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Monday, March 31, 2003

Wing-nuts Launch "Decapitation" Campaign Against Clark

When Coulter and Limbaugh both launch character assassinations on the same day, you know the word has gone forth. The Republicans are worried about General Wesley Clark. Rush says:

Wesley Clark Looks Really Bad

March 28, 2003

One of the Democratic Party's supposed rising stars has been former NATO General Wesley Clark. After a recent appearance on Meet the Press, many Democrats salivated over Clark as "our Colin Powell." CNN hired General Clark to use the occasion of the war as a platform for his presumed 2004 presidential bid. That was his strategy - and according to the London Spectator, it's backfired.

"So much for the Democrats' hope that retired general Wesley Clark was going to be their Colin Powell. 'He's more Benedict Arnold than anything else if you believe the mail we've been getting here,' says the Democratic National Committee staffer, who only a month ago was touting Wesley Clark as his party's answer to the military star power lined up with the Republicans." They say Clark has pretty much peed away his chances on TV by bemoaning the Pentagon and General Tommy Franks for their strategy in the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"While several other senior retired military men have made critical comments about the ongoing fighting, such as Barry McCaffrey - another former Clinton era official - Clark has by far been the most vocal critic of this administration. 'It just looks really bad that he's knocking the troops and the way we're executing this war,' said the staffer at the Democratic National Committee. 'He's taking hits everywhere - on TV and the newspapers, talk radio. People are furious at Wesley Clark. We can't fund-raise off performances like this!'"

I have to laugh at that last part! "The only presidential candidate that would probably want to be seen with him right now is Howard Dean," said this DNC informant. Prior to crashing and burning at CNN, the DNC had pegged the chief of the Kosovo campaign "for political stardom." He even visited New Hampshire in his pre-presidential bid. Now the Democrats want him gone, because he's so negative about the war effort it's turning off the American people. This is great, folks. The Democrats thought Wesley Clark would be their Colin Powell, but he turned out to be their second George B. McClellan.

Sure. Lots of Democratic National Committee staffers talk to rabid right-wing newspapers and give them quotes like "We can't fund raise off performances like this!" They wouldn't make something like this up would they? And, how about this patented "put it in the british papers, circulate it to the Scaife funded press and the AM radio terrorists until it makes it into the mainstream press" gambit. The Wurlitzer remembers its favorite tunes.

Kevin Drum wonders why all the hoopla about Clark since we don't know what his positions are. He's a believer in just war theory, he's pro-choice, he's for affirmative action (he signed a friend of the court brief in the Michigan case). Now, that doesn't give us any idea about his positions on trade or health care or any of the thousand issues we all care about, but it certainly gives me a good idea of where he stands on the political spectrum.

Unless a Democrat is so outside the mainstream that I think he's worse than Bush, and I can't actually think of one who would be, I will vote for the Democrat who has, in my opinion, the best chance of ousting the current administration. I suspect that whoever this is will probably not be channeling my every thought and will likely disagree with me on any number of issues. This is a big country and a big party. Within that party are a number of coalitions that span the center-left continuum. We'd better start negotiating amongst ourselves in a serious strategic way to get a Democrat elected to the presidency. I gave my reasons for thinking Clark can beat Bush in the post below.

It would be great if we could take back the congress, as well, and it is not beyond our grasp in any way. But, a true Democratic governing coalition is going to be much harder because of the red-state conservative Democrats who must function as de-facto Republicans on issues of taxes and national security. These Democrats will be turned into Republicans if we push them too hard which is not going to help our cause.

It is far better to focus on usurping Bush and capturing one branch of government in its entirety. We can take a long term view on this and try to make our consituency grow, but I think our current situation is sufficiently dire that we need to concentrate everything we have on turning back the radical Republican agenda immediately. At this point there are absolutely no checks and balances and it is rapidly hurtling out of control

So, I pick a Democrat who is a 4 Star General because I think he has the best chance to beat Bush if this perpetual war plays out the way the Republicans plan it. If we disagree on matters of funding for Head Start or Gays in the Military, I'm going to live with that.

I know, I know. I'm tired of making those sorts of compromises, too. But, the world is what it is and there's no use in pretending that this issue of national security is going to fade away in a flood of concern about prescription drug coverage. The Republicans and media who are benefitting from it will not let that happen. So, we'd better face up to reality and try to form a coherent, common sense alternative to the radical path the Republicans are leading us down.

I'll be writing more about this today. I have been working on a long overdue post on a very interesting survey of the peace marchers in NYC. There are some real surprises and some interesting things to work with if we can get the centrists and the liberals to be pragmatic and form a two pronged strategy.