Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | September 19, 2003

Initial thoughts about Clark

While there's no doubt that Clark's entry into the race is generating excitement, there seems to be a disconnect between the general, and the views assigned to him by the Draft movementt.

The Draft Clark 2004 websites assigned the following to Clark:

The United States needs to keep homeland security and the war against terrorism at the top of our list of national priorities; we can't be distracted by other entanglements, including Iraq, that might divert our attention.
It was statements such as this one that convinced many that Clark was anti-Iraq war. Heck, it convinced Rush and Anthrax Coulter, who tore into the general for not backing Bush's War.

But now Clark states that he did, in fact, back a war against Iraq.

Clark, a retired army general, said his views on the war resemble those of Sens. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and John Kerry, D-Mass., both of whom voted for the war but now question Bush's stewardship of the Iraqi occupation.

"That having been said, I was against the war as it emerged because there was no reason to start it when we did. We could have waited," Clark said during a 75-minute media session.

Waited for what? Either Iraq was an imminent threat, and Bush needed Congressional approval to wage war, or it wasn't.

Sen. Graham knew the real score and voted against the resolution. So did a great deal other Democrats. I blame the deaths of every servicemember not just on Bush, but on every congressman and senator who enabled Bush to wage war.

I'm surprised that in the current climate, with public opinion souring on the war, Clark would align himself with those under fire for supporting the war. Not to mention such statements are clearly at odds with what the Draft movement (myself included) were selling.

This is also generating a lot of discussion:

He said he probably voted for Richard Nixon in 1972 and backed Ronald Reagan. He started considering himself a Democrat in 1992, when he backed fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton.
Yeah, Clark voted for Nixon and Reagan. But I voted for Bush I. If Clark is impure for voting for a Republican, then paint me with the same brush.

Not everyone has a perfect voting record.

I'm more concerned about this:

Clark portrayed himself as a different kind of Democrat, one without strong partisan impulses.
Given that the GOP is run by ideologues with "strong partisan impulses", I firmly believe we need the same on our side. Democrats have tried and tried to compromise as the GOP continues to move the "center" to the right. We need a counterbalance.

Of course Clark's rhetoric could be just that -- rhetoric. Kind of like Bush's "uniter not a divider" bullshit. But damn, this is the primary. Save the "bipartisan" stuff for the general. I want red meat, and thus far, Clark has been surprisingly tame.

Posted September 19, 2003 10:09 AM


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