Dick Morris (I know, I know) has an interesting take on where the Dem nominee-selection stands right now. He believes that the party's primary process boils down to the selection of one liberal, and one moderate democratic candidate. The party has unequivocally selected Kerry to be its liberal candidate. The question of who will be the moderate candidate is still split between Clark, Edwards and Lieberman.
Click here if you missed it. I think Clark did a great job. He was strong and his answers were well-thought-out and well-delivered. The most striking thing was just how haunted Dean looked. He was totally off his game. I also think that Kerry's getting off waaaay to easily.
Clark is focusing his efforts down South, and he gave an absolutely fantastic speech yesterday in Tulsa, OK. Here is a link to the entire text of that speech. He's getting into a groove now. He needs to hammer on all the themes contained in this speech. Hopefully, in advance of tonight's debate, he's received some better preparation for the inevitable horse-race and/or gotcha questions. Here's a summary of Clark's take on real values: PATRIOTISM, FAITH, FAMILY VALUES, INCLUSION First is patriotism. When you're President of the United States, that means, first and foremost, protecting this country and all its citizens - at home and abroad. To do that, we need the strongest armed forces in the world. But we also need to commit ourselves to using force only as a last resort, after we've exhausted all other options. Unfortunately, our President has a different approach. He took us to war even though there was no connection to September 11th and no imminent threat to the United States. Even though our allies weren't fully on board, and we hadn't exhausted all diplomatic alternatives. Even though we didn't have a plan to win and get our troops home safely. That's not patriotism. It's bad leadership. And today, even after the capture of Saddam Hussein, our troops are still in harm's way, and al Qaeda is still at large. More than 120,000 service men and women are still in Iraq, placing enormous stress on tens of thousands of families back at home. And more than 500 have been killed -- sixteen in the last week alone. This simply cannot go on. We need to clean up the mess in Iraq. I've got a success strategy to do just that - to get our soldiers home with Iraq and America standing strong, so we can focus on the war on terrorism and the real enemy: Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network. We've got to rebuild our alliances and restore America's historic role as a leader around the world. And we've got to give our veterans and soldiers the care and benefits they deserve. The second value I want to discuss is faith. Not just where you pray, or who you pray to, but the fundamental value all faiths teach: that if you have more in life, if you're more fortunate, or more favored, then you have an obligation to reach out and help those with less. Growing up in Arkansas, I learned that a lot of people can talk about religion and quote the scriptures, but not everybody practices what they preach. We're seeing a lot of that today in Washington. Our President talks a lot about leaving no child behind. But since he took office, half a million children have fallen into poverty. He talks a lot about compassion. But his compassion seems to be directed more at the Enrons and Halliburtons of America than at the millions of American families who can't make ends meet. That's unacceptable. And when I'm in the White House, we're going to reach out to those who are struggling. We're going to lift two million children out of poverty by raising the minimum wage, giving tax relief to hard-pressed families, and providing help with housing, childcare and transportation to those who need it most. And that brings me to the third value I want to discuss - family values. I know what it's like to struggle to make ends meet - and to watch every penny you have. I didn't grow up with much. My dad died when I was four, and he left us with less than a few months rent. My mom took a job as a secretary just to pay the bills. We didn't have much more when I was in the Army. For more than half of my thirty-four years, I earned less than $50,000 a year. I spent the summer of my fortieth birthday with my family living in a trailer in the Mohave dessert. So I know what it's like to struggle at the end of every month just to save a few dollars for a rainy day. I know what it's like to drive a car with tape on the muffler because you don't have the money to replace it. It isn't easy. And as president, I will never, ever forget where I'm from and who I'm for -- America's working families. They will be at the heart of every decision I make, starting with the most basic decisions about our economy. Because you can't take care of your family without the opportunity to work and make a decent wage. But the sad fact is that today, too many Americans are working harder and harder for less and less. Under George W. Bush, the typical working family has seen its income fall by nearly $1,500. And as incomes have fallen, expenses have gone up - way up. The result is that too many families are struggling to make ends meet. The Republicans talk a lot about family values. It's time they started valuing families. My Families First Tax Reform Plan is going to turn this around. Under my reform plan, families of four making under $50,000 will stop paying income taxes altogether - they will not have to pay a single penny in federal income tax. And all taxpaying families with children making under $100,000 will get a tax cut. The average family will get $1,500 - real money they can use for groceries, prescription drugs, and utility bills. I know how much of a difference $100 a month can make. I've been there. That's why we must give America's working families the tax relief they need and deserve. And my plan won't increase the deficit by one dime. I'm going to pay for it by closing corporate loopholes and by having families with incomes greater than $1 million a year pay a five percentage point higher tax rate on the amount they earn over a million dollars a year. And we're going to take back the tax cuts George Bush gave the wealthiest Americans - those earning over $200,000 a year - and use that money for job creation. That's just the beginning. You can't build strong families without basic health care. We're going to extend health insurance coverage to 30 million Americans - including every single American child. And we're going to give every student who needs it a $6,000 grant for each of the first two years of college, helping an additional one million Americans enroll in college. Because the bottom line is that our children will never compete in the 21st century economy if they don't have a 21st century education. These are the kind of family values that will unite our country, because strong families are the key to strong communities. That