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Wes Clark was in Iowa over the weekend campaigning for local candidates.

David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register covered his visit, and had this to say:

The nation is bogged down in a war. There seems to be no way out. A president's job-approval rating tanks.

Iraq, 2006? Yes. It's also Korea, 1952. And in 1952, a war-weary nation grew tired of its president and turned to a retired general to be the next chief executive - giving him the mission of getting the country out of the conflict.

This presidential cycle, retired Gen. Wesley Clark is showing up in Iowa, hoping to repeat something of the same feat Dwight Eisenhower accomplished when he succeeded Harry Truman in 1952.


As always, the questions turn to Iraq:

"You'll not get an 'A' out of this," he said in an interview. "You might get an 'F.' If you're lucky, you'll get a 'D+.' The failure will come if you just get mad and pull out - just say 'That's it. You people are fighting; we're leaving.' If you do that, they'll fight even more."

Instead, he said, the United States must now try to hold the country together; not let it become a haven for terrorists, and prevent any other single country in the region from dominating it.

Also, the United States has to work to let people "lead some semblance of normal life," help put a government in place, get U.S. troops off the streets and reduce the U.S. troop presence.

The United States also must expand its diplomatic efforts in the region and make clear it seeks "no permanent presence" of troops in the area. Also, it should work to establish a government, bolster the economy and improve security.

"You'll be left with an Iraq that is a lot more Islamist than before and anti-American. It's not a very pretty outcome, but that's the absolute best you can hope for," he said.

So is this the program that makes Clark president? It's not a grabber like Ike's "I will go to Korea" line. Also, the Bush administration is already trying to execute some of it. And there are a lot of angry Democratic activists who want to leave immediately and won't like hearing candidates say we have to remain awhile longer.

But as a decorated military leader, Clark has a credibility on war and national security that none of the other potential candidates has.......

And he closes with this:

Also, Democrats may finally be learning that the nation's mainstream voters just aren't going to elect a president near the pacifist end of the political spectrum. Democrats have rarely won the White House unless they nominated candidates who were seen as strong on national-defense questions. That's what they thought they were doing when they nominated John Kerry in 2004.

Democrats looking to take back the White House in 2008 need to consider the lessons Eisenhower and the Republicans taught them in back 1952.

Des Moines Register

I have been a Clark supporter since the Draft Clark days. I know Kossacks have their favorites and sometimes they seem to change weekly. When Kane won, everyone jumped on the Warner bandwagon. When Feingold called for censure, he was the new favorite. Right now it's Gore. For me it has always been Wes Clark.

Apart from the fact that I still think he has the best credentials to win the WH, I like that he continues to slog away week in and week out spreading the Dem message around the country, while at the same time, having to make a living. He doesn't have the luxury of campaigning on the tax payers' dime, nor is he independently wealthy like others.  But it doesn't stop him from maintaining a killer schedule like this:

January 10th: DNC Statement on Bush failure to provide body armor for troops

January 10th: Liberal Supper Club, Washington DC

January 11th: DNC Press Conference Call with Lt Col Andrew Horne, candidate for U.S. Congress in KY-3; Democratic pre-buttal to Bush WOT speech in Louisville KY

January 11th: Letter-writing campaign to demand body armor for troops

January 17th: 7:30PM, Sears Lecture Series, "Do We Really Care about Human Rights?" - Purdue University, Loeb Playhouse, West Lafayette, Indiana - "The Balkans: A Strategic Vision"

January 19th: Securing America: "Where is the leadership and the rule of law?"

January 24th: Press conference with Senator Schumer introducing "Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006"

January 25th: Release of "The US Military: Under Strain and at Risk" for US Senate National Security Advisory Group; aka Albright/Perry Report

January 26th: Paul Begala's Radio Show, WOR-AM NY

January 26th: 1PM, Fundraising Reception for Bob Gammage for Governor, Hotel Derek, Houston TX

January 26th: Rally with Representative Hubert Vo in TX House District 149, Houston TX

January 26th: 6PM, Kickoff of Juan Garcia's race for Texas House District 32, Selena Auditorium, Corpus Christi TX

January 27th: "Take Back Your Privacy" E-Mail Campaign in support of S. 2178, "The Consumer Telephone Records Act of 2006"

