security Council vote.)