Skip to main content

Clark Tosses Brass Hat In Ring
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Sept. 16, 2003

Wesley Clark, the retired general with a four-star military resume but no political experience, has told supporters he will become the tenth Democrat to enter the presidential race, CBS News has learned.

"He's made his decision and will announce it tomorrow in Little Rock," said Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for Clark. The announcement will be made at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, sources said.

Fabiani did not reveal Clark's decision, but officials close to the former general said he told his fledgling campaign team that he's in the race.

North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was formally announcing his candidacy Tuesday, as well.

A small group of legal, financial and political strategists were invited to a Tuesday meeting in Little Rock after being told Clark was ready to seek the presidency.

One of the invitees, speaking on condition of anonymity, said before the meeting that he was told it was "a 99 percent certainty" that Clark would run, but the retired general wanted to finalize his thinking at Tuesday's session.

Among those invited to the Little Rock meeting, officials said, were: Fabiani, a former spokesman for the Clinton White House; Ron Klain, a strategist in Al Gore's 2000 campaign; Washington lawyer Bill Oldaker; Vanessa Weaver, a Clinton appointee; and Skip Rutherford, a Clinton fund-raiser who lives here. Bruce Lindsey, former White House aide and now an Arkansas lawyer, also backs Clark.

A top Democratic organizer "” another veteran of the Clinton-Gore political team "” said he flew to Arkansas for the talks after being told Clark was virtually certain to run. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Clinton has urged Clark to run, but associates say he will not take sides in the primary fight.

Clark, 58, believes his four-star military service would counter Mr. Bush's political advantage as a wartime commander in chief, friends say. The retired general has been critical of the Iraq war and Mr. Bush's postwar efforts, positions that would put him alongside announced candidates Howard Dean, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio as the most vocal anti-war candidates.

It would be a long-shot bid.

Just four months before voting begins, Clark would be competing against candidates who have had months to raise money, build organizations in key states and recruit the party's top political talent.

But the strategists assembled in Little Rock are among the party's best. An Internet-fueled draft-Clark movement has developed the seeds of a campaign organization and more than $1 million in pledges.

Clark's resume is formidable "” Rhodes scholar, first in his 1966 class at West Point, White House fellow, head of the U.S. Southern Command and NATO commander during the 1999 campaign in Kosovo.

Nearly 12 years after Bill Clinton announced his first campaign, Arkansans were excited at the prospect of backing another favorite son.

Jean Wallace, a classmate of Clark's from grammar school, has organized Warriors for Wes, a group of Clark classmates named after the mascot at their alma mater, Hall High School. She said the supporters were ready to travel the country to tout Clark's candidacy the way "Friends of Bill" organizations crisscrossed the country campaigning for Clinton.

"We are eagerly awaiting an announcement very shortly. There are thousands of people across the country doing the same thing, people who have put their hearts and time and resources into this effort," Jeff Dailey, spokesman for Draft Clark for President 2004, said.

The group, one of several Draft Clark groups, boasts of 166 coordinators in 50 states.

© MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela


Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Between this and the release of the new Erykah Badu CD, today so far has been a great day. I actually knew he'd run when I saw him last week on Bill Maher. He didn't say anything specific, but he sounded extremely presidential in the things he said. But I think so highly of Clark that I'm strongly considering becoming involved in his campaign.
I saw today that Clark was polling at 10% nationally among Democrats last week!! That's amazing considering that he is just now announcing his candidacy and the others have been campaigning for months. John Edwards, for example, polled at 5 - 6%.

There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
Here's a nice expose on Clark from the Washington Post.

Clark seen as talented, testy
By Vernon Loeb, The Washington Post

From his plebe year at West Point, retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark was always first in his class, a step ahead of his peers. His rise to the top of the U.S. military seemed almost preordained, given his drive, intellect and burning will to win.

BUT CLARK, 58, who won the Purple Heart and Silver Star in Vietnam in 1970 and commanded NATO's air war in Kosovo 29 years later, remains a highly controversial figure within the U.S. military, disliked and mistrusted by many fellow officers.
Supporters and detractors agree on this much: Clark is immensely talented, possessed of a keen strategic sensibility and the kind of gold-plated military credentials that could make him a formidable candidate in the Democratic race for president.