January 27th: Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus Third Annual Conference, Little Rock AR

January 30th: "Real State of the Union" speech before New America Foundation, Washington DC

February 1st: WesPac Reception and Fundraiser, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables FL

February 2nd: WesPac Reception and Fundraiser, "Evening in San Francisco with General Wesley K. Clark" at Hotel Monaco, San Francisco CA

February 4th: Bloggers' Roundtable, Los Angeles CA

February 4th: "Take Back the House with General Wesley Clark" in support of Democrat Francine Busby for CA-50, Hollywood CA

February 4th: WesPac fundraiser sponsored by 4-Star Democratic Club, Los Angeles CA

February 6th: ABC World News Tonight

February 8th: Veterans for a Secure America fundraiser, Washington DC

February 9th: Stephanie Miller radio show on AAR

February 10th: "Iraq: The Way Forward--A Conversation with General Wesley Clark," Council on Foreign Relations, Washington DC

February 11th & 12th: Hosting C-Span Book-TV program "After Words"; Guest David Rieff, author of "At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention"

February 11th: Speech at National Student Leadership Conference, Washington DC

March: Fundraiser for Mike Weaver in KY-02, Owensboro KY

March 5th: "This Week" interview by George Stephanopoulos

March 10th: Ed Schultz Radio Show

March 10th: WesPac fundraising luncheon, Cambridge MA

March 11th: Congressman Marty Meehan's St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, Dracut, MA

March 11th: Vietnam and the Presidency Conference, JFK Library, Boston MA

March 13th: Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, "A Petty Hitler" - death of Slobodan Milosevic'

March 14th: Diane Rehm Show on the situation in Iraq

March 14th: Fundraiser for Eric Massa NY-29, Washington DC

March 15th: ClarkCasts introduced on Securing America

March 17th: Email Fundraiser for Lt Col Andrew Horne, Democratic candidate in KY-03

March 17th: Chicago Public Radio "The Future of Kosovo"

March 18th-20th: New Hampshire House Democratic Caucus

March 18th: Town Hall Meeting, New England College, Henniker NH

March 18th: New Hampshire Veterans Home visit, Tilton NH

March 18th: Salem/Windham Democrats host General Clark, Windham NH

March 19th: Upper Valley Democrats and Young Democrats of Dartmouth College host General Clark, Hanover, NH

March 21st: Ohio Democratic Party fundraiser, Cincinnatian Hotel, Cincinnati OH

March 23rd: "Evening with General Wesley Clark" Reception and Dinner, The Houstonian, Houston TX

March 24th: CSPAN - "Vietnam and the Presidency: Lessons Learned" - JFK Library, Boston MA 3/11/06

April 1st: North Dakota Democratic-NPL Convention, Fargo Civic Center, Fargo ND, Keynote Speaker

April 10th: Emory University Presidential Distinguished Lecture Series, Atlanta GA

April 22nd: Arkansas Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Guest Speaker, Little Rock AR

April 26th: 7PM, "Take a Meeting With the World" Public Lecture Series, Interview by George Stephanopoulos, University of Judaism Gibson Amphitheatre, Bel-Air CA

May 5th: Boys and Girls Club of America Centennial Celebration, Guest Speaker. Boston MA

May 13th: Hawkeye Labor Council fundrasier, Cedar Rapids IA

May 19th: Wagner College Commencement Address, Staten Island NY

May20th: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Commencement Speech and Honorary Degree, Troy NY

June 8th: Texas Democratic State Convention, Opening Speaker, Ft. Worth TX

June 24th: Tennessee Democratic Party Jackson Day, Guest Speaker, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville TN

Does he ever sleep?

Originally posted to pelican on Tue May 16, 2006 at 01:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At this sad point..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    acquittal American history, an ACTIVE US GENERAL would be better for America not a retired one like Clark talking Republican-lite.....less calories, less taste.

    I bet 99.99% of active generals find the Bush & Company's war in Iraq to be a deadly nightmare that must end immediately. I'd be all for it General.

    •  Huh??? (6+ / 0-)

      "Clark talking Republican-lite?"  What in the world are you talking about?  Gen. Clark is very progressive. Please explain.

