That you might find interesting. I did. I particularly like this passage: "As Mission Accomplished in Baghdad gave way to Mission Impossible and Mission Unnecessary and finally Mission Totally Fabricated, Dean soared. In the background, the Democratic powerbrokers shivered and quivered..." When Business Week is writing this about the President, you know he's in trouble.
I went to the Edwards rally last Friday, and I honestly wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be. He’s a good speaker, and has a folksy manner about him. I disagree with him on some issues, and I just don’t think he made a strong enough case for voting for him over Kerry. I refrain from calling him a lightweight, because GWB is the lightest of the lightweights. Teresa Heinz-Kerry was supposed to come to Buffalo Saturday morning, but she cancelled at the last minute. Kerry himself was supposed to come to Rochester, but that, too, got cancelled. Kerry is supposed to come to Buffalo on March 1st. I've read some comments from people who are giving Edwards points just for coming to Buffalo, and criticizing Kerry because Teresa cancelled so abruptly. I don’t think Edwards' coming to Buffalo, by itself, makes a compelling enough argument to vote for the guy. And I heard that Teresa pulled out because of health reasons (eye infection or some such), and who am I to begrudge her that. (Show me that she attended some other event that same day, and then I’ll feel as if the campaign insulted us.) So, I'm still trying to decide whom to back in the nomination process. Both Kerry and Edwards are vulnerable to Bush attacks on the issues of the Iraq vote and no child left behind. This region is in serious trouble, and some think that, by ignoring WNY and the Southern Tier, a candidate signals that he won't help our region. If you want to better Buffalo, change needs to come from Albany. Not from Washington. Why is NYS near the bottom in job creation? Why is NYS second only to California in shedding jobs? Ask your State Senator. Ask your Assemblyperson. Ask Pataki. The only thing you can/should look to your Federal reps for is positions on more macro issues, (abortion, gun control, federal spending) and the occasional spreading around of pork. When Albany decides that it wants NY to be competitive with the other 48 states, then we’ll see some progress. We had 8 years of a Clinton administration, and WNY didn’t boom at all. That is proof positive that change in the White House means squat for this region. Let’s just say that getting things accomplished in other parts of the country is a whole lot easier than in NYS. Sometimes I feel that our State government exists for no other reason than its own self-perpetuation. People like Brian Higgins are the stark exception to that rule. Bush has already written NYS off, anyway. Just look at the Federal Courthouse shenanigans. Does Kerry take NYS for granted? Probably. And you know what? He’s probably right to do so. He should focus more energy and resources in places where the fight with Bush will be more competitive. He should be commended for paying as much attention to battleground states (Ohio is one) as he can. So, first of all I think Kerry’s got it wrapped up. He’s beating Edwards on the delegate count 613-192. Edwards is running a strong VP race. Staying positive, big smile. I’m voting for Wesley Clark in the March 2nd primary. Why? Because he’s the best candidate for the nomination. We slogged around for weeks getting signatures for him, and dammit I’m going to vote my conscience. Neither Edwards nor Kerry have convinced me that I should throw my vote to either of them – Kerry doesn’t need my vote, and Edwards didn’t earn it. So, I'm not working for either candidate's campaign because I don't care which one of them wins. They're both ok. The real battle begins in July, when the nominee is selected and goes out to do battle with Bush.
This piece in the NY Times is more, shall we say, "informed" than the one in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In addition to the appeal of his biography, General Clark also brought an informed legitimacy to the Democratic critique of the president's national security policies. Before he entered the race, most of the candidates were talking about the importance of multilateral action — often in platitudes and generalities. General Clark could explain the specifics of how such actions could win wars and secure peace. Soon the other candidates were parroting his answer. The very fact that a four-star general who for most of his adult life voted Republican was saying that the president had failed the troops made those critiques seem less partisan and more credibile. General Clark had another profound influence on this campaign: with the possible exception of Joseph Lieberman, he was the most willing to talk openly about his religious faith.