Clark's intense, emotional personality and his aggressive -- some say abrasive -- command style are likely to be the focus of intense scrutiny as he takes on the biggest challenge of a peripatetic career almost defined by the pursuit of challenge, a run for the presidency in which his national security credentials will figure large in his potential appeal.

Raised in Little Rock, Clark was the only member of his West Point class selected as a Rhodes scholar to attend Oxford University in England, where he was two years ahead of Bill Clinton. While some of his detractors in the military came to demean him as one of "Clinton's generals," Clark and Clinton were only casual acquaintances when Clark rose to prominence at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration.

As director of policy and plans for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Clark helped negotiate the Dayton peace accords in 1995 that ended the conflict in Bosnia. He led a team the same year that wrote a new national military strategy.

Four years later, having risen to command the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as supreme allied commander Europe, Clark held the fractious, 19-member military alliance together through 78 days of bombing and led NATO to victory, driving Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his Serb forces from the province of Kosovo.

But Clark's hard-charging style, his penchant for dealing directly with the White House and his ceaseless agitation for ground forces during the Kosovo conflict -- over the wishes of Defense Secretary William S. Cohen -- caught up with him a month after the end of the war. In July 2000, while dining with the president of Lithuania in London, Clark was called by Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who curtly informed him that Cohen had decided to ease him out of his NATO command. The call stunned Clark. It meant he would have to leave his NATO post three months earlier than scheduled and without a year's extension, which he had expected.

Clark had clashes outside the administration as well. In the war's immediate aftermath, when a contingent of Russian troops moved quickly into Kosovo and occupied the airfield at Pristina, the provincial capital, a British officer, Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson, refused a direct order from Clark to block the runway so the Russians could not fly in reinforcements.

Clark, who believed additional Russian troops could have led to a confrontation with NATO and possibly jeopardized the nascent allied peacekeeping mission, insisted. But Jackson stood firm, believing the Russians were isolated at the airfield and did not represent a threat. "Sir, I'm not starting World War III for you," Jackson replied.

"I saw the problem in strategic terms," Clark wrote in his 2001 memoir, "Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo and the Future of Combat," noting that he had approval to issue the order from the Pentagon and NATO. "This could be a defining moment for the future of NATO. Would we not be able to conduct our own peacekeeping missions? Would Russia be co-equal with NATO in this operation? Would Russia get its way by deception and bluff or by negotiation and compromise? Would we have an effective operation or another weak U.N.-type force?"

Much later, after retiring from active duty in 2000, Clark allowed as how he had had only two bad days in 38 years of service: the day he was shot in the hand, shoulder, leg and hip on patrol north of Saigon, and the day Shelton called him to say he would have to retire early.

"For me the [Kosovo] war was professional, but it was also personal," Clark wrote. "It drew on the experience and insights of my full 37 years of military service; it placed heavy demands on character and stamina, and it strained my relations with some American colleagues."

Clark saw Cohen and the Joint Chiefs as overly cautious in their opposition to the use of ground troops or Apache helicopters in Kosovo, which he advocated as options to force Milosevic to capitulate as his Serb forces proved skilled at surviving NATO bombing from 15,000 feet. At least one member of the Joint Chiefs, Clark wrote, "was almost looking for reasons why the ground attack in Kosovo would not work rather than how to make it work."

And his ease at interacting directly with civilians "across the river" at the White House only made things worse. "Some in the Pentagon had worked for two years to restrict my interactions within the broader U.S. government for reasons that were never entirely clear," he wrote.

One retired four-star general, who knows Clark well and represents a sentiment expressed by a number of his peers, said he fully understood Clark's ultimate clash with Cohen, Shelton and, particularly, the leadership of the Army.

"The guy is brilliant," said the general, who agreed to speak candidly about Clark only if his name were not used. "He's very articulate, he's extremely charming, he has the best strategic sense of anybody I have ever met. But the simple fact is, a lot of people just don't trust his ability" as a commander.

While his strategic analysis is "almost infallible," his command solutions tended to be problematic, even "goofy," the general said, "and he pushed them even when they weren't going to work."

