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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Clark

by digby

I was disheartened when the village succeeded in chasing Wes Clark out of the campaign. He's a good guy who brings a necessary combination of military credibility and progressive values into the political arena at a time when we have a chance to change the prevailing paradigm of conservative dominance in foreign policy.

Obama's going to need people like Clark close by to help him manage the military, which is going to be hostile to his leadership. The Man Called Petraeus is gearing up for his run in 2012 and they already injected themselves into the campaign by sandbagging Obama with that visit to the wounded troops flap. It's not going to be easy.

I support this effort to put Clark on the ticket. I realize that it's a long shot, but considering what dday is writing about below with respect to Afghanistan (which has me very worried) I would very much like to see Clark back on the inside. Afghanistan is a NATO mission and he knows NATO backwards and forwards. Maybe showing that he has a grassroots constituency is one way to do it.

Stoller puts it this way:

Clark has a 34 year service record, has won a war, commanded troops all over the world, and nearly died of his injuries in Vietnam. He has run for President and been a surrogate for hundreds of Democrats all over the country, including Ned Lamont. He was against the war in Iraq, and knows the military bureaucracy inside and out. This is someone who would make an insanely good Vice President, and someone who has deep connections to the newly formed progressive communities that emerged from 2002-2006

And I think this is compelling as well, from the highly respected Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight:

A month ago, picking Wesley Clark would have seemed like a fairly safe choice -- someone who allows you to check the "foreign policy" and "liked by Clinton supporters" boxes. It might have seemed, in other words, like a pander.

But because of the Face the Nation dust-up, all of the sudden it would send a very different message. It would say: we're going to stand our ground, we're not going to be so worried about being politically correct, and we're taking it right to you. Isn't that a fairly optimal message for Obama to send out given the present narrative?

I think now would be the perfect moment to reject the faux-outrage culture of the Village and pick somebody who isn't afraid to call McCain out on foreign policy and military affairs. Steve Schmidt will send everyone in DC a case of smelling salts and a personal fainting couch, but unless Obama figures out a way to signal that he's getting off the hissy fit express, this campaign is going to be torturous. And we know one thing: capitulating to it doesn't work. They just up the ante.

If you would like to add your voice to this initiative, you can do so here.

The AP covers the initiative:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark is getting an online push for presidential running mate.

A new Web site, http://www.obamaclark.com, offers readers a chance to sign a petition supporting Clark's placement on the ticket with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Clark, a Vietnam veteran and former supreme commander of NATO under President Clinton, had been serving as a national security surrogate for Obama until he belittled McCain's qualifications to be president during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" last month.

McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot, was shot down over Hanoi and held prisoner during the Vietnam War.

"I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," Clark said.

Matt Stoller, a political consultant and blogger who created the pro-Clark Web site, said the flap over Clark's comments "was just a bunch of insiders getting mad." The Web site argues that Clark can complement Obama with his executive experience, a military background and understanding of foreign policy. Clark endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic primaries, but voiced support for Obama once he secured the nomination.