brings me to the final value I want to talk about today - inclusion, and how we're going to bring people together. Growing up in Little Rock, we learned about inclusion -- the hard way. I was twelve years old when we had the integration crisis at Central High School, when nine brave young men and women faced down a mob to get their education and educate all of us. It took the 101st Airborne Division to show us that fundamentally we're all alike, and that every single person in America must be treated equally regardless of their race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, or any other factor. That's what we believed in the United States Army. For 34 years, I served with men and women from all backgrounds under one flag: the American flag. And right from the beginning, I knew that our diversity is our greatest strength, and that the wider we open our doors, the stronger we are. That's why I've always stood up for equal opportunity and affirmative action. And I'm leading this campaign the same way I led in the Army. The doors of my campaign are open to everyone. Because when we take on George Bush this fall, we want everyone to join us, no matter what your party registration says. We want Democrats. We want Independents. We want Republicans too - and we won't even make them repent. There's just too much at stake not to open our Democratic doors to all who share in our values. That's how our party has succeeded in the past and how it will succeed in the future: by pulling together winning coalitions from across the spectrum. Coalitions of southerners and seniors, of veterans and rural Americans. That's what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did during the New Deal. And what led John F. Kennedy to victory in 1960 and Bill Clinton to the White House in 1992. And, I'm going to build on that same winning strategy in 2004 - on the same coalitions that built our great party -- to send George Bush back to that ranch in Texas. That's what my campaign for president is all about - bringing those values to Washington. They are the values I lived and led by for thirty-four years in the military -- and the values we need now more than ever to set our country straight. Let me finish up by saying this: I respect my opponents in this race. But I think that there is one issue above all others in this primary. And that is: Who is best equipped to beat George Bush. In a closely divided country, I think we need someone from the heartland to win. In a country at war, I think we need someone with the experience and understanding to lead. Someone who's been on the frontlines of battle and international diplomacy. In the face of a ruthlessly political President, I think we need someone who knows what he stands for -- who has put his career on the line for what he believes -- to stand up for Americans. So, if you are happy with the direction of our country, you should support the politicians who are running it. But if you think we can build a better America, and you want someone who is part of the solution, then I am your candidate. If you want a higher standard of leadership back in Washington, then I am your candidate. If you want a leader committed to the national interests, not the special interests ... to open, honest, and accountable government, then I am your candidate. If you want leadership committed to the next generation, not just the next election, then I am your candidate.
Congratulations to Wes Clark, his team and the entire NH GOTV effort. Wes Clark finished third in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the media and punditry seem to think otherwise. For some reason, Edwards is getting positive press having finished fourth, and Clark is getting negative press having finished third. This is absolutely ridiculous. Don't get me wrong - I like Edwards, and he's my second choice in this thing. But Edwards was among the first candidates to declare for the Presidency. He's been campaigning for a year. He had great momentum out of Iowa, having finished second. And all he could pull off was a fourth place finish, and he's getting positive press? The Draft Clark movement began last summer, but there was no campaign or campaign apparatus until September 2003. There was no money until September 2003. The campaign stumbled quite significantly throughout the Autumn of 2003. Yet Wes Clark finished an amazing third in New Hampshire - his first election. Pundits and bloggers are spinning that Clark's results are a disappointment because he had New Hampshire all to himself for the 1st two weeks in January. Well, those two weeks in January propelled him to third place. Not only third place, mind you, but third place behind the long-standing Senator from neighboring Massachusetts, and third place behind the former Governor of neighboring Vermont. In short, I think that Clark's third-place showing was a very positive outcome, and should help him in the upcoming February 3rd states. Now that the year-long pancake breakfast politicking is through, it's going to be more sound-bites, more media events, more TV ads. Clark has the advantage of cash in hand to make a go of it in these states. It's up to us to help him. If you can go to South Carolina or one of the other February 3rd states, go. If you can make phone calls and write letters, do so. Become an e-block captain at the Clark04 website and you can get numbers to call, and scripts to read right there on-line. You can get names and addresses for letters right there on-line. Let's not give up, and let's show the punditry and the media that this campaign has momentum, energy, life and legs.
The NYS Board of Elections has posted the final, certified list of candidate delegate slates. I'm proud to report that all of the delegate slates for WNY qualified. Congratulations to everyone for their hard work in November and December.
Many of you may have seen Peggy Noonan's despicable hit piece against General Clark this morning in the WSJ (online only) Opinion Journal. To the uninitiated, Ms. Noonan wrote thusly about her first encounter with her former boss and apparent unrequited love interest: "I first saw President Reagan as a foot, highly polished brown cordovan wagging merrily on a hassock. I spied it through the door. It was a beautiful foot, sleek. Such casual elegance and clean lines! But not a big foot, not formidable, maybe a little ...frail. I imagined cradling it in my arms, protecting it from unsmooth roads." Blecch. Noonan also believes that God sent magical dolphin/angels to save Elian Gonzalez. She called former Vice President of the United States of America Al Gore a "new-age whack job." Well, the most telling paragraph in her piece is the first one: "Let me assert something that I cannot prove with a poll but that is based on serious conversations the past few months with Republicans and also normal people: 9/11 changed everything." And she has the audacity to call Wesley Clark crazy.