This piece of cheap, ignorant, pro-Bush propaganda had me steaming today. Here's the text of my reply: In your scathing February 19th editorial, you allege that Clark “added nothing to the race.” How remarkably ignorant. Ignorant of the facts – the political reality that existed on September 17, 2003 when Wes Clark officially announced his candidacy. You may recall that, at that time, Howard Dean was not only the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination, he was the presumptive nominee! At that time, John Edwards was not polling big numbers, and John Kerry’s campaign had all but been written off. The time seemed ripe for an anti-Dean to emerge. That anti-Dean was Wes Clark. Dean has no foreign policy or military experience. Clark has both. Dean had an angry core constituency that was uniformly in opposition to the Iraq war and little else – it was the vanguard of angry liberalism. Clark offered not only hope, but a rational alternative to Bush’s neoconservative permanent war. Unlike Bush and the neoconservative clique around him, Wes Clark actually fought in wars. He was the commanding officer of a successful one in 1999. He knew the reality of war, and the sacrifice that soldiers make to fight it. People like Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Rice neither know nor, evidently, care. Throughout the Clark campaign, certain fringe-right commentators and media, (apparently bereft of any available, substantive criticism), simply took to calling Retired Four-Star United States Army General Wesley K. Clark a “high-strung loon”, or crazy. Or creepy. In a sorry attempt at sarcasm and/or humor, you state that General Clark took “approximately 352 positions on the Iraq war”. No, he didn’t. Apparently, a nuanced and though-out opinion on the difficulties in dealing with Iraq are too difficult for you to comprehend. Indeed, the “controversy” over Clark’s positions on Iraq only existed in the minds of people who can only see matters in black and white. A more complicated and sophisticated analysis, as set forth by General Clark, never made it you’re your ignorance. (For the record, Clark said that he would have voted for a resolution that required Bush to obtain Security Council authorization and UN assistance for any military campaign against Iraq. Since that didn’t happen, Clark would not have voted for the “blank check” resolution that ultimately passed. I find it fascinating that Bush and his surrogates now routinely allege, in essence, what were we to do? They now say, openly and without irony, that Hussein had forbidden UN weapons inspectors from entering Iraq. As if Hans Blix never existed.) You throw around an accusation that Clark spoke of “bizarre fantasies and conspiracies.” Name one. It must be fun to make wild accusations against someone without any proof of same. Perhaps Clark’s “statements just didn’t make any sense” to your ignorant mind. You then turn to Bob Dole’s insult of General Clark, the response to which also went straight over your head. Bob Dole, in commenting on Wes Clark’s third-place showing in New Hampshire (ahead of John Edwards), told Clark that he had been politically demoted to Colonel. Interesting how that fact gets left out of every hit-piece written against Clark and his handling of that awkward situation. It wasn’t Clark’s alleged surliness or craziness that ended his candidacy. In the end, it was sheer ignorance, such as yours, and an across-the-board media blackout, that touted John Edwards’ fourth-place finish in NH over Clark’s third-place; touted Edwards’ “momentum” in finishing third or fourth in AZ, ND, NM, and OK over Clark’s second and first place finishes there. I never thought that a daily newspaper such as yours would consciously be victim to, and perpetuate the dumbing-down of America. I suppose, in your view, if so much as one person believes your cheap, insulting and obnoxious propaganda, your work is complete. You should be ashamed of yourselves. But shame is out of style in the midst of today’s selfish, “conservative” hedonism.
The Erie County Democratic Committee at www.ecdems.com has information for all the still-active campaigns. According to this page, John Edwards will be at the Polish Cadets Hall, 927 Grant Street in Buffalo (across the street from Tops, north of the 198) on Friday, February 20, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. I know some Clark folks will be there. Also, Teresa Heinz Kerry will be at the Ellicott Square Building Lobby, 295 Main Street in Buffalo on Saturday, February 21, 2004 at 8:30 a.m.
