September 28, 2003

THE GENERAL DEBATES HIMSELF:

Looks like Clark should go back to basic training (Clarence Page, September 28, 2003, Chicago Tribune)

Will the real Wesley Clark please stand up and throw his helmet in the ring?

Such is the question I hear welling up from the masses as the retired general and fledgling Democratic presidential candidate politically evolves right in front of our eyes. As he figures out what he believes in, Gen. Clark sounds at times like Gen. Chameleon, recoloring himself to suit his surroundings.

In his first debate last week in New York with the nine other Democratic candidates, for example, Clark was asked to explain why he had been a speaker at the May 11, 2001, Lincoln Day fundraising dinner of the Arkansas Republican Party, where Clark gave glowing praise to Ronald Reagan and President Bush.

Clark acknowledged his politics had changed, then he backed that up by criticizing Bush as a man who had "recklessly cut taxes ... recklessly took us into Iraq" and practices "neither conservatism nor compassion."

Then with the warm and confident smile of a man who had just come home, he declared to the audience, "I am pro-choice, I am pro-affirmative action, I'm pro-environment, pro-health [care]. That's why I'm proud to be a Democrat."

Clark handled the question far more smoothly than his flip-flop a week earlier. The New York Times reported that he called out "Mary, help!" for his press aide Mary Jacoby when reporters peppered him with questions about how he would have voted on the congressional resolution to authorize invading Iraq.

Clark's reply, "On balance, I probably would have voted for it," startled and angered anti-war Democrats, forcing Clark to do a U-turn the next day: "I would never have voted for war." Ah, well, even a Rhodes Scholar who graduated first in his class at West Point can find himself sent right back to basic training when he runs for president.


Looks like the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party may not roll over for the General, which will afford us the great pleasure of watching the Democrats destroy a military man (even if a lousy one), while trying to convince the American people that they can be trusted with our military defense.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2003 10:05 PM
Comments

This is exciting, isn't it? I mean, traitorous felons--at least two (2) of them--right there in the inner circle of the Presidential Administration. So who do you think they are?

I think Ari, who was still around at the time is definitely one of them. He almost certainly was a solid source of whom to contact (mush-mouth Novak was probably the first person called), and has a history of not minding telling outright lies. I think Rove is the other. He's never had a problem abiding the Rule of Law with regards to such trickery in his history. My buddy says it's Scooter Libby. A dude notorious for a temper, and all around bad smear guy (think previous president: "We're gonna [get] him like he's never been [got] before!!"). President Cheney was definitely involved, but I doubt he'll get involved. The [technical] President was definitely out of the loop. He's only dragged away from the Play Station or Tom & Jerry re-runs for the occasional teleprompter read and/or Xanax fix.

And how long will Condi last before she spends time with her family or some such? The National Security Advisor who never read the "Re: Lunatics might fly planes into buildings" memo now says that the infamous 16 words in SOTU made it back in because she "forgot." Just what is her job anyway? (Condi--I find that those yellow sitcky things are helpful reminders for really, really important matters of national intelligence. FYI.)

And is Rummy done, too? Probably. I say by end of October.

Oh, sorry, this about the horrible flippity floppity of the Rhodes Scholar, war hero, ascended-to-General-without-the-help-of-his-Poppy-handing-it-to-him dude. Oh yeah: he didn't leave the Republican Party; the Republican Party left him.

Long live the Rule of Law!

Posted by: Jimmy at September 28, 2003 10:25 PM

Jimmy,

Huh? I used to hang out at the Burlington, VT Peace and Justice center and protest against Reagan's policies, and even I couldn't decifer your rant. Here's a hint: aluminum foil has two sides - make sure the dull side faces your head and the shiny side faces out.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at September 28, 2003 10:37 PM

Jason--

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14909-2003Sep28.html is the very latest. Lots of articles in NYTimes, ABC News, CNN. Perhaps you've heard on these tin-foil types. Also mentioned on Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday in interviews with Condi Rice, whatever she's paid to do. Or you could Google "Valerie Plame". It's pretty big news, I think.

Posted by: Jimmy at September 28, 2003 10:54 PM

Jimmy:

That story broke months ago and no one cares.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2003 12:27 AM

OJ--
They seem to care (as of Sunday) at Fox News, NBC, ABC, WaPo, Time, and Newsweek. But they're all liberal media anyway, so we can't trust them? Do you not believe that treason is not a serious concern?