The general said Clark "needs to win, right down to the core of his fiber," which tends to make him "highly manipulative."

"There are an awful lot of people," added another retired four-star, who also requested anonymity, "who believe Wes will tell anybody what they want to hear and tell somebody the exact opposite five minutes later. The people who have worked closely with him are the least complimentary, because he can be very abrasive, very domineering. And part of what you saw when he was relieved of command was all of the broken glass and broken china within the European alliance and the [U.S.] European Command."

'not one of the good ol' boys'
Clark's many supporters inside and outside the military dispute the contention voiced by critics that his ambition and drive to come out on top made him untrustworthy in the eyes of his peers.

"I have watched him at close range for 35 years, in which I have looked at the allegation, and I found it totally unsupported," said retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who taught with Clark at West Point in the 1970s. "That's not to say he isn't ambitious and quick. He is probably among the top five most talented I've met in my life. I think he is a national treasure who has a lot to offer the country."

McCaffrey acknowledges that Clark was not the most popular four-star general in the Army leadership. "This is no insult to Army culture, a culture I love and admire," McCaffrey said, "but he was way too bright, way too articulate, way too good looking and perceived to be way too wired to fit in with our culture. He was not one of the good ol' boys."

One fellow cadet at West Point said there is a photograph on the credenza behind the sofa in Clark's living room. It shows Clark, as a West Point cadet, standing next to retired Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President John F. Kennedy, and peering out across the academy's storied campus.

"It gives you a sense of where Wes saw himself going," recalled the classmate, who is also retired from the Army. "There are people who are put off by the silver spoon in his mouth, which he uses, and those who say it was unavoidable, because the big guys couldn't resist him."

One was William J. Perry, who as deputy defense secretary first encountered Clark in 1994 when he was a three-star general on the Joint Staff. "I was enormously impressed by him," said Perry, a mathematician and legendary Pentagon technologist who later served as secretary of defense under Clinton.

Perry was so impressed, in fact, that with Clark facing retirement unless a four-star job could be found for him, Perry overrode the Army and insisted that Clark be appointed head of the U.S. Southern Command, one of the military's powerful regional commanders in chief, or CINCs. "I was never sorry for that appointment," Perry said.

A year later, Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs who held a similar view of Clark, overrode the Army once again and made sure Clark became supreme allied commander Europe, traditionally the most powerful CINC, with command of all U.S. and NATO forces on the continent.

Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is thankful he did. An author and strategist who has also had his fights with the Army brass, Macgregor said he will forever be indebted to Clark for taking a chance and naming him as director of planning at NATO headquarters in Belgium in 1997.

"There is this aspect of his character -- he is loyal to people he knows are capable and competent," Macgregor said. "As for his peers, it's a function of jealousy and envy, and it's a case of misunderstanding. General Clark is an intense person, he's passionate, and certainly the military is suspicious of people who are intense and passionate. He is a complex man who does not lend himself to simplistic formulations. But he is very competent, and devoted to the country."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

MSNBC Terms, Conditions and Privacy ©2003

There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
Interesting stuff. It sounds like he's his own man. Being so insistent about things, and having never held political office, I wonder how effectively he'll be able to let his people guide him when it's necessary.

Nevertheless, this guy, so far, seems to me like the real deal. I'd love to see him go against Dubya.

Thanks, MBM!!
I like him. As of right now, and barring any nasty, freaky past, he's the current 'front runner' for my vote. As a vet myself, I can fully respect the General and his resume. He has the most 'experience' of all the other candidates, esp. in this 'war of the month' era of US History. If he sends the troops somewhere, unlike CLinton and Bush Jr., he can fully understand what that would mean to the men and women going and the families that they leave behind.

