Sunday, September 16, 2007

On Clark's endorsement of Hillary Clinton

I am a huge Clark fan. For Christmas in 2002, I asked for Waging Modern Wars, because the little I had heard about him (via a TIME article that October) made me think he would be the best president for our country. I talked up Clark all year in 2003, telling everyone he would run and could win. I joined the draft movement officially in April 2003, and helped launch MassforClark when my wife and I moved out to Boston. I gave him $100, a lot for me, in September.

I campaigned for him in New Hampshire multiple times and was heartbroken when he had to bow out in February 2004. Back then, he endorsed John Kerry and hit the campaign trail hard for him. Since then, Clark has gotten much better at campaigning (and learned a lot when he was running for president). He raised lots of money for candidates all ove the country and held lots of rallies supporting them in 2004 and 2006.

Like Matt noted (another MassforClark alum) the General is very sensible on why he is for universal health care, gays in the military, reforming the Pentagon budget, progressive tax reform, etc. He was outspoken against the war in Iraq from the beginning, and has led the fight to keep us out of Iran, which makes Joe Lieberman sad.

So when I got an email from Wes Clark saying he supports Hillary this time around, I take it that the race is essentially over and that Hillary is moving in the right direction. Edwards and Obama must win Iowa to win the nomination, the danger is that their share will split and she will still come in first.

Word on the Hill is also that Senator Clinton is taking names of everyone who supports her rivals, and those intrepid soles will find themselves on the outside looking into a second Clinton White House.

Clark had a lot of tacit support from the Clintons in 2003, both in terms of staff and in terms of money, and how many Rhode Scholars can their be from Arkansas in the late 1960s/early 1970s?

I would be very pleased if Hillary were to choose Clark for her running mate. Now that Mark Warner is off the table, Senator Clinton's choices other than Clark are ex-IA Gov. Tom Vilsack, KS Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama, Richardson, IN Sen/ex-Gov. Evan Bayh, and that's about it. Obama and Richardson are very unlikely because Obama and her are getting nastier towards another by the day, and Richardson keeps saying dumb things and even dumber excuses. Bayh and Vilsack have proven to be uninspiring for most people and it is unclear whether Bayh would be able to deliver Indiana for her (since that state would seem prime anti-Hillary territory) and Hillary might be able to win Iowa without Vilsack on the ticket.

To me, Sebelius is the best conceptual fit for Hillary. Both are successful women politicians whose main selling point is tough competent pragmatism. And if that put Kansas in play, that would be icing on the cake.

But Clark would offer to broaden Hillary's appeal in Arkansas, flipping that state back into solid Clinton Country. And Clark could make inroads into other Southern states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina somewhat competitive. Virginia could become a swing state with Warner on the ballot. Warner would have done this too (except more Virginia and less Arkansas) but we need him in the Senate, despite what Matt thinks.

Of course, this is all speculation, but unless something dramatic happens in Iowa, it is not looking good for Obama or Edwards in Iowa and hence the nomination.


Part of the Plan said...

I think your analysis is right on, up until the part about Sebelius. However good sense it makes politically, pragmatically it has zero chance (two women on the ticket). Like you, I am a huge Clark fan and would love to see him on the Clinton ticket.

Annnie said...

There's also a few other things to take into account other than who will help her win a state or 2, and that is who she works well with and gets along with.