Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

August 2, 2003

by J

What about Clark?

Ezra of NotGeniuses on whether Clark will run and what it could mean. Long, but interesting.
Once Clark enters the race, he becomes a politician, he becomes one of 10 (or 11, depending on Biden), and he loses the kid gloves with which he's been treated thus far. Now he's another ambitious politico, not a public servant/war hero who's concerned about the country. And he doesn't have the advantages of a longtime politician, mainly, all those named above. Further, he's entering late, so he looks slightly opportunistic, might piss off the stronger candidates who are looking at him as a Veep pick (though plenty of contenders have been picked before), and has a lot of catching up to do. If Clark doesn't win the primary, he emerges vastly weakened as a Vice-President. He's been through the political mud, probably pissed off some other candidates, and doesn't have the saintly glow he had before he entered.

For that reason, I don't think he's going to drop in; it's too risky. Remember, Clark is the best VP choice out there, and, for some of the candidates (namely Dean), he's nearly essential. He knows he's first in line for the slot with pretty much everyone in the race, and for dove-ish candidates like Dean, he's a seemingly necessary addition to take the edge off of Bush's foreign policy advantage. If Kerry is the winner, he's less necessary because Kerry isn't weak on foreign policy and national security, his bravery gives him a podium from which to speak. So from there, I posit two things:

1) Clark's likelihood of entering the race is inversely proportional to Dean's likelihood of winning it. [...]

2) Clark's best position is VP. [...]
I actually think that Clark will run, but that he'll really be running for VP.

There was a very strange moment with Clark on CNN yesterday that bothered me. Here's the transcript:
NOVAK: OK. General Clark, how would you vote -- if you were president of the United States -- I'm sorry -- would you pass -- would you sign the partial-birth abortion bill, which is about to be passed by Congress?

CLARK: I don't know whether I'd sign that bill or not. I'm not into that detail on partial-birth abortion. In general, I'm pro- life -- excuse me, I'm pro-abortion rights.
Posted by J at August 2, 2003 08:58 PM

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