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Wednesday, September 17, 2003



(Almost) feeling sorry for John Edwards It's tough for me to muster up too much sympathy for the Senator, but you have to feel a little bad about the timing of Wesley Clark's announcement of his candidacy. The former Best Democratic Candidate On Paper (or BDCOP) tried to jump-start his floundering candidacy by making a formal announcement of his candidacy. But what presidential campaign story is getting all the buzz? Why, the entry of the new BDCOP.

Despite being southern and a former general, Clark has a long way to go before he becomes anything more than a great candidate on paper. For one thing, he needs to stop saying idiotic and demonstrable false things like "I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation." For a brief discussion of this blunder, check out this post by Eugene Volokh.

Also, he needs to come up with some actual policy knowledge. I remember seeing him on Cross-fire this summer when he was asked something about the budget, and he went on for about two minutes talking about how you can balance the budget by making sure the money coming in is more than the money you are spending. He literally seemed to think that he was saying something substantive.

Third, he's going to need some support from some actual military people. Even though he has those stars on his shoulders, he is already drawing criticism from people claiming that his "military credentials" are more a reflection of the brown on his nose than the mud on his boots. Take, for example, this letter to Jonah Goldberg on The Corner:

The man is an empty suit or I should say uniform complete with four stars. My father and husband were both military officers and I have seen the likes of Wesley Clark many, many times.

He is a political officer. That means that his main objective in his career is to be promoted and he will say and do anything to achieve that objective up to and including ruining other officers careers. He was promoted up the line by others of the same ilk. These guys always look good on paper---that means, they went to the right schools (usually the Academies or one of the private military schools), they went to the right wars (known as being in the right place at the right time) and had the right sponsors. Even had the right medals. But they are lousy leaders of men and real leaders can spot them a mile away.

It is somehow fitting that Bill and Hillary Clinton would sponsor him. I'm sure they see him as one of their people and he is. Vain, shallow, looks good in a uniform and easily manipulated.

You will no doubt receive plenty of e-mail from people who have had the occasion to run into or afoul of General Clark. You should also look into his record as Commander during the war in Kosovo. He almost started WWIII but thankfully a British commander wouldn't follow his orders. He didn't do it out of mendacity just good old garden variety stupidity and vanity.

Wesley Clark is not a class act.


Mitch Berg also has a good discussion of Clark's "leadership experience" here.


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