Clark is getting a lot of grief for the Michael Moore flap from the SCLM. He missed a terrific opportunity or two in yesterday's Meet the Press. It was all well and good for Clark to respond the way he did at the debate on Thursday, but by Sunday he should have been able to say something including these points: 1. Michael Moore is entitled to his opinion. 2. Michael Moore is entitled to choose the words that he uses. 3. I would not have chosen the word “deserter”. 4. Since Thursday, I have briefly reviewed the controversy surrounding Bush’s last two years of Natl Guard Service. 5. Based on my cursory review of the available information, it appears that AWOL would more properly describe George W. Bush’s failure and refusal to complete the last two years of his Natl Guard duty. 6. As far as Moore’s sentiment is concerned, I agree that evidence appears to show that Bush failed to complete his duty. I just disagree with his choice of words. Instead, he bobbled it. He did say he wouldn't have used "deserter," and then gave a 2-minute or so monologue on domestic issues. The AWOL thing doesn't go to domestic issues - it goes to foreign policy. I.e., do you want a retired General or a Guardsman who went AWOL sending your kids into battle? I would have liked a strong response that took the President to task. Clark’s greatest selling point is his military/executive experience. He could have taken this opportunity to hit Bush in the National Security solarplexus, but didn’t. It was a missed opportunity, and judging by the polls it hasn’t done him any favors. It looks like Kerry & Edwards are getting most of the undecideds, to Clark's detriment. I'm really getting sketchy about tomorrow. If Clark doesn't come in at least 3rd after spending the entire month of January in NH, it won't bode well, and what's left of his momentum (which has recently been erratic) will be gone.
Are this crazed over Clark's performance last night, and Hannity and Bennett and the NRO and Sullivan are climbing over themselves to denounce Clark... ...that can only mean that Clark did a great job last night in the DEMOCRATIC debate. Also, check out York's last attempted hit piece on Clark: After hammering Clark for allegedly supporting the war in Iraq in his Times of London article, he adds this, which basically contradicts the very thesis of his diatr...I mean, piece: "To be fair, Clark expressed some reservations in the articles. He cautioned that more work needs to be done in Iraq, 'before we take our triumph.' There was still resistance to be dealt with, by 'armed persuasion.' Looting had to be stopped, order restored, and humanitarian aid begun. And weapons of mass destruction had not been found. "Clark also wrote that the war had left the U.S. and Britain diplomatically isolated. Still, he said, 'the immediate tasks at hand in Iraq cannot obscure the significance of the moment': 'The scent of victory, if not the end of the operation, is certainly in the air.'"
This is what I'm responding to. You opine that Clark is toast (probably because you’re parroting what Sean Hannity and virtues guru/serial gambler Bill Bennett had to say about the Clark/Moore issue. You say Clark gave up an opportunity to condemn Moore. Why should he? It’s an undisputed fact that Bush was unaccounted for during his last, required, year of Guard service. Bush has never produced convincing evidence to dispute the accusation that he was AWOL during that period of time. So, Moore used “deserter” instead of “AWOL”. Semantics. Besides, Clark is running in the Democratic primary. Not the Republican primary. So, the opinions of Sean Hannity and Bill Bennett (and Andrew Sullivan, for that matter) are somewhat irrelevant. Clark gave a fantastic answer to the London Times article question he got from Brit Hume (who apparently didn’t hear the previous question about Clark’s democratic bona fides). Clark didn’t want to impugn the President’s policies in a foreign publication. Clark was genuinely jubilant that the soldiers (with whom he had been a comrade for 34 years of his life) had won a decisive military victory. (I don’t find it hypocritical or disingenuous to oppose the decision to go to war, but celebrate its swift victorious outcome. In fact, many ordinary people share that opinion). He congratulated the soldiers, and their leaders for that victory, and set out several roadblocks that he saw ahead. He was right about those roadblocks, and the Pentagon thought they didn’t exist. That’s why a year later, Iraq is still largely chaotic, and over 500 servicepeople have been killed (more than during the war itself). You call Clark’s response “vacuous”. What’s so vacuous about this: No, that's not true. In fact, if you look at the whole article, what you'll see is that the article lays out a whole series of tasks that have to be done later on. And it's written in a foreign publication. I'm not going to take U.S. policy and my differences with the administration directly into a foreign publication. But I made it clear in the article -- and I think you've got it there. If you read it on down, you'll see that I say this doesn't mean -- they've got to focus now on the peacekeeping, the occupation, the provision of order. There's a whole series of tasks that I laid out for them to do that, in fact, they were incapable of doing. I did not support this war. I would not have voted for the resolution. But once American soldiers are on the battlefield, then I want them to be successful and I want them to come home safely. So, if Clark finishes second in NH, and SC, and his campaign has some legs, will you nominate yourself for the “Von Hoffman Award?” Sincerely, Alan
A couple of blogs did running commentary during the debate last night. You can get the complete transcript of the debate here. You can read Pandagon’s commentary here. You can read Calpundit’s commentary here I think Kerry, Edwards and Clark did wonderfully. I think Dean didn’t do himself any favors. I think the remaining candidates are in cloudcukooland and should leave the field. For what it's worth, Pandagon's comments almost totally mirror the thoughts I had while watching last night. I think Calpundit missed the mark on Clark, especially. Also: Since the debate was broadcast on the Fox News Channel, I was subjected to Hannity & serial gambler Bill Bennett attacking Clark for not attacking Michael Moore. Uggh.