'Sometimes life is obscene' - Black Crowes

Commerical Hall of Fame - All time list

'Who in the hell left the gate open???' Confused

'Somebody put roots on me' Frown

'I've fallen, and I can't give up!!!' broscream
There is a group called "Blacks 4 Clark" already. Read this moving letter sent into the Editors at

Dear Africana Editor,

In the past, African American voters were easy. All a politician had to do was deliver a tearful speech about civil rights and show that he knew at least three words of "We Shall Overcome" or "We Are Family." An on-stage wiggle (on beat or syncopated, didn't matter) was all it took to cinch the majority of the "black vote." Post-inauguration, tearful hymns could give way to "political reality"; the walk could safely decouple from the talk and the Electric Boogaloo could become the Beltway Slide. It was all part of the game.
We should be tired of it. After all, the rest of the country got tired of it years ago. In fact, they were so tired in 1999, that Americans of every demographic settled for Bush the Lesser and called it a night. Small wonder we were caught napping in 2001, until the Mother of All Wake-Up Calls. Yet, even then, we were not led, we followed. Now, having followed this Administration down a dark and cluttered alley, we're wide awake and wondering what to do with nine un-electable candidates. We need to find somebody to love in this time of cholera, because voting Republican is not an option.

So, what is the average African American voter to do?

Let's start by recognizing that no white politician will ever experience the trials or tribulations of being an African American. Not one can look at Oprah, the most famous black woman since Cleopatra, with the same combustible mixture of pride and envy. Not one despairs of yet another "OJ," "Jayson" or "Kobe" or experiences the impulsive desire to slap them silly, because they should have known better! We know this, yet we continue to ask white politicians to be black for a day. And, black politicians to be blacker every day. Why then, are we still amazed that our Kmart shares don't return Saks Fifth Avenue dividends?

I propose that African Americans start standing firm and vote for the Best Thing, instead of settling for the Next Blackest Thing. We need to stop accepting involvement in the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 1960s as a proxy for present day action on issues vital to the well-being of our culture, our children and extended-family overseas. We must start refusing aspirin, when what we need is a surgeon.

We have to stop asking white candidates to put on black face for a few hours on some stopover to somewhere else. They need to be with us and talk with us. We have to stop bullying companies into doing "the right thing," when their right thing has never been our right thing. To do this, we need to put our whole bodies inside the door, not just our feet. We are not outsiders in this country, and it's time we stopped short-changing our children by being so damned easy.

Wesley Clark, a General of four stars, is not likely to get up on stage and wiggle his hips. He's not going to enthrall the choir with tales of his days as a Civil Rights marcher. No: you're not going to get someone who is blacker than Dean on the day. What you're going to get is straight logic, straight talk and someone who walks a straight line. We'll get substance from this man, who already has plenty of style. He might sing a few hymns, but you can be sure that he will know the words.

Wesley K. Clark has vision and a track record of leadership. He has always stood up for our sons and daughters in the military, because he knows that "best" means the most competent, and "brightest" has nothing to do with skin color. He is a soldier for equal opportunity because every child needs to be brought forward to explore her potential, not pulled up from behind like somebody's stepchild. African Americans who are ready to participate in a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Bush America will be able to stand tall because of what they can do, not fall because of who they are.

Wesley Clark doesn't have to scare the country into submission, because he's a man who plans. He's going to have a road map through the minefield of unemployment, homeland security, health care and education. He's a man who believes in human intelligence and believes that humans need to act intelligently. He understands the meaning of "global village," and he wants to make sure that this village is green and fruitful for our grandchildren's grandchildren. He will not walk it alone and he will not half-step.

As President, Wes Clark will create and foster an environment in which African Americans can thrive, not just survive. This is not trickle-down voodoo economics, but solid financial planning and fiscal responsibility. Black enterprise will not just be the name of a magazine, but a concept that goes hand in hand with American prosperity.

As the Reverend Al Sharpton has already started to do, the eight other Democrats should recognize that their consolidated knowledge, experience and political savvy can rescue the White House for America. They should unite behind Wesley Clark: one for Vice President, the rest as his Knights of the Round Table.

So, don't ask Wesley Clark how black he can be, because the real question is how black we can be when driving, walking, shopping, playing and working in America. At the next CBC debate, we hope he's there. We hope he's there, with colors flying.

Regina Mullen
Director, Blacks 4 Clark

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
These are my sentiments exactly. If we stand with the candidate who would make the best president of the United States, we consequently stand with the one who'll make the best president for blacks. Those who look like the best for "us" but not "them" are really no good for "us" either. I've been saying that on this and other boards for more than 2 years now, and I'm glad to see another black group recognize this.

