My gut feeling about Clark has been proven to be on point.
"Can anything be more moving than the joyous throngs swarming the streets of Baghdad? Memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the defeat of Milosevic in Belgrade flood back. Statues and images of Saddam are smashed and defiled. Liberation is at hand. Liberation – the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions. Already the scent of victory is in the air." – Wesley Clark, The Times UK, April 10, 2003.
"Anybody that's against the war that can beat Bush is going to be overwhelmingly supported in the black community." – Rep. Charles Rangel, endorsing Clark candidacy.
What dissonance! What nonsense! What will Bill Clinton think of, next?
The Arkansas Conjure Man with the 125th Street office has sucked every brain cell from Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel's 73 year-old skull. Rangel, who hopes to follow in the great Adam Clayton Powell's footsteps as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee should the Democrats prevail in 2004, is betting the whole legacy on a transparent lie – that Wesley Clark is an anti-war candidate. Bill Clinton told him to do it.
Rangel swallowed Bill and Hillary's potion, gathered up his substantial bulk, and fairly ran through the corridors of the Capitol soliciting endorsements for the Clintons' designated player. "This general is a protection for America, to challenge this president's policies without being called unpatriotic," Rangel told the Associated Press, September 19. "I feel like I've gone back to get my big brother who's a four-star general."
Rangel's descent into second childhood is embarrassingly sad. There is nothing to commend the 59 year-old Clark to Black people or to anyone else who opposes U.S. policy in Iraq. Wesley Clark is a kiss-ass to Power, a karaoke performer with no song of his own. "President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt," wrote Clark on April 10, every bit as drunken and delirious as the rest of the Bush Pirates at the spectacle of Saddam Hussein's wrecked statue. "Liberation is at hand." Clark approvingly predicted that the American juggernaut would not – should not – come to a halt in Baghdad:
"But the operation in Iraq will also serve as a launching pad for further diplomatic overtures, pressures and even military actions against others in the region who have supported terrorism and garnered weapons of mass destruction. Don't look for stability as a Western goal. Governments in Syria and Iran will be put on notice – indeed, may have been already – that they are ˜next' if they fail to comply with Washington's concerns."
Nowhere can be found a Clark statement that marks him as anything but a militarist who had a slight case of the jitters prior to the invasion, became a cheerleader once he thought the U.S. had triumphed, and is now nervous all over again. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's excellent September 16 review of Clark-babble concluded: "While political reporters might welcome Clark's entry into the campaign, to label a candidate with such views ˜anti-war' is to render the term meaningless."
We will put it more bluntly: Clark is a fraud, a poseur, a wind-up action figure in a suit – who belongs to Bill. The retired general just wants to be important, and will say anything to that end. Most of his handlers wear the Clinton brand. Thanks to the Clinton network, of which Rep. Rangel is the chief Black operative, Clark was able to project the early endorsement of 30 members of Congress. Rep. Marion Berry, working the South for his two fellow Arkansans, predicts 50 congresspersons will soon line up for Clark, including half the good old boys of the "Blue Dog" coalition. That's Clinton power!
It is pointless to discuss Wesley Clark's personal "beliefs," "ideas," or "strategy." Clark is a creature of Clinton and the corporate media. (One might even call him a Captive of Babble-on.) The proper question is: What is Bill Clinton up to?
Saving the DLC from itself
Bill Clinton humiliated, abused, bamboozled and, finally, eviscerated the base of the Democratic Party in the Nineties. His biggest victories were NAFTA and welfare reform, both achieved with overwhelming Republican support. Clinton's tenure marked the triumph of the Democratic Leadership Council, the southern-born, white male-pandering, union-bashing, corporate wing of the Party. Republicans did a great service to Clinton and his Vice President, Al Gore, by labeling them "liberals" – perversely confirming that the DLC had succeeded in moving the national Democratic Party rightward. Clinton unleashed the dogs of Wall Street to inflate the speculative bubble that obligingly waited for him to leave office before bursting – a legacy of corporate mayhem, a marauding World Trade Organization, massive de-industrialization, merger madness, and obscene growth in CEO compensation that George Bush eagerly builds upon.
As a sop to Blacks, Clinton promised to "mend, not end" affirmative action.
Clinton's DLC is in trouble. The Black, union and anti-war base of the Democratic Party has tagged the DLC's candidate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, as the personification of betrayal, and he is finished. Rep. Dick Gephardt pins all his hopes on union endorsements based on his leadership in the losing 1994 battle with Clinton and the GOP over NAFTA. Massachusetts Sen. Jim Kerry is considered too close to Edward Kennedy, who is anathema to DLC leadership. And Senators John Edwards (NC) and Bob Graham (FL) no longer matter.
That leaves Howard Dean, who enthusiastically supported NAFTA as Governor of Vermont but now gets angry when reminded of the fact. "Where did you get this, ˜I was a strong supporter of NAFTA?' I never did anything about it," Dean snapped at ABC's George Stephanopoulos. (MSNBC, September 17.) Dean means that, as a state Governor, he did not have the opportunity to vote for NAFTA. Lucky him, given the present Democratic political climate.
Bill Clinton considers front-runner Dean a captive of the Left – a notion that some lefties also cling to. So Clinton pulls all the switches to light up his hologram, Wesley Clark.
Clinton's own magic lies largely in his ability to hypnotize significant numbers of African Americans – a vestige of Old South race relations. Bill and Hillary are "good white folks" – a rare and welcome sight, back in the day. Clinton knows how to work a Black church, and the congregation is always glad he came – grateful, actually, for the attentions of "good white folks." There is really nothing more to it.
Determined to once again crush the left wing of the Party, Bill and Hillary's first intervention was to attempt to transfer their Black mojo to Wesley Clark. As the "first Black President" (courtesy of Babble-on's own Toni Morrison), and an icon at the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, Clinton appears to believe that "his" African Americans are fungible commodities.
Eager to please, Congressman Charles Rangel picked up the water bucket, and carried it straight to the General. Rangel tells the story somewhat differently, of course, claiming the endorsement was his idea, but that he first called New York Sen. Hillary Clinton because, well, that's what friends do. "I talked to her for an hour the other day and told her I was leaning toward endorsing the general," Rangel told Newsday's Dennis Dugan. "She talked glowingly about General Clark and what a fine president he would make, but then she said, 'Charlie, I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing General Clark.'"
Sorry, Charlie. Nobody believes either one of you.
Speaking Truth to white folks
The same corporate media that pretend Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich and Carol Moseley-Braun do not exist have suddenly discovered blinding whiteness in the Dean camp. Although there is no doubt that Dean's digital-based campaign reflects the racial and class character of the digital divide, the candidate was unfairly mocked for his remarks at the Baltimore presidential hopefuls debate, September 9. "I'm the only white politician that ever talks about race in front of white audiences," Dean declared. Historically, Dean is right on the mark; "mainstream" white candidates seldom make anti-racism pitches to mostly white audiences.
Dean distinguished himself, race-wise, early on and magnificently at the Democrats' winter meeting, February 21, in Washington: "White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals in the back ought to be voting with us and not them, because their kids don't have health insurance, either, and their kids need better schools, too."
Nobody but Dean on the "top tier" of candidates talks like that in mostly white company. Now, that's "good white folks" – for what it's worth.
And in Yssys opinion, it's not worth much....