    •  Actually, (5+ / 0-)

      I think all the active generals would agree with him. They are very familiar with the "if you break it you own it" meme.

      Clark feels it is in the best US and Regional interests to leave behind a somewhat stable country. He also says that 2006 needs to be a year of transition with troop redeployment but feels that setting a time table would end in more of a disaster than we have now. He also says that we should make it clear that we have no long term interest in Iraq. (i.e. the bases the Reps are building)

      "This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass."....Molly Ivins

      by pelican on Tue May 16, 2006 at 01:58:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmm (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      velvetdays, Ice Blue

      Can active generals actually run for President without retiring first?  Kind of seems like that would open a lot of scary doors...

      Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

      by ChicagoDem on Tue May 16, 2006 at 02:17:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Forgive me... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      velvetdays, subtropolis, smokeymonkey

      ...but this is an idiotic comment.  Clark knows about complex emergencies and incipient conflicts from his time in the Balkans. He is exactly right that a precipituous withdrawal would actually accelerate fighting.  Iraq is not Vietnam, so much as Yugoslavia in 1994.  His policies are hardly "Republican Lite", particularly when it comes to domestic policy.  I also wonder where on earth you got the idea that "99.9%" of generals would favor an immediate withdrawal.  I would imagine most are probably closer to a Biden style plan for handing over authority.  I don't think any serious foreign policy expert, from anywhere on the spectrum, feels that an immediate withdrawal without some sort of international presence and political settlement is a good idea.

  •  I've liked him since day 1 (4+ / 0-)

    and I think he has a great deal to offer both the Dems and the country.  I particularly think of him when I recall Ike's farewell speech regarding the "military industrial complex"....he knew what he was talking about.  I don't see Clark as a warmonger, he's seen what war really is (as opposed to our current leadership) but he would be hard and straight forward about the tough choices and boy do we have some coming....

  •  One more thing I like (9+ / 0-)

    About Clark, is when he doesn't know something he will go out of his way to learn about it.  I read once that he was asked about low income housing.  He said he did not have an answer and would get back.  He researched how the Army did it, and put together a comprehensive plan.

    I don't know if he is always right.  But at least he is working through the issues, and is willing to take tough stances on issues.  I also like that he is doing a shadow presidency, following the issues, and creating position statements that provide alternatives.

  •  To invade Iraq was a folly of the first order. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, MamasGun, Ice Blue

    To stay in the midst of a civil war is just as foolish. Sadaam and his government would have fallen eventually and the chaos erupting there would have come about at some point in time. The best we can hope for now is to withdraw and provide support for whatever moderate elements still exist there. Insist on UN sanctions for any third party that gets involved. You can well say that this strategy won't work all I can reply is that the continued occupation won't work either even with Clark as president. Cut our losses and get the hell out.

    "At Delta House we have a saying:Don't Get mad, Get even." Daniel Simpson Day

    by irate on Tue May 16, 2006 at 01:52:55 PM PDT

  •  Yepsen... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am not from Iowa, but my understanding based on the 2004 primaries is that Yepsen is very important in Iowa politics. Seems to be a pretty darn favorable article about Wes Clark.

  •  Is it cool to pimp a site in which one has no (6+ / 0-)

    affiliation?  If so, here's the one for WesPac.

  •  Wes Clark... (7+ / 0-)

    is the real deal. He's got a spine. I do not see him as a DINO; he's just got his feet firmly planted in reality. He knows who he is and he knows where he would like to see America go.

    It seems to me that Bush and his Rethuglican allies spend all of their time and effort trying to get re-elected. The big problem with that is that they really need to spend at least some of their time governing this country. No one has been governing this country since GWB took his first oath of office.

    GWB styles himself as the first "CEO President" and likes to refer to himself as the "Decider" but how much real executive experience does he have? Yes, he does have some, but all of it ended in failure - just as his experience as POTUS seems destined to end in failure.

    Let's us (the voters in the U.S.) give the job of President to Wesley Clark, someone who is a proven, experienced, successful executive. No one can argue with his military record. Every one of those four stars was hard-earned and Wes is a true patriot from the great state of Arkansas. I believe that there is no one out there who will do a better job governing America.