Clark Among Democrat Leaders, Poll Shows
Sun Sep 21, 8:51 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Retired Gen. Wesley Clark already appears to be competitive in a new national poll released just days after he became the 10th Democratic presidential candidate.

Clark was among the leaders of the Democratic candidates in the Newsweek Poll released Saturday, and was not far behind President Bush (news - web sites) in a head-to-head matchup in the poll taken only days after entering the race.

Clark, with 14 percent, was grouped among the leaders, along with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (news - web sites) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (news - web sites) of Connecticut, both at 12 percent, and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) at 10 percent.

[Vox's editorial comment: Why do they say he's AMONG the leaders? He's THE leader, from these numbers, right? Or (here i go being objective again) does it have something to do with the poll's "margin for error?" ]

Other candidates were in single digits.

Clark has a lot of work to do, however, in states with early contests, which will likely be key to winning the nomination.

The survey by Newsweek magazine also suggested Bush may be increasingly vulnerable on issues from Iraq (news - web sites) to domestic concerns.

Disapproval of his handling of the situation in Iraq has increased 5 percentage points since the last Newsweek poll to 47 percent, about the same as the 46 percent who approved. Just under four in 10, 38 percent, approve of his handling of the economy, while 57 percent disapprove.

The president's overall job approval rating stood at 51 percent, about where it's been in several recent polls.

In a matchup with Bush, 47 percent of voters backed the president and 43 percent backed Clark.

Matched against Kerry, Bush had a slightly larger lead, 48 percent to 43 percent, and led Dean in a head-to-head matchup, 52 percent to 38 percent.

The poll of 1,001 adults was taken Thursday and Friday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, and 4 percentage points for registered voters.


Dean, campaigning in his native New York state on Saturday, decried United States "foreign policy based on the petulance" of Bush.

Standing with the Hudson River behind him, along with four kayakers carrying Dean signs, the former Vermont governor said that when it comes to the New York primary in March, "New York City will be a donnybrook" because he and the other candidates would all get strong support there.

In a move designed to highlight his attention to New York beyond the Big Apple "” and the other candidates' lack of attention to the region "” Dean told an enthusiastic crowd of more than 750 people on the Hudson, N.Y., waterfront, "I think I'm the first presidential candidate to come to Hudson since Bobby Kennedy" in 1968.

Dean drew repeated cheers with his stock attacks on Bush.

"I think it's time we ended a foreign policy based on the petulance of the chief executive of the United States," the Democrat told the crowd at Hudson's Waterfront Park. He attended two fund-raisers in the area.


Dean has set an ambitious $5 million goal for collecting money through the Internet during the last 10 days of the fund-raising quarter.

Campaign manager Joe Trippi said Saturday that progress toward the goal will be tracked on Dean's Web site Sunday through Sept. 30, when each of the Democratic presidential candidates must report their July-September collections.

The totals will be an important measuring stick of the campaigns' viability. Dean raised more money than eight other Democrats in the last quarter, a surprise showing that helped make him the field's nominal front-runner.

He is expected to raise as much as $15 million this quarter "” $5 million more than last quarter and far more than any of his nine rivals are expected to collect.
Vox, is everyone copying the words and ideas of the NOI and Malcolm X these days?! I followed the sister up until she started talking about Wesley Clark. Although I was in service while he was commanding, I don't feel that I know enough about him to speak about him as Ms. Mullen is. I think this is a political ploy skilfully being used by Mr. Clark to gain the black vote, something borrowed from Rev. Sharpton. I find it ironic that this is something being used by a white man to say to black people, but God forbid if a black person comes out and says that we should do the right thing for black folks. They'll end up like Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson being called a racist radical or something else like that. I just don't buy it.
Well, I don't know if it's a ploy or not, but unless this woman is a mouthpiece, saying what he demands her to say, I don't see what exactly is wrong with her saying it. On the other hand, it seems to me that most of the Democrats, including black democratic officials, for my entire lifetime, have been talking about a candidate doing what's best for "us," when they talk to us. But they always talk the talk without walking the walk, and I think it costs us. You say that there's hell to pay when we hear people saying that candidates should do for "us." Well, there must be a lot of hell being paid, judging from the fliers that come around my door every election day. In state elections, we get promises to pass laws banning racial profiling. We don't get promises to keep government spending low, or do something about our high auto insurance rates. We only get promises that are aimed at making us believe that the candidate "feels our pain." Because obviously, no state law banning racial profiling can stop racial profiling, when state and federal constitutional guarantees against it couldn't stop it. In the 2000 presidential election, we had a guy who rides Clinton's popularity with blacks all the way to 90% of our vote, even though his running mate was Lieberman, AKA "Bush-But-With-Brains." And early indications were that even Lieberman in the current campaign was getting a lot of that support before Dean started surging.