The story did break months ago, and Bush Admin. did nothing about it. Until now that they're forced to (you may wish to check out WaPo's Monday edition). SOP for those [bad people], I say.

I found this of interest:
"But the aides said Bush has no plans to ask his staff members whether they played a role in revealing the name of an undercover officer who is married to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, one of the most visible critics of Bush's handling of intelligence about Iraq."

Now why wouldn't the [technical] President ask his staff members if they're felonious traitors, as they've been accused? Especially after Dr. Rice made clear on two prominent (OK, one prominent, and one Fox) news programs that Mr. Bush would not tolerate anything of the sort? Does Bush have a problem with moral clarity (same guy who, for example, abused the office of Governor to expunge his driving record)?

The doo-doo and the fan draw nigh.

Posted by: Jimmy at September 29, 2003 12:52 AM

And if nobody cares (which isn't the case anyway), that makes it OK? See, it really is a question of moral clarity.

Posted by: Jimmy at September 29, 2003 12:53 AM

I don't think what they guy did was treason per se, but it wasn't something that's advisable when your nation's at war.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2003 7:29 AM

Re: Wesley Clark's standing as a military man, most recently under fire (on this blog, at least) from Ret. Gen. Hugh Shelton. I advise anyone interested in the context to check out Phil Carter's blog (http://www.philcarter.blogspot.com/2003_09_21_philcarter_archive.html#106454542791689870, scroll down to Thursday, September 25, 2003). The following is a highlight:

"Gen. Shelton is an old warrior who served his nation well, and wears both the scars and medals to prove it. He's also the man who effectively relieved Wes Clark as SACEUR, and with whom Clark clashed repeatedly during the Kosovo War. This is a clash of the titans, and it's hard for me to evaluate (from my position of relative ignorance) what's really going on here in this row between two four-star generals...Moreover, Clark appears very threatening to various groups on both sides of the aisle -- he's likely to receive a lot more mud by the time this campaign ends. However, I wish that Gen. Shelton would have left things at "Wes won't get my vote" without making the vague allusion to Clark's integrity and character. Those comments seem out of character for a man like Shelton, whose reputation as a soldier's soldier is at least as great as Clark's reputation as a soldier-scholar."

Those not looking at Clark and Shelton through ideological blinders really need to recognize just how weaselly Shelton was being when he made the "integrity and character" comment without bothering to back it up with anything specific.

The post is also an excellent analysis of the recent canard that Clark nearly started WWIII in Kosovo.

Posted by: M. Bulger at September 29, 2003 10:17 AM

M:

Again, I'd just tell you to ask anyone who served with or under him what they think of the guy. We were posting about what a weasel he was when it was thought he'd run for the Senate in Arkansas as a Republican. In return I'll look up his scholarly works to see if he really is as great a scholar as General Shelton, who is revered in the armed forces, was a fighting man.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2003 11:19 AM

So far as I know, Gen Clark, absent his Vietnam service, is a pure staff weenie.

Based on my experience in the service (20 years, 3 on a staff, in ratio, just about the inverse of Clark's) that is not a term of endearment.

With but one exception, none of the senior officers I admired were staff weenies.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 29, 2003 11:36 AM

Jeff--Do you have a term for hard partying daddy's boys who skip out of cushy National Guard Service to avoid a drug test? I'd think that you would hold those types in even lower regard than staff weenies who ascended the ranks to General after taking multiple bullets in the line of duty. (I do not wish to put [virtual] words in your mouth.)

Posted by: Jimmy at September 29, 2003 3:33 PM

General Shelton was responding to a question off-the-cuff, not in prepared remarks, when he spoke of General Clark's integrity and character.

So it's not surprising that he wasn't speaking in paragraphs and footnotes.

Still, he said it and he should expand on it now, not just let it lie there.

Posted by: old maltese at September 29, 2003 4:49 PM

I don't think Shelton needs to change anything - he was clearly uncomfortable with the question, and he gave what was as gentle an answer as he could (being a direct man, he tried at least to answer the question). If it hurts Clark, it is only because those who seem to know him affirm that it is accurate. General Shelton is not a pundit, throwing out a tease.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 29, 2003 5:30 PM
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