Thursday, July 31, 2008

What would you say to a grass-roots movement for Wes Clark as VP? Well, it's underway


by Ken

I was going to write a whole long piece about the situation with regard to the Democratic VP nomination. In fact, I wrote a whole long piece, but I lost it to that devil incarnate Steve Jobs's operating system from hell OS X. (Dammit, I saved the friggin' thing, so why wasn't it there when I rebooted in order to regain a modicum of computer functionality?)

I don't feel like writing that piece again, so let me cut to the chase. When you hear the latest sludge supposedly perched on the Obama VP short list, do you feel like retching? In the end, of course, we Bolshies over here on the senator's left don't have a damned thing to say about it. But a couple of those Bolshies, Matt Stoller and Aaron Ament, have decided to launch a crusade for retired Gen. Wesley Clark.

Matt will tell you all about it over at OpenLeft, and direct you to the website (www.obamaclark) that he and Aaron have put up. But here in a nutshell is the idea:

The basic idea behind Clark for VP is that we want to make a little noise about the position of Vice President and ask that Obama consider a real progressive in that slot who can help fix some of the most damaging aspects of the Bush Presidency.

The political argument for Clark is simple. He is a great surrogate for Democrats, with experience in 2004 and 2006 on the campaign trail, and a genuine national base of supporters. In terms of governance, which is what Obama says is the most important criteria for his VP pick, Clark can help Obama deal with the mess that the Bush administration left behind. As commander of NATO in the late 1990s, Clark won a war, so he is more likely than any progressive out there to be able to wrangle solutions from a military establishment that has been decimated by Bush's cronyism and incompetence. That is really important moving forward, since rebuilding our national security posture is a critical challenge over the next eight years

Clark also emphasizes Obama's strengths. He is popular among grassroots progressives, he was against the war in Iraq from the get-go, and he is an outsider to politics. He also demonstrated terrific political judgment in being willing to work against Lieberman in 2006, unlike, say, Tim Kaine, who endorsed Lieberman for President in 2004. This kind of savvy political judgment can help Obama avoid landmines down the road, and the Bush administration has left very little but landmines for the next President.

General Clark was one of the two people I originally thought about as a plausible VP nominee (the other being Virginia freshman Sen. Jim Webb), and he sure sounds better to me than even the best -- or least worst -- of the names we've heard of as actual possible Obama VP picks. I don't think this is going to change what happens. At the same time, I say, what the heck?

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At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno Keni, try looking in the trash for saved stuff.

I liked Wes Clark at the same time I liked Edwards.
I would hope he could help in the South and we are going to need it, plus it would better Clark being the military heavy against McSame than Barrack.

I think Clark is much more able to put McSame's 5th from the bottom of his class and his ability to crash 4-5 planes into the same context of Bush's AWOL Texas Air Natl Guard as an indicator and predictor of the awesome McSame Military ability.

Yes Anonymousies, I have a looong memory.

At 2:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the hell has it taken so long for this idea to gain momentum? I've always liked Clark -- when I heard his positions on social issues when he was running for President himself, I thought he sounded like an actual DEMOCRAT. Clark's tenure as head of NATO effectively inoculates both he and Obama against charges of being weak on foreign policy or defense issues for any but the furthest right-wing nutjobs.

Compared to the other dishrags being offered for consideration, Clark seems like a no-brainer.

- mercury

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh. Jim Webb or Wes Clark? Both horrible picks that will make the media talk about Obama's "inexperience" for weeks. Neither would reinforce at all.

I'm hoping that progressive Kansas Gov Kathleen Sebelius gets the nod.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

It was actually Governor Sebelius I had in mind as the least worst of the rest, Karl. And I certainly prefer her to the likes of Evan Bayh and Joe Biden and Sam Nunn and Tim Kaine and -- huh? -- Ann Veneman. (Ann Veneman???)

But Sebelius is a fairly conservative Democrat herself -- and from what I've seen so far a terribly wooden speaker, and so of doubtful value as a campaigner.

But compared with, well, see the names above, I'd be okay with Sebelius.


At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Wes Clark for VP or SofD would be great!! Sign me up

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Wes Clark would be a good choice.

He sound especially good compared to some of the other names I've heard bandied about lately, like Nunn, or Webb, or Clinton ...

To karl, who doesn't like Clark, I say look a little closer. I think Clark is one of the good guys.

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wes Clark is a great idea. It would also indicate if Obama supports honest responses of individuals who aren't afraid to back down. Clark is one of the most respected individuals in the mideast area.


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