Dirty Tricks redux. This Boston Globe article is making its way all over the blogosphere today. "Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe. "From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics. "The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November. "With the help of forensic computer experts from General Dynamics and the US Secret Service, his office has interviewed about 120 people to date and seized more than half a dozen computers -- including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several desktop hard drives. But the scope of both the intrusions and the likely disclosures is now known to have been far more extensive than the November incident, staffers and others familiar with the investigation say."
I completely missed this last time I posted. Thanks to The Wesley Clark Weblog, I gave the ARG tracking numbers a second peek. As you may know, the tracking poll is conducted every day, and three-day results get posted. Well, yesterday's numbers were: Kerry 29% Clark 21% Dean 17% The January 20 numbers were: Kerry 29% Dean 24% Clark 18% What a complete and compelling switch! Just a week ago, Dean was at 29, Clark was at 24, and Kerry was down in 17-18 territory. Undecideds jumped up from 11 to 15%. Kerry seems to have maxed out his bounce, for now. Dean seems to be hemmorhaging support to "undecided" and Clark. Also - Dean's favorability has sunk from 57% to 33%, while his unfavorability has shot up from 19% to 30%. Big moves. Big news. Fingers crossed.
OK, the numbers for Jan 19-21 are now up on ARG's site. They reflect a stabilization of Clark's number at 19%. Kerry is on top with a whopping 27%. Whereas a week ago, the battle was between Dean and Clark for 1st place, now these two are battling for 2nd. Clark is saying he needs to come in the top 4 to follow-up on NH. It looks like that will happen, quite decisively. If he can finish in the top 2, that would be great: i.e., if he beats Dean out for the #2 slot, that would be EARTH-SHATTERING!
Joshua Micah Marshall has been arguing for some time that incurious George isn't the real problem in Washington. It's Dick Cheney. Well, if you needed any more proof, here's some. Cheney said "that the administration has not given up on the so far fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The 'jury is still out,' he said." "It's going to take some additional, considerable period of time in order to look in all the cubby holes and the ammo dumps and all the places in Iraq where you might expect to find something like that,' Cheney said in an interview at the White House with National Public Radio. 'It doesn't take a large storage space to store deadly toxins, or even just the capacity to produce it.' " Gee. Hans Blix had 200 inspectors, and was given about 6 months to search for WMD. He didn't find any. The Bush Administration all but called him a liar. The Bush Administration overthrew Iraq, captured Saddam Hussein, has over 150,000 allied troops in the country, and has had about 10 months to find some WMD. The best they can come up with is the supposed existence of "dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations."
Whatever. The ARG tracker says that Clark is starting to trend back up on the Jan 19-20 polling, but is down one point for the broader January 18-20 result. Zogby, on the other hand has Clark losing a point per day. I hope that he does well in the debate tonight. I really, really do. 8pm. Fox News Channel.
Click here, or here for more information. Here's an upcoming event for which we should really have a big turnout: the Erie County Democratic Committee New Hampshire Watch Party Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 Time: 7:00pm Location: Ellicott Square Building Lobby, 295 Main Street, Buffalo Cost: $4/person, or free for current ECDC Sustaining Members Pizza, wings, soda & beer will be available. Dean & Kerry campaigns expect a big turnout. Let's match 'em.
As far as I'm concerned, the Zogby tracking poll is the one to watch. In 2000, the Zogby poll was the ONLY poll correctly to forecast McCain's defeat of GWB. Looking at today's poll, Clark and Kerry are in a statistical tie for second place, while Dean maintains a miniscule lead in 1st. The thing about NH being so close to Massachusetts, these people already know John Kerry. They have probably already decided whether or not they like him. The issue now will be electability. What, precisely, is it about Kerry that makes people think he can defeat GWB? All of the Democratic frontrunners are pretty close on domestic policy (except Dean, who would roll back ALL of Bush's tax cuts, including the ones that help middle-income families). So, what sets them apart? National Security/Iraq. All of the Democratic frontrunners in NH agree that Afghanistan was a good thing. All of the Democractic frontrunners in NH now make noises that are critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Dean has been consistent in his criticism. Clark has been consistent in his position, which cannot properly be characterized as "anti-war": Clark has stated, as early as 2002, that war should have been on the table, but only as a last resort after all diplomatic, UN-sponsored means had been exhausted, and even then war should only have been carried out with a broad coalition, including (if not under the direction of) NATO. Kerry makes a lot of noise about how "reckless" GWB was to go into Iraq. The problem is, Kerry VOTED for the resolution that gave Bush a blank check to do just that. In any event, there's still a week to go in New Hampshire, and Zogby believes that there will be a lot of movement this week, just like there was in Iowa. As we all noticed in Iowa, the perceived underdogs (Kerry and Edwards) defeated the presumed frontrunner (who was, in many places, already being described as the inevitable nominee), Dean. So, a lot can happen in a week. Let's do everything we can to make sure the General benefits from it. Write letters or make phone calls to NH. Go to this website: http://www.nhclark04.com to find out what and how.
