WES CLARK WOULD PROBABLY MAKE A REALLY EXCELLENT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
I just got home from a somewhat rousing patriotic get-together in Cheviot Hills, a part of L.A. I had never heard of until Mark Kleiman invited me to join him and 3 or 4 other L.A. bloggers at a meeting with Wes Clark. Mark's one of the smartest guys I've met from Blogostan so I was happy to join him. And because it turned out he was so enthusiastic about Clark, I really tried to get into Clark's message with no preconceptions. (And without Dean in the race, I'd like to find someone worth supporting.)
When I tell my pal Jimmy that someone is a "good guy," he heads for the hills. I don't really mean it as a negative and I'm not sure if he even thinks I do. But he sure takes it as one! I'm not trying to say anything bad about Clark when I tell you he really seemed like a good guy. And I totally dug his wife Gert. But the private little session with "the bloggers" was kind of quasi-pointless and his speech to about 150-200 supporters afterwards just depressed me. His ideas about Iraq (except that he opposed it before it started) were almost identical-- sickeningly so-- to BushCo's (or Hillary's). The more this good guy spoke, the more depressed I got. He definitely made some points about Democrats and I'm glad he has seen the light since the days when he thought people with names like Nixon, Reagan and Bush were worthy of support. (My pal Casey, an Edwards loyalist-- see, and I bet you figured I didn't even know anyone who wasn't a Howard Dean supporter-- asked me to ask Clark if he is actually a Democrat. I didn't have to. He is. It's a big tent. And it should be.)
Clark is probably more a Democrat Party man than I am at this point. He defines his adherence very articulately but in a way that equates military service with patriotism (although he's probably been criticized on this enough so that he mumbles something about the Peace Corp and volunteering at hospitals and stuff). He talks about the importance of abandoning support for "gun control." And he downplays almost all the specific reasons I see the Democratic Party as a progressive alternative to corporate Republicans. I'm sure I'd vote for him over a Giuliani or McCain or Hegel, let alone over someone from the neanderthal wing of the GOP. He seems way too much the militarist for my comfort but at least he seems genuine and refreshingly honest (unlike Biden, Lieberman or Hillary). Mark thinks they'll love him in rural Ohio. Yeah, why not?