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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Wes Wing

Monday night saw former Democratic presidential candidate, and four star general, Wesley Clark swoop into Birmingham to raise money and rally the masses. From all accounts Clark gave a rousing call to action to the Democratic faithful. Both the Birmingham News and Mobile Register covered the Clark event.

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.

15 Comments:

Anonymous JamesB said...

Clark would have annihilated Bush. I kick myself everyday that we nominated ol Lurch instead of Clark.

10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clark appeals to a wide spectrum of political persuasions. His approach has always been to LISTEN to everyone... then approach an issue as a problem solver, not an ideologue.

That's what attracts much of his appeal in addition to his unquestionable integrity and stellar personal history.

Clark is the kind of Democrat that other Dems in red states can run WITH, not away from!

11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What General Clark does is simple: he tells the truth. I know, I know, people who are politicians are often leary of the truth. I've always thought that this truth telling is both the General strength and weakness (only in politics.) But I'll take the truth anyday, and I think the American people recognize it too, and value it.

Yes, we would be talking about President Clark today, if the Democratic insiders were half as smart as they say they are.

11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Green Beret said...

I agree that if General Clark had been the nominee last time, Bush would have been defeated. In fact, if Alabama had voted the same day as Iowa, he would have have carried this state and then he would have been the one with the big momentum. After all, Alabama has more delegates than Iowa. Just one more reason to call your state representative and state senator and urge them to support the bill to move the Alabama presidential primary forward to the Saturday after New Hampshire.

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