In politics, coalition building is usually a good thing, but the risk in building a "big tent" is that Bozo the Clown just might see it, get a sudden attack of the "warm and fuzzies", and figure that's where he belongs. Such is the case with the Democrats and their newest presidential candidate--General Wesley Clark.
Some say Clark is mainly conservative, others say he's mainly liberal. I'd say General Clark is mainly with his finger in the wind. That doesn't seem to matter too much to Democrats, though. Their tent is so gigantic that they'll gladly welcome a guy who, in 2001, campaigned for Republican candidates, only recently joined the Democratic Party, voted for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan (whom he rightly credits for winning the Cold War)--and has heaped praise on George W. Bush and his administration. According to Internet reporter Matt Drudge, Clark gave a speech at a dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas in May 2001, in which he's quoted as saying, "I'm very glad we've got the great team in office. Men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice...people I know very well - our president George W. Bush. We need them there." Comments like that make Clark sound as though he was auditioning for his own role in the Bush administration--an ambition the Democrats apparently admire in their leadership, judging by Clark's popularity.
Ever the Republican until it suited his career to flash-convert into a liberal, Clark has generously praised America's military intervention overseas. Then--in a move more characteristic of a schizophrenic deprived of his meds than a former Commanding General--in a mere 24-hours, Clark went from saying that he supported the war in Iraq to then retracting his statement and saying that he really opposed the war. Surely this must set some kind of a time record for political flip-flopping.
Are Democrats really that desperate to find a guy who can compete with the image of George W. Bush in a flight suit, landing a fighter jet on the runway of the USS Abraham Lincoln? Are they so hard-up that they'll sell out their party's principles completely to hitch their wagon to any military man during a wartime election? The guy's gone as far as saying that he would still be a Republican if Bush advisor Karl Rove had returned his calls. So much for having the integrity to stick to one's convictions and beliefs. In Bush's Texas, Clark would be known as a guy who's "all hat and no cattle." If, as recent polls indicate, Democrats are so keen on Clark being their man to go up against Bush in '04, what they really appear to be suggesting is that they want a flip-flopping Republican drifter running the show--one that lacks Bush's stability, leadership, integrity, and humanitarian compassion. Perhaps it's just too difficult for liberals to resist the thought of a guy with eyes that are wonkier than a Kia transmission, staring longingly at the big, bright red button that makes things go "boom".
Speaking of humanitarian compassion, or lack thereof: It's not surprising that more hasn't been made in the left-leaning media of Clark's involvement in the Waco disaster--an incident that resulted in the murder by toxic gas and arson of more than 80 civilians (dozens of women and children included) following a botched raid of cult leader David Koresh's Branch Davidian Complex. Military personnel and equipment used in the operations came from the US Army Base at Ft. Hood, Texas. According to a US Department of Treasury report from September 1993, the army contributed 28 troops (15 active service personnel) and 17 armored vehicles to the operation--which was planned out at the Ft. Hood military complex. And who was in charge at Ft. Hood at this time? Wesley Clark just happened to be the Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood from August 1992 to April 1994. Inasmuch as Democrats like to whine about abuse of power, maybe they should consider taking a closer look at the legality of Clark's conduct and actions in relation to Waco. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 makes it "illegal to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress." The Democrats might wish to give some thought to the reasons why Rove may not have returned Clark's calls--thereby forcing him to choose another prom date.
Clark's view of the United Nations may disappoint Democrats who see the organization as the almighty be-all and end-all of world diplomacy. Clark seems to have about as much respect for the UN as Bush does--which is wonderful, unless you're supposed to be a Democrat. The Dems were quick to criticize Bush for his leadership and decisive action when he went into Iraq and enforced the 17 UN resolutions that Saddam Hussein had violated--and liberated the Iraqi people from a murderous tyrant in the process. Before taking any military action at all, liberals wanted Bush to get every two-bit UN dictator to gather around, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya before signing together on the dotted-line. I'll bet Democrats wouldn't be too pleased to hear that while Clark was a NATO commander of operations in Yugoslavia, he demanded that their beloved UN take a back seat. Clark made it clear that he was in control, and that he wasn't going to give up authority to anyone. Meanwhile, Clark presided over a prolonged, 70-day willy-nilly bombing campaign that was much more a "war of choice" than the recent intervention in Iraq. While Bush took great pains to keep civilian casualties in Iraq to a minimum, Clark's cluster-bombing and targeting of hospitals and old folks' homes have been well-documented.
The Democrats seem to have a thing for guys who can claim to have been "Rhodes Scholars". First Bill Clinton, and now Clark. I'm sure the Rhodes Scholarship selection people are thrilled with their track record: one guy who was so whippet-smart that he couldn't figure out how to keep his pants zipped, and another who is so confused by thinking in shades of gray that he keeps bouncing like a ping-pong ball back and forth across the ideological divide. Note to Dems: You've let Bozo the Clown into the tent--and now he's taking over the three-ring circus. And it's no wonder the Clintons have endorsed Clark. If the Clark strategists succeed in creating a nice, warm place in the spotlight for their blatant, carpet-bagging flip-flopper, then the Clinton advisors could very well end up using him as a place-warmer for Hillary.