There was a huge Clark rally in New Hampshire this weekend, and as you know a group of supporters from Buffalo made the trip to volunteer & meet the future President. Well, they made the NH for clark site. Check it out here, and scroll down to the picture with the caption "Women for Wes enjoy the rally." Hooray for Camille, Gail & Josephine!
As you’re probably aware, a small group of Buffalo-based volunteers, including Camille Plewa and Gail Praefke, joined a caravan of cars that are rumbling down the NYS Thruway, Manchester, NH-bound. A few other local volunteers swung by the TGIFriday’s on Walden to see them off. I wanted to give you all a heads up that a piece on the Caravan should be appearing on: WIVB (Channel 4) and WNLO (Channel 23) evening news, and possibly tomorrow’s morning news. Camille was interviewed, and the cameraman got pictures of the caravan arriving in Buffalo. Thanks to Dave Swarts and his office for alerting the media. There should also be a piece in the Buffalo News. Look for it.
Goes to General (Ret.) Wesley K. Clark! The Exeter, NH News-Letter editorial states that Clark has the experience and the intellect to lead the nation: "Clark is an intelligent man who brings to this campaign a sense of where he wants to bring America. He has a vision and the varied experience that makes him uniquely qualified among the Democratic candidates to answer the question of how America will ford the seemingly impassable waters that now surround us. He is also a man who is not driven by ideology, but rather a deep and abiding desire to find the best solutions to strengthen all Americans and our reputation around the world. "He is a Rhodes Scholar with an advanced degree in politics, philosophy, and economics. He is Vietnam veteran whose military career highlights include leading the military negotiations in 1995 that resulted in the Dayton Peace Accord ending the Bosnian War. He also led a multinational force that successfully ended ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and returned 1.5 million refugees to their homes without the loss of a single American life. "In all, Clark has proven he has the intellect, the experience militarily and diplomatically, and the ideas necessary to be a compelling presidential candidate against Bush in November. Democrats would do well to have him as their standard bearer."
The good folks at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism have a new blog that will analyze campaign coverage throughout 2004. Check it out at www.campaigndesk.org. Here's my favorite post so far: Drudge: The Ellipse as a Tool of Deception Thursday afternoon, the Drudge Report chimed in with a grossly incorrect headline, "Wes Clark Made Case For Iraq War Before Congress; Transcript Revealed" atop an article designed to distort the General's position. In excerpting Clark's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on September 26, 2002, Drudge entirely misrepresents the candidate's remarks. Drudge quotes Clark's testimony: "'There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we.'" [ellipses Drudge's] Drudge is using the ellipse as a weapon, with malice aforethought. Clark's statement that "Saddam Hussein is a threat" came from his opening remarks to the committee. An ellipse then carries the reader more than 11,500 words later into the transcript to a second quotation. Finally, Drudge uses the next ellipse to jump way back to the beginning of Clark's testimony. The effect is to make Clark's testimony sound more frantic than it really is and to incorrectly suggest that Clark had endorsed the war. The deceptive reporting continues with two final excerpts. The first is drawn from a section in which Clark states that the use of force must remain on the table as a threat, but that all diplomatic measures must be taken before military action proceeds. Drudge's selective excerpt ends with Clark suggesting that the situation with Iraq has "been a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the clock is ticking on this." Drudge would like you to think that Clark's thoughts on the subject end there. In fact, only moments later, Clark clearly stated, "but time is on our side in the near term and we should use it." Then Drudge leads into the final excerpt with the words, "Clark explained," implying that Clark's statements in the final excerpt modified his statements in the previous excerpt. Once again, however, Drudge is cavalierly skipping through Clark's testimony: There are 3,798 words in-between these two statements -- enough to fill four pages of Time magazine.
Ann Coulter is off her meds. She says Milosevic wasn't such a bad guy. After all, he only "killed a few thousand Albanians in a ground war." I guess she forgot about the wars Milosevic started in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. I guess she forgot about the concentration camps in Bosnia. I guess she forgot about Srebrenica. Can someone remind me why she's employed?