This one from Newsweek, via MSNBC "Clark finally hit his stride on Monday night, 24 hours before dropping out of the race. Joined by his wife and son for the first time in a week, the general ad-libbed his way through his stump speech to yells and whoops from charged supporters. He attacked Bush on his handling of the Iraq war with passion: "Shame on you, Mr. President! Shame on you!" to wild applause. But the game was already over. And Clark had run out of time. "
I must confess that I’m not really ready to commit to either Kerry or Edwards yet. I have concerns about both, and I also have great respect for them both. (You see, to me Clark was the perfect amalgam of both Kerry and Edwards, but he’s gone now, so it’s desperately hard to choose). Obviously, I think each of them could defeat George Bush. I’ll be honest – I like Edwards better. I like his message, and his biography. I like his focus on the economy, and I think it’ll play well upstate. Basically, I’m concerned that Edwards is somewhat of a lightweight – especially on foreign policy. Of course, GWB was (and is) a lightweight on every issue. He’s really a great and inspiring communicator, though, and I think that would be a stark contrast with the current mumbler-in-chief. On the other hand, Clark endorsed Kerry, and that counts a lot for me. Quite frankly, I have so much respect for Clark that his endorsement alone may find me in Kerry’s corner sooner rather than later. I think Kerry has more “gravitas” and is a more serious candidate. I also respect both his military service and his outspoken opposition to Vietnam. My concerns with Kerry are that: 1) Karl Rove and his stormtroopers will misrepresent portions of Kerry’s personal, military and congressional record; 2) That same crowd will (possibly with some effect) pin Kerry as a new Dukakis; 3) That Kerry won’t do well in the South. Doing well in the South is important– About a month ago, Kerry made a bad gaffe that may come back to haunt him. He said that Al Gore proved that you don’t have to win the South to become President. I would argue that Gore proved that you DO have to win the South to become President. Gore won the popular, but that didn’t count. Kerry needs to absorb a little of that Dean inspiration (not too much – just a little) and really start firing people up. Josh Marshall recommends that you just go compare www.johnkerry.com and www.johnedwards2004.com, then come back and tell me which campaign is more fired-up and inspired. I’m not quite ready to go to work for either Kerry or Edwards yet, but I’ll make a decision soon.
Clark gets a lot of flak for allegedly making a derogatory, yet ostensibly off-the-record comment about Kerry. The record is made clear here. "HE DID SPELL JOHN KERRY CORRECTLY: Just in case anybody was still wondering whether anything in the original Drudge item about John Kerry was accurate, I can confirm that Wesley Clark did not say what Drudge says he said at that off-the-record conversation with reporters in Nashville one week ago. "I was there when Clark spoke, and just to make sure I didn't miss anything, I've also checked with other reporters who were there. Since it was off the record (sort of), I can't get into what Clark actually said (let's just say it was not his finest moment on the campaign trail), but I can report that the quote Drudge attributes to him--'Kerry will implode over an intern issue'--is not accurate. He never said that."
But we all knew that. Check out this piece from the Moderate Independent blog: "Yes, we told you they'd turn on Kerry the second Clark was out."
I don't follow leaders blindly, but I have to say Clark as a VP would help absorb the criticism that Kerry will face from August - November. Clark comes to this without any anti-Nam, peace movement baggage. If not VP, then he'd make a great Secretary of State or UN Ambassador. Clark can't be SecDef because he hasn't been retired from active duty for 10 years. Honestly, pick Clark as VP and Bill Richardson for Secretary of State, and you've got a dream team.
Hey, just because Wes Clark dropped out of the race doesn't mean we can't have one last meetup for old times' sake. Instead of the old reliable Brounshidle, we will hold our final Clark 2004 campaign meetup at the Buffalo Brewpub - New York State's Oldest Brewpub! MARCH 1st at 7:00 p.m. What we need you to do is go to http://clark2004.meetup.com and vote for the Buffalo Brewpub location. If you already voted for the Brounshidle, go back and CHANGE YOUR VOTE! It'd be great to see everyone again and raise a pint to our efforts, to General Clark, and to the defeat of George Bush in November. If you haven't already, please go and join the Democrat meetup at http://democrat.meetup.com. The next meetup is set to happen at the Starbucks coffee on Main Street in Williamsville at 7pm on February 18th. It'd be nice to have a big turnout. Cheers!
