Friday, January 16, 2004

More on Clark 

Ruy Tuxiera of "The Emerging Democratic Majority" writes:
Karl Rove's Nightmare?
Readers may have thought DR was getting soft on Dean, what with his recent post on "Dean: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Certainly, his old buddy, the Deanophobe thought so.

Maybe it's time to revisit Wes Clark, "Karl Rove's Nightmare", as Richard Cohen puts it in an interesting column today in The Washington Post. The latest ARG tracking poll has Clark only 5 points behind Dean in New Hampshire.

If Clark comes in second or even beats Dean in NH then he's probably really got a shot and the two person race many have predicted may emerge. We'll see. In the meantime, consider this quote from Clark that's in the Cohen column: "I don't think it's patriotic to dress up in a flight suit and prance around". Clark can say something like this with conviction and authority. Dean can't. And in what is likely to be a very tough election for the Democrats, they're going to need all the conviction and authority they can get in this area.

Call it the "flight deck test", a close cousin to the "Ohio test" (which candidate can carry Ohio?) Which candidate can most effectively hold Bush up to ridicule for his disgraceful flight deck "mission accomplished" episode? Let's face it: that man's name is not Howard Dean.
The problem here in the last paragraph. It is based on a premise that the ONLY candidate who can plausibly take on GWB would be one with extensive military experience. Based on that, of course Wes Clark would be the correct nominee. But it's not clear at all to me that the premise is correct. Dean's critique on GWB's foreign policy can resonate, I think (and I think that all of you who have heard Dean's stump speech will agree with me). He talks about veterans benefits, distracting from the war against Al-Q, etc. Really, a lot of the same things Clark is saying. If we Democrats think we need a man in uniform in order to have national security credibility, I think we truly are admitting weakness.
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