Drudge is "reporting" that, in the past, Clark made what might seem to be supportive noises about the Iraq conflict. As usual, Drudge is high on bluster, but low on facts and analysis. Disingenuous Drudge "reports" that Clark congratulated Bush and Blair for their courage and resolve in defeating the Iraqi army. I think most people - even those who were opposed to the war - shared those sentiments. Drudge also goes on selectively to quote General Clark's testimony on the Hill on 9/26/02, where he commented positively on the following: 1. The US' right to act unilaterally when necessary for self-defense; 2. That Saddam Hussein was a threat; 3. That Saddam Hussein had WMDs; 4. That Saddam Hussein was actively pursuing nuclear capabilities; 5. That Hussein was a decadelong problem that needed to be addressed; and 6. That there have been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda; "bad actors in the same region together...[who] are going to bump into each other. Here is the full transcript of General Clark's House testimony. So, how is Clark's current position inconsistent with the one he discussed in 2002? It's not. Let's go to the quotes: "Our President has emphasized the urgency of eliminating these weapons and weapons programs. I strongly support his efforts to encourage the United Nations to act on this problem. And in taking this to the United Nations, the President’s clear determination to act if the United Nations can’t provides strong leverage undergirding further diplomatic efforts. "But the problem of Iraq is only an element of the broader security challenges facing our country. We have an unfinished, world-wide war against Al Qaeda, a war that has to be won in conjunction with friends and allies, and that ultimately be won by persuasion as much as by force, when we turn off the Al Qaeda recruiting machine. Some three thousand deaths on September 11th testify to the real danger from Al Qaeda, and as all acknowledge, Al Qaeda has not yet been defeated. Thus far, substantial evidence has not been made available to link Saddam’s regime to the Al Qaeda network. And while such linkages may emerge, winning the war against Al Qaeda may well require different actions than ending the weapons programs in Iraq." "The critical issue facing the Unites States now is how to force action against Saddam Hussein and his weapons programs without detracting from our focus on Al Qaeda..." "In the near term, time is on our side, and we should endeavor to use the UN if at all possible. This may require a period of time for inspections or even the development of a more intrusive inspection program, if necessary backed by force." If efforts to resolve the problem by using the United Nations fail, either initially or ultimately, the US should form the broadest possible coalition, including its NATO allies and the North Atlantic Council if possible, to bring force to bear. Force should not be used until the personnel and organizations to be involved in post-conflict Iraq are identified and readied to assume their responsibilities. Force should be used as the last resort; after all diplomatic means have been exhausted, unless information indicates that further delay would present an immediate risk to the assembled forces and organizations. This action should not be categorized as “preemptive.” "If we proceed as outlined above, we may be able to minimize the disruption to the ongoing campaign against Al Qaeda, reduce the impact on friendly governments in the region, and even contribute to the resolution of other regional issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iranian efforts to develop nuclear capabilities, and Saudi funding for terrorism. But there are no guarantees. The war is unpredictable and could be difficult and costly. And what is at risk in the aftermath is an open-ended American ground commitment in Iraq and an even deeper sense of humiliation in the Arab world, which could intensify our problems in the region and elsewhere." So, General Clark was actually advocating the following: 1. That we should put increased pressure on Iraq via the UN; 2. That we should implement a vigorous, intrusive inspection regime in Iraq via the UN; 3. That any UN resolution should leave open the threat of force; 4. That force should be a last resort; 5. That force should be used only when the postwar era has been planned; 6. That any use of force against Iraq be done with the support of as many allies as possible; and 7. That the action should not be seen as "preemptive". How on Earth is that different from what he's saying now? After the Bush adminstration lied about the WMDs and nuclear threat, after they went into Iraq without a NATO coalition or a coalition including most of our military allies, after the post-war "reconstruction" has been such an unplanned shambles, it seems as if General Clark's words were prescient. How is his House testimony different from this?: Clark said his Army career taught him that "the use of force is only a last resort" that wasn't justified in Iraq. "I'm a soldier," he said. "I've laid on the battlefield bleeding." Or this, which was in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee just three days after the House hearing: "And whether this is the right way, the right time to do it depends in large measure on how we proceed. And this is why I underscore again and again the importance of diplomacy first and going through the United Nations, because I think that gives us our best way of reaching out to achieve this objective with minimum adverse impact on the struggle against al Qaeda. The longer we can reasonably keep the focus on al Qaeda, the better that war is going to go, in my view." "I think that there is a substantial risk in the aftermath of the operation that we could end up with a problem which is more intractable than we have today." "One thing we're pretty clear on is that Saddam has a very effective police state apparatus. He doesn't allow challenges to his authority inside that state. When we go in there with a transitional government and a military occupation of some indefinite duration, it's also very likely that if there is an effective al Qaeda left -- and there certainly will be an effective organization of extremists -- they will pour into that country because they must compete for the Iraqi people; the Wahhabis with the Sunnis, the Shi'as from Iran working with the Shi'a population. So it's not beyond consideration that we would have a radicalized state, even under a U.S. occupation in the aftermath." "On the other hand, if we go in unilaterally, or without the full weight of international organizations behind us, if we go in with a very sparse number of allies, if we go in without an effective information operation that takes us through the -- and explains the motives and purposes and very clear aims and the ability to deal with the humanitarian and post-conflict situation, we're liable to super-charge recruiting for al Qaeda." "When you're talking about American men and women going and facing the risk we've been talking about this afternoon, and if you're talking to the mothers and the loved ones of those who die in that operation, you want to be sure that you're using force and expending American blood and lives and treasure as the ultimate, last resort; not because of a sense of impatience with the arcane ways of international institutions or frustration from the domestic political processes of allies." "Well, I think it's -- it is a matter for the Congress to determine. I would hope that before we would use force as authorized here, we would have exhausted all other means. If there's a way of incorporating that in the resolution, I think it makes the resolution stronger, not weaker." "Now, if we go in with a strong coalition; if we go in with a U.N. resolution behind us; if we go in with the full weight -- the fullest possible weight of international law and international opinion, then I think it can reinforce what we're doing against al Qaeda, even though there will be some distraction on the part of the commanders and the national leadership who are involved in the campaign." "And so unless there's information that we're not being presented that says we have to take this action right now to go in and disrupt Saddam Hussein, we can't wait a week, we can't wait four weeks or whatever, then it seems to me that we should use the time available to build up our legitimacy. And that's why I'm advocating intrusive inspections."