Our elected leaders -- at least our statewide or federal leaders -- need to be those who will look out for the best interests of the jurisdiction they govern. If the country suffers because of poor leadership, the members of the population who generally are at the bottom will bear the brunt of that. Tell me what you'll do re: federal judicial nominations, taxes, foreign policy, and the budget deficit. Don't tell me how many blacks you'll put in your cabinet. Or, better yet: tell me that, and all of the other things too.

Clark is going to have to play the game, obviously, and he should. As I'm sure you and I agree, it would be insulting if went around telling white farmers what he'll do for them, but then asks blacks to put aside their issues. But because of the way these candidates try to woo us with many issues that ultimately are pointless, it's time to start looking more at the substance of the candidate, rather than the skill he uses to "connect" with our plight. Hopefully a candidate will "connect" with us in that emotional way but also shows some substance to be a strong leader for America. So far, this guy seems to fit that bill, and the rest of them don't. But we'll see how this plays out in the coming months.
Originally posted by Vox:
These are my sentiments exactly. If we stand with the candidate who would make the best president of the United States, we consequently stand with the one who'll make the best president for blacks. Those who look like the best for "us" but not "them" are really no good for "us" either. I've been saying that on this and other boards for more than 2 years now, and I'm glad to see another black group recognize this.

Vox you are so on point with this statement. A good president will naturally do the right things for blacks as well as other minorities.
Well, knowing nothing about Wesley Clark, I just finished watching a tape of his announcement to run for president. Next, I came here to read this thread in hopes of gaining an answer to a question that I have about him. I've read every post here, and I still am going to have to ask the question of why I should rally behind or vote for this person as president of the United States? (And the question is up for grabs for anyone who cares to answer it!)

From the little perspective I've gained on him so far, I've come to the conclusion that his military background and service is unquestioned ... but should that be enough make someone President? He has no political background, yet the woman in the letter so emphatically states that his domestic plan and agenda would be the good and right one for America ... but how does she know that, if he has never had to draft up such an economic or health care or education plan? Commanding troops is not the same as creating jobs. So, does anybody know of experiences or practical situations that would make him skilled in the important matters that we face as a country ... other than his astute military prowess?

That's not to say that we don't need somebody who's well-versed militarily in the White House at this time. Our foreign policy and foreign relations are in the toilet, for sure, and someone with military savvy would benefit us greatly in those areas. But is it enough? Can somebody like that take the whole ball and run with it? Just asking Smile

Anyway, and this is not reflection on him, but the man who introduced him, Rep. Marion Berry, D-Arkansas, started his introduction speech by quoting the words of the Bill of Rights and the "every man is created equal" thing and the "inalieable rights" spiel ... and I gotta tell you, that's an almost automatic turn-off with me, unless it's followed by something like 'yet, it wasn't really true at the time it was written, because millions of "citizens" were denied those rights and so this country was built on a lie ... but, as Americans, we are making a strong effort towards righting that wrong' (or something to that effect! Big Grin) Of course, since Clark, himself, didn't say those words in his speech, I can't and won't hold it against him. But it was a tough fight to battle the urge to do so! Smile

He did say in his speech that in the coming weeks he would be coming up with and presenting some of his his domestic-related plans. Of course, I will wait for those to see what he comes up with in forming my assessment of him ... but in the meantime, any of his supporters care to take a crack at my question? Any and all answers, links and/or articles will be appreciated! Thanks!

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
but the man who introduced him, Rep. Marion Berry, D-Arkansas...

