Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Well, I'll be damned.
I didn't think that General Wesley Clark (USA, ret.) would get into the race, but it appears that he has clearance from Bill Clinton to get involved. The fact that Clark is in the race for the Democratic nomination should tell anyone, most of all the clueless Dick Morris, that Hillary Clinton is not running for the Democratic nomination this year.
As FreeRepublic's resident sage, the Common Tator, remarked two days ago, "Clinton does not think Bush is beatable. If the Clintons thought Bush was beatable Hillary would be the candidate not Howard Dean!".
There are a bunch of people in the service with Wesley Clark stories, not all of them complimentary. But lets assume that he was a fighting soldier, and not the perfumed prince that got him the NATO post as SACEUR. Clark will have to defend the conduct of the Kosovo operation, one of the least understood wars of the last twenty-five years. The conflict was purely an air show. And it came damn close to failing. Only the involvement of the Russian foreign ministry kept the Clinton Administration from having to send ground troops into Yugoslavia and get into a partisan war with the Serbs.
The Russians were the ones who got Milosevic to the table. Clark had nothing to do with it. Indeed, shortly after the ceasefire was to be announced, the Russians sent in an armored column from Bosnia through Serbian territory and into Kosovo. A Russian mechanized rifle battalion parked at Pristina airport to show the Red Army flag and stake Russia's claim in the Balkans. Apparently, Clark wanted to send the British off to evict the Russians from their new base at Pristina Airport. The Brits told Clark to go pound sand. The British commander of the allied peacekeeping forces in Kosovo was said to have told Clark that he wouldn't "start World War III" just for him. My thinking is that while the Bush people have one eye on Dean, another eye will probably be on Clark. Clark is Clinton's protege, and a friend from Arkansas.
Democratic thinking is that this Friend of Bill can criticize Bush from the "right" on Iraq. In other words, the conventional wisdom among Democrats is that the Iraq campaign has become a desert khaki version of the Vietnam War, the Democrats own intervention from hell. As a "general", swing voters will feel safe voting for him. However, if the Democrats turn out to have screamed "quagmire" too soon, as I suspect they have given the improvement in the situation on the ground there, then the whole Clark candidacy loses its reason for being.
Democrats like to think they can come up with their own Ike. The problem is that Ike came to the presidency by being one great thing and promising two great things. Ike was Ike, Supreme Allied Commander, the guy who beat Hitler. Wesley Clark did not beat Hitler.
However, the promises of Eisenhower mattered more than who Ike was. Ike promised to "go to Korea" and make a once and for all decision on the Korean war. Now that was a quagmire. We lost almost as many men in three years of fighting the People's Liberation Army than we did in ten years of fighting in Vietnam. There was general war weariness. And the economy was in recession: Truman's approval ratings were in the basement and people wanted a change. Ike promised to tackle that, too.
Wesley Clark faces no great quagmire and an improving economy, both of which will help Bush to get reelected. Of course, only a cynical bounder like me would suspect that that was what the Clinton's had in mind all along.
Meantime, in the California People's Republic, the Recall Election has been put in limbo. Yesterday, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit ruled that the election had to be postponed, preferably until March. The court ruled that the concern of the plaintiffs (those eminent Federalist scholars over at the Los Angeles chapter of the ACLU) that the punch card voting system could lead to bad counting and, thus, a violation of Equal Protection.
Basically, the argument was that black, hispanic, and "poor" voters might have greater problems with punch cards than white folks. Of course, the court sense the danger to the California electorate, and followed the ACLU'S argument. At bottom, the court liberals who sat on this case found a way to try to save Gray Davis' ass. At least for now.
However, as the courts tend to follow the Election Returns, the entire panel could not have been happy to see that approximately 70% of Californians want the election to go forward as scheduled. So, the Ninth's entire panel is getting back together to rule en banc on the decision. My prediction? The Ninth reigns in the panel, and allows the election to go on.
Just a hunch.