As many of you know, there's a caravan of Clark supporters going to New Hampshire this weekend. This is being organized by the Cleveland Ohio for Clark folks. They're going to canvass, lit drop, socialize, and get to see the General. It's a great opportunity for anyone who's free this weekend. In any event, here's the Caravan's outbound schedule: FRI JAN 16 - 8 AM EST: Leave Cleveland • 9 AM: Youngstown/Warren • 10 AM: Erie • Noon (lunch, fuel): Buffalo • 2 PM: Rochester • 4 PM: Syracuse • 6 PM (dinner, fuel): Utica, • 9 PM: Albany • 11 PM: Manchester NH! (60 Rodgers St) (All times are tentative and subject to change, especially in January!) The Buffalo stop will be at the TGI Friday's on Walden Avenue (just off the 90). Dave Swarts' office is sending out press releases, so there MAY be a press contingent there. The plan is for a bunch of us local supporters to be there with signs, stickers, etc. at 12:00 tomorrow. If anyone can make it, please do. This may be our first opportunity to get some local press coverage. RSVP to the Buffalo for Clark Yahoo! Group. We'll have signs, etc. ready. If you're already signed up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, sign up or email Camille at email@example.com.
Glad you asked. In South Carolina, it's a statistical dead heat between Clark and Dean. Clark is appearing at a town hall meeting in South Carolina today while the other crew is busy bloodying each other in Iowa. Clark is ahead of Dean in Arizona, 39-32.
2004 NH Democratic Tracking: Since January 9th, Clark was at 19% vs. Dean's 36%. In the last week, Clark has risen about 2 points per day, while Dean has lost about 2 points per day. As of today, Clark is at 24%(!) and Dean is at 29%(!) Edwards has also come up from 3% to 5%. Gephardt is steady at 4%. Kerry has rebounded back to 15% from a low of about 10%. Lieberman's freefall continues into single digits (despite being the only OTHER candidate skipping Iowa). Undecideds have also dropped from 18% to 15%. I think it's too soon to make a clear prediction, but I think Dean has peaked, and that this is McCain 2000 all over again.
If you go back into my archive, you'll find a message I posted back in early September, where I noted that Moore was practically begging Clark to run. (I also predicted that people who would otherwise by Deaniacs would support Clark in droves. So, I'm batting about .750 overall). Well, Moore announced that he's officially endorsing General Clark. Read Moore's very thoughtful reasons why by following this link. Moore has a reputation as being somewhat of a clown. I disagree with that. I think he has valid points to make, but he's somewhat flamboyant and intemperate. A lot of people like him, though. Heck, his new book's a bestseller. What's most striking, however, is that he's the type of lefty who, one would think, would automatically be supporting Dean. The fact that he's backing Clark might make younger Deaniacs follow the older Deaniacs and take a second, more critical, look at Dean and start flirting with the idea of Clark. I don't think this is big news, but it's good news.
This, from today's Boston Herald. "Clark's sudden rise has cut the New Hampshire race to single digits for the first time since Dean took hold of the Granite State from Kerry this summer. "The Arkansas native has clearly gained by focusing solely on New Hampshire while Dean has been forced to fend off a strong Iowa challenge by U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) before the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Monday. "By not going to Iowa and focusing only on New Hampshire, Clark's strategy seems to be paying off...''
Kerry is in the fight of his career. His campaign began many moons ago with a lot of promise. Kerry's had a tremendous Senate run, and he's well-respected in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Massachusetts doesn't have a primary until March 2004. According to this Boston Globe article, people warm to Kerry when they see him in person, and his Iowa audiences have grown. Clark has basically had NH all to himself for the past week. The polls are revealing that the races in IA and NH are becoming ever-more competitive. Clark's numbers have soared past Kerry's, and the IA race is now a Gephardt - Dean battle. In NH, Dean and Kerry are ramping up the attacks on Clark. (To his credit, Clark has taken the high road and has not attacked any fellow Dems, although he has obliquely referenced policy stands that they have with which he disagrees). Kerry has enlisted his campaign chairwoman, former NH Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, to "talk about Clark and his record." (Read: attack Clark). Dean's minions were papering the Town Hall meeting in Peterborough on 1/7 with attack literature, accusing Clark of being "pro-war" and a "Republican" (neither of which is true). So, look for it to get ugly over the next few weeks, as two (or more) professional politicians start attacking the one candidate who has not attacked anyone. General (Ret.) Wesley K. Clark.