I switched to the Democratic party in order to help elect Wesley Clark President of the United States. I think there's a great many, like me, who want to continue working toward the future that Wes Clark envisioned. Join us as we look forward to new challenges, new ideas, and new battles to forge a New American Patriotism.
Here's a good wrap-up from the LA Times. (Registration req.) By Eric Slater, Times Staff Writer MEMPHIS, Tenn. Wesley K. Clark's late-starting whirlwind of a run for the White House always had the odds against it. Tuesday night, the quest ended when the retired four-star general bowed out of the Democratic presidential race after finishing third in Tennessee and Virginia. Clark, who had never run for public office, in a relatively short time built a nearly nationwide campaign and during the last three months of 2003 raised more money than any other candidate except former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Clark's campaign was bedeviled by rookie mistakes and organizational problems. But his main trouble probably was more basic - most voters simply didn't know much about the man who served as supreme allied commander of NATO. Click the link for more.
General Clark dropped out of the race last night after finishing a disappointing third in Virginia and Tennessee. I'm sorry to see it come to this, and I think that although rookie mistakes were made, he ran a good race with a positive, inspiring message. I'm very proud to have worked for Clark, volunteered for Clark, and to have had the opportunity to see him speak and to meet him. I'm also grateful for the friends I've met in this effort. No matter whom you choose to support, it is imperative that George W. Bush be removed from office. I'll still vote for Clark in March, but I'll vote for the Democratic nominee in November - whoever that may be. Thanks for visiting this weblog. I don't know if I'll keep updating it or not. Check in and see.
The win in OK and our 3rd place finish in NH were made possible in large part by remote phonebanking from Clark supporters around the country. The Clark campaign has made it known that it wants to win Tennessee. To that end, please become an eblock captain and make as many calls to TN as you possibly can. Make sure to tell people from where you're calling. http://www.forclark.com/eblock
Here's one take: There's only so much media oxygen out there and Clark can't catch his breath. "I don't get it. If Clark was floundering and the press was pressuring him to withdraw, I'd understand. But if Clark is doing just as well as Edwards, why won't the pundits give him his due?" Indeed.
Last night was a good night. Not a great night, but a good night. The media, of course, will concentrate on Kerry, Edwards and Dean. Let me reiterate: Edwards has been at this now for over a year - longer, I think, than any of the other candidates. IIRC, he was the 1st to declare his candidacy. I think he's doing worse, not better, than one would expect, but that's not the spin du jour. Dean has yet to win one primary or caucus. He's also been at this for over a year, and just weeks ago, he had more money and momentum than any other candidate in the field. For some reason, however, he gets this anticipatory coverage from the media, and I have no idea why. Heck, Al Sharpton polling double digits in SC is bigger news than anything Dean did or didn't do last night. The exit polling is showing that people are far more concerned about the economy and electability than they are about Iraq or even terrorism. This makes sense - with what would you be more concerned - an abstract risk of possible terrorist attack, or the fact that you lost your job and might not make your mortgage next month? So, I think that shift in focus has really done Dean in, and it hasn't done Clark any favors. Edwards isn't running a homeland security campaign, he's running a feel-good domestic agenda campaign, and people are responding. That's why he did so well in OK last night. I think that the Clark campaign really needs to re-focus as it goes into the primaries leading up to, and including Super Tuesday. It needs to get its domestic message out there. It's a good one. Forget Michael Moore's deserter comment. Forget Iraq for now. Tell America about your plan for their future. Tell them how you'll return fiscal responsibility, accountability to our country. Tell them about your tax relief package for the middle class. Tell them about your health care agenda. And when you're done, remind them that you fought in wars and sent people to fight in wars, and that you'll be accountable and responsible when making such tough decisions. We can do this folks. We have a month to make a difference leading up to Super Tuesday. Now's our chance.
For Wes Clark today. http://www.forclark.com/eblock Here are the final Zogby numbers for today's contests. A win in OK and strong showings in ND, AZ and NM would be very welcome, indeed.