??? Some coinkidink, huh?

... started his introduction speech by quoting the words of the Bill of Rights and the "every man is created equal" thing and the "inalieable rights" spiel ... and I gotta tell you, that's an almost automatic turn-off with me, unless it's followed by something like 'yet, it wasn't really true at the time it was written, because millions of "citizens" were denied those rights and so this country was built on a lie ... but, as Americans, we are making a strong effort towards righting that wrong' (or something to that effect! Big Grin)

Does that need to be said after every single utterance of those words?

Anyway, you wanted me, currently a Clark supporter, to try to answer the question why you "should rally behind or vote for this person as president of the United States." I can only try to answer why I like him so far. My issues may not be the same as yours. I probably should put this in Editorials, but here goes...

First off, my #1 issue this year is that nothing is more important right now than getting George W. Bush out of office. As you know, I'm one of the biggest boosters of the idea that blacks need to stop being so monolithic in supporting the Democrats. However, this year, I would urge us all to support the Democratic candidate who has the best chance of beating this joker and getting him and his cabal out of the White House. Whichever candidate looks to be the one most likely to beat Bush is the one I'm voting for, no matter what. There are two reasons for this.

1) I love this country, and Bush is really botching things up. Just when I began to believe that the USA would outlive me, this guy comes along and starts destroying all of the things that guaranteed its success. The Iraq war, if we don't rebuild Iraq properly, will result in what could have been our #1 Arab ally (modern, secular culture, cheap, abundant, easy to produce oil, 5000 years of culture) into an anarchic hotbed of terrorism and chaos. I'm convinced Bush doesn't care. And US dominance has largely been based on a politics of respect and cooperation with our allies. This guy Bush has gone Soviet on us, trying to bully our allies into submission. It failed the USSR, and it will fail the US, especially since our most powerful allies now make up an economic and military bloc in Europe that comes close to rivalling the US.

2) President Bush has stacked the federal courts with exceedingly rightwing judges who may or may not be particularly qualified, as long as they are as right wing as possible. Judicial activism is never good, but when the activism promotes ideological ends, it'll be disastrous, especially to those of us that are often seen as the targets of right wing animus. The damage from what he's done will be felt for decades, but 4 more years of Bush would be even worse: the current 9 Supreme Court justices have been together longer than any other lineup ever, and it's certain that at least three will leave between 2004 and 2008. If Bush gets to nominate their replacements, you're looking at 5 Antonin Scalias and Clarence Thomases. But also, Stevens is well into his 80s and at least one other one is dealing with significant health problems. So that's 5 that the next president might replace. So that'll make 2 moderate-to somewhat-liberals, and 7 who think like Thomas and Scalia.

Their decisions will shape the laws of this country for a century. With this kind of makeup, we are looking at a lifetime of neo-fascism. And I mean our grandchildren's lifetimes, not ours.

So, the most important thing is that Bush not be reelected.

So far, on the strength of his accomplishments and image alone, Clark appears #1, able to beat Bush, #2, able to beat Bush, and #3, able to beat Bush. So far, he seems to be strong, proven leader, who's statements so far on Iraq, the military (no matter how much change we want for blacks in this country, a strong, secure USA is pretty much a prerequisite), affirmative action, the deficit/taxes, and abortion so far appeal to me. He does have some learning to do re: campaigning (witness the controversy over his supposed "flip-flop" on Iraq a few days back), and he has to flesh out his policy on a lot of things. I look forward to hearing what he says tomorrow in an address he's supposed to be giving.

As far as I'm concerned, though, right now none of the other candidates strike me as able to really hone in on Bush's weaknesses. I'd vote for either one of them over GWB, but I'm putting a lot of hope on Clark being the real deal.
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....
Sarge, here's a tip: because Wesley Clark is a human being, surely there are real, legitimate criticisms you could come up with, and that we'll all discuss and digest. To blame this guy for Somalia, and then post the ridiculous lie that ethnic cleansing in the Balkans was a hoax, shows a level of desperation that's not necessary this early in the campaign. There will undoubtedly be truthful bad things to say about him. Stick to those, and your arguments will have more credibility.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.