New poll numbers - fantastic! From Survey USA, via Daily Kos Clark is way up in AZ & NH. Dean has peaked, and others (notably Kerry) are either flat or dropping. Arizona (12/16 results in parenthesis) MoE 4.7% Clark 39 (29) Dean 32 (31) Lieberman 8 (10) Kerry 5 (7) Gephardt 4 (9) Other 7 Undecided 4 New Hampshire (12/14-16 results in parenthesis) MoE 4.7% Dean 35 (45) Clark 26 (11) Kerry 13 (15) Lieberman 9 (11) Edwards 6 (6) Gephardt 3 (4) Other 5 Undecided 2 Missouri MoE 4.7% Gephardt 37 Dean 19 Clark 15 Kerry 6 Other 6 Undecided 6 Lieberman 5
On Wednesday, January 7th, I traveled from Boston to Peterborough, NH. Peterborough is in South-Central New Hampshire, not far from Keene. It is a typical, picturesque New England town. Wednesday was rather cold, with high temperatures reaching ten degrees or so. I went up to NH with my three-year old daughter. On the way, I told her we'd be seeing Wesley Clark, a general who would be our next President. The trip took longer than I had anticipated, and I arrived at Peterborough at around ten minutes to twelve. In my haste, I forgot my regular glasses in the car, (which was parked about 1/2 mile away). My daughter and I hustled down the hill from our parking spot, and there was quite a large group of people filing into the Hall. A few feet before we reached the Town Hall property stood a somewhat disheveled Dean supporter, replete with Dean insignia, handing out some sort of literature. In front of me walked a well-dressed, elderly gentleman. The Deaniac reached across the sidewalk to shove the literature at the elderly man. Startled, the man moved further out toward the street and lost his footing. This poor old man stumbled for a good six to eight feet before falling, apparently striking some part of his body on the stone wall in front of the Town Hall. It was quite clear that, but for the shoving of literature, this old man would have been able to walk into the Town Hall without a problem. Instead of offering help, an apology or even sympathy, the Dean supporter yelled to no one in particular, "that wasn't my fault." We climbed the stairs to the Town Hall meeting auditorium and staked out a spot in the way back. I grabbed a folding chair for my daughter, who was seated next to a female reporter. My daughter was happy with her Little Mermaid book and "My Little Pony" toy. At one point before the meeting began, a female Clark staffer noticed my daughter and asked her name and age. She then asked if she'd like a pin. She then pinned a "Women for Clark" pin on my daughter, who wore it proudly. A picture or two was snapped. The crowd at the Town Hall meeting has since been estimated at 800 people. It was standing room only. The fire marshal had to shut people out. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 12:00. General Clark took to the stage at about 12:05. Quite prompt, by political standards. There wasn't so much a stage, as there was an "area" in which General Clark stood, surrounded by average New Hampshire voters. General Clark gave a 30-minute stump speech. He outlined his plan and vision for America. He discussed his new tax proposal. He acknowledged and thanked the veterans in the audience. The crowd was receptive, if not downright enthusiastic. He accused the Republicans of using "family values to divide people." Adding, "you can't talk about family values if you're going to wreck our environment." Next, General Clark took questions from anyone in the audience. There were questions about renewable energy, about Clark's alleged support for the Iraq war resolution, and a question from an obvious plant/provocateur, who asked General Clark about his past lobbying. The General was unfazed by any of the question, and handled each of them with aplomb. He was clear, concise, and fast on his feet. He made it quite clear that he wouldn't be the sort of President who only answers questions that have previously been vetted. After the standing ovation, the staffer who had given us the pin earlier returned, inquiring whether we'd like to take a picture with General Clark. I replied that this would be great. She led us all the way round, to where General Clark was surrounded by a bunch of reporters, cameras and even some voters who wanted to ask a couple more questions. As he left, General Clark spent a few moments with my daughter. I then shook his hand and asked him please to come and visit us in Buffalo. General Clark replied that he'd "love to." I didn't take notes, so I can't really report on the substance of the event beyond what's shown above. I know Dean took some hits for the nonsense contained in the literature that almost sent an elderly man to the hospital. I know that the tide is definately turning in New Hampshire. Forget the tracking polls - Clark is the kind of guy that these NH Yankees like. Although I won't be able to go to NH over MLK weekend, I urge any and all of you who have a chance to go to NH to see Clark speak. To see him in person is to truly understand why you supported him and collected signatures in the freezing cold for him in the first place.
Blogging this week will be light, as I'm going to New England for the week. I might, possibly, maybe, just try to get to see Clark at a Town Hall meeting in New Hampshire this week. If I do, mayhaps blogging may just be a little heavier than I thought. This site happens to have the General's schedule for next week.
Kos has the latest ARG tracking poll numbers from New Hampshire. Dean is holding pretty steady, as are the bottom-feeders. Significantly, Kerry's support is slipping about a point per day. Clark's is slowly rising, (as has "undecided" in recent days). As the primary approaches, look for people to give Dean more scrutiny, look for Kerry's support to continue to hemmorhage, and Clark's support slowly to inch upwards.