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Sunday, September 21, 2003
 
Clark
Maybe it's me, but I don't think that Clark would be considered a serious contender if it wasn't for the fact that the other candidates were so weak. The Democratic base's decision to view Bush as a more serious enemy than Al Queda has made their task of winning in 2004 much more difficult. The most electable candidate (in my view) is Lieberman, and his comparatively reasonable position on the war on terror has deflated his campaign thus far.

Being a general is not necessarily good experience when it comes to running an effective presidential campaign. The most recent elected Presidents have all been either Governors (George W., Willie, Reagan, Carter) or Vice Presidents (Bush, Nixon). Clark's inexperience hurt him already. It took him one day to put his foot in his mouth on the war in Iraq (I would have voted for it, I mean, no, I would never support it...). Not a good start. Apparently he is on top of the polls, though. That may be a sign that the Democrats are desperate. Really - - what does he stand for? What does he offer other than the fact that he isn't Dean, et. al...?

I also don't think he will get a huge electoral boost just because he is a general. Clark deserves credit for b eing a war hero, but that isn't enough. Ask McCain. Or Stockdale. The only Generals who have won the presidency (Washington, Jackson, Grant, Ike) all transcended politics. Ike could have won either party's nomination in a walk. Being a general is a huge advantage if you, say, save the union or defeat Hitler, but Kosovo doesn't quite make that level.

That isn't to disparage the service. I just don't see it translating into votes. Which will force Clark to talk about issues. Being a lifelong general and not a politician puts him at a disadvantage. I think he will have a hard time staying on message and avoiding controversy. This is especially hard for Democratic candidates, who have to avoid saying anything that will hurt the feelings of a myriad of racial, ethnic and interest groups.


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