Monday, August 29, 2005

Clark is back

Over the course of a week, Gen. Wesley Clark has emerged as the only possible 2008 voice out there besides Sen. Russ Feingold. Not surprisingly, both are talking about Iraq. Feingold is demanding troop withdrawal by 2006, which despite sounding tough and making certain folks in the blogosphere happy, is really a non-position. Why? Because Bush Co. is going to get out of there by this time next year anyway, even if the country dissolves into civil war (a realistic prospect these days). After all, they don't want to risk GOP control of congress. Not for a little thing like the stability of the Middle East.

Clark has spoken out on Darfur on NPR, wrote a blistering Op-Ed on Iraq in the Washington Post, and appeared on Meet the Press in the ex-Generals panel all in the course of a few days. This week, he is the guest of honor at TPMCafe, he is traveling to Feingold's home state of Wisconsin, and spending several days in the state that doomed his presidential bid last time, Iowa. Make no mistake, this man is running for President again. And he is going to run on Iraq. He is playing to his strengths by being able to talk about ethnic conflict and getting allies together and foreign policy. If 2008 ends up being about immigration, or energy policy, or health care, it will be hard for Clark to make headway. But if Iraq continues to be issue #1 on the minds of Americans, his success in Kosovo could be an asset that would be hard for primary voters to pass up.

The most interesting thing for me watching Meet the Press yesterday was not to hear what Clark had to say, because I knew what he would talk about. The behind the scenes part of the panel was watching how his fellow retired Generals took to Clark and his thoughts. You could see some resentment that he had such a spotlight; you could also see doubts in their eyes, believing that Clark was saying what he said to appease Democratic primary voters. Some were still fresh from the spin zone of the Bush administration, so they still believed the poop that is the Iraq planning smells like Roses. Others were aghast that Clark said that the Generals in the E-Ring were complicit disaster that is the Iraq war plan. It seems that the harder Wes would criticize Bush's Iraq, the more his colleagues would concede that things were going badly.

I support Clark because every time I think about Foreign Policy, and come up with where I stand, I discover that Clark is on the same wavelength. Only he says it much better. Clark is back, with a vengeance.

No comments: