The Wes Wing
Clark is obviously putting himself in a position to run for president again in 2008. Many of Clark's problems in his 2004 bid came from his late-entry into the race. Indeed Clark only joined the race when it looked like none of the other candidates could catch then front-runner Howard Dean. Clark was right that Howard Dean could be beaten, but he was mistaken in thinking that he was the man to do it.
The most interesting thing to me about Clark is the appeal that he seems to have to Alabama Democrats. Clark's political positioning and rhetoric resembles Howard Dean more than Howell Heflin. Wesley Clark has taken liberal stances on almost every issue from the Iraq War, to taxes, to abortion, and affirmative action.
Clark, though unsuccessful in 2004, has somehow managed to remain not only tolerable but wildly popular among the various wings of the Democratic Party. Clark is one of the few national Democrats with whom Southern Democrats wouldn't mind being photographed. Yet Clark is also the favored candidate of the unabashedly liberal blogosphere of the DailyKos variety. Clark was infamously supported (and subsequently embarrassed) by controversial documentarian Michael Moore, but Clark also was seen as the candidate supported (surreptitiously) by establishment Dems Bill and Hillary Clinton. Even self declared conservative Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) was on the Clark bandwagon.
Even though Clark's Birmingham rally seemed to go over well and he raised some money for House Democrats, the Alabama Democratic Party might want to make sure future star attractions don't give the AL GOP as much ammunition as Clark could. I doubt many House Democrats want to be associated with the Michael Moore embracing, gay rights advocating, Iraq war bashing rhetoric that Clark (at times) has been engaged.
I suppose that Clark's military background gives his anti-war stance credibility without appearing weak. And Clark's Southern roots (he was raised in Arkansas) imply he can relate to and fight for Southern votes should he again be a candidate.
But primarily I am amazed at how Wesley Clark is able to stay on such good terms with the various wings and factions in the notoriously fractious Democratic Party. People like Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Bill Richardson, and other elected officials have gotten the most attention in the upcoming Democratic presidential race. But with his universal appeal to Democrats, an impressive biography, and lessons learned from 2004, you shouldn't look past Wes Clark.