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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Wesley Clark Would Win It

It's been Democratic VP week here at Presidential Politics for America. Monday was used to narrow down the field to four. Tuesday was used to examine the four. Wednesday was used to narrow down the four to two. Wednesday was also used to predict the eventual Democratic VP nominee: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.

The general media's consensus is that the VP choice will be Bayh, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, or New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. However, though Bayh is a safe choice, I think there's still a realistic Democrat out there that no one in the mainstream media seems to consider a finalist, despite being perfect for the job: former General Wesley Clark.

Where do we begin with the strengths Clark brings to a campaign? Considering that Obama's biggest weakness is a lack of experience dealing with foreign and military matters, here is a list of credentials that Clark brings to the table to offset those perceived weaknesses:

He was a four-star general.
He was the Supreme Commander of the NATO Allied Forces from 1997-2000.
That rank is the highest ranking of any living, retired military officer in the country.
That position required that he used not only military skills, but diplomatic skills, both of which he exercised successfully.

These types of experiences are even more crucial after the recent events in Georgia propelled McCain's recent pop in the polls. Recent polled voters have favored McCain at about 2 to 1 over Obama when asked which candidate was better suited to deal with Russia's aggression. Such a supermajority of voters is one of the scariest statistics the Obama campaign can see right now. If this election becomes about national security and foreign policy, Obama will lose. The Iraq War won't matter. Afghanistan won't matter. Iran won't matter. Republicans win national security elections, especially when the Republican is a John McCain. It's that simple.

That is, unless, Obama has someone with the military bonafides of a Wesley Clark. This guy makes John Kerry look like a Private First Class. With these experiences, Clark would be the perfect attack dog on Senator McCain. Obama cannot come with a "been there, done that" attitude when it comes to the military. On many points, he must defer to McCain.

Clark will do no such deferring.

What else does Clark bring to the table? Clinton supporters love him, so he strengthens the unity of the party after the acrimonious primary. He is well respected by both parties, though the GOP will undoubtedly find reasons to dislike and discredit him if he does become the VP nominee. His ideology has fit neatly into the Democratic Party after he joined it, albeit recently (2003). His academic experience has been nothing less than stellar. He graduated first in his class from West Point. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship from Oxford University, and graduated with a Masters in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

So I'd say the resume is there, as is the desire. Unlike Bayh, who has hemmed and hawed at the possibility of running for president, Clark made a late bid for the 2004 presidential nomination, too late to make a real run. Many believe he could have won the nomination had he announced a few months earlier.

If you're a Democrat, Wesley Clark should be a guy you want on the top of a ticket. Since this is clearly Barack Obama's turn, Democrats should be happy to have Clark on the ticket at all, and could look forward for a run from him as an incumbent vice-president in 8 years (when he'll be 72... the exact age McCain is now).

Tomorrow, I believe, is the day we find out who the Democratic Party has chosen. I'll be sure to make a short post when I can with my thoughts.

4 comments:

Thomas said...

I'm buyin' what you're sellin'! Go Clark!

Kelly McCall Brown said...

I'm totally behind you as well... I see the writing on the wall - hope I'm right!

Dan said...

We're hearing nothing about Clark, though. It's Biden.

Kelly McCall Brown said...

Here are my reasons:
http://punditscamp.blogspot.com/2008/08/yet-more-wes-clark-speculation.html

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