    The friend of my enemy is my enemy. Dump Chafee in '06.

    by jayatRI on Tue May 16, 2006 at 02:11:41 PM PDT

  •  Honestly, I think the war is the most important (0+ / 0-)

    issue facing the nation today.  The Dems have a lot of good candidates out there--just not for war time.  Everyone remember LBJ?  All those social programs and he's going to be remembered for Vietnam.  

  •  I too was a DraftClark guy in 2003... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...and he is still my preferred candidate for 2008. And he's precisely right about Iraq. Leaving now - that is to say, pulling all troops out - is unfortunately not an option. The civilian population would face even more of a day-to-day bloodbath than they do now.

    It is unfortunate that we are unable to turn the clock back to February of 2003 and not invade Iraq. But given that we can't, we have a responsibility to the citizenry of Iraq to do whatever we can to protect them. And that, of course, is where bush, Rummy and company are really fucking up.

  •  General Clark: LESS Likely To Take Us Into War (3+ / 0-)

    An high ranking officer in the United States military who has been in responsible command positions and has actually seen the horror of war is LESS likely to take us into a foolish conflict.

    President Eisenhower knew the awesome weight of command. So did President McKinley, a Civil War leader who (somewhat reluctantly) led the U.S. into a war with Spain in 1898 after telling the jingoistic press that he had seen the bloody bodies of the dead and that he knew there was no glory in war.

  •  Clark is one of the few demanding accountability (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis, Sharon Jumper

    for Bushco's actions. He has been ahead of the curve on so many things.
    Beyond the nuts and bolts military knowledge, he is a diplomat and statesman.  His knowlege of foreign affairs is broad. He also has a keen interest in the technology of the future, as it applies to the environment, among other things. He has a holistic understanding of how our economy fits in with the world and what we must do to stay economically viable.

    His 100 Year Vision plan is really fascinating.

    Gen. Clark is the complete package. I just did a Zogby poll and he was among those listed as potential candidates. Frankly, the other names on the list seem either too one dimensional or are so "inside the Beltway" that they turn me off (and many are DLC, which REALLY turns me off).

    He is not Republican lite. He is a liberal who has lead people. We'd be foolish to pass him over for some warmed over politico shoved at us by the usual Democratic consultants.

  •  'a credibility on war' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Knightrider, Sharon Jumper

    The poll numbers published last week in NYT clearly showed that the only thing that the Dems trailed the GOP in right now is the perception that Republicans can better deal with the security of the nation (i know, but that's what the numbers said, apparently).

    Put Gen. Clark on the ticket in '08 and the Dems will trounce any Republican candidate.

    Gore/Clark might be nice, now that Deadeye Dick has cemented the precedent of a VP in charge of foreign policy.

    "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." – H.L. Mencken

    by subtropolis on Tue May 16, 2006 at 03:26:25 PM PDT

  •  Truth and trust..... (0+ / 0-)

    That's what you get with General Wes.  Sometimes it's hard to hear the truth, but that's what you're gonna get.  Refreshing.  Great article, pelican.    

  •  Clark is the Gold Standard (0+ / 0-)

    Clark has never stopped working since he first threw his hat in the ring- Even after he left the race, he worked hard on behalf of Kerry. Who in my opinion hardly deserved it but let's not go there.

    He's been out there non-stop since- working the issues, learning the territory, giving sage advice (too often ignored).

    His schedule is mind-blowing! The recent Clark Casts are a great way for us to hear General Clark speak on the issues of the day- but what always amazes me is the depth & breadth of his remarks! One minute it's Barbara Boxer, the next it's emergency communications with first responders. The next, an intricate exploration of the Middle East.

    He does make it a point to learn things when he isn't familiar with a problem/issue.

    It really seems like you could ask him almost anything- and just be nearly stunned by the completeness of the answer! AND- he so personable! General Clark IS the gold standard.

    I look forward to his influence on the 06/08 contests & I so ardently hope the American public at large gets a chance to hear more from Wes Clark. He sure deserves it.

    And what a bloody relief it would be to get rid of these Mayberry Machiavellis!!!!!! Get some substantive problem-solving going!

    Freedom & dignity spring from within the human heart... & inside the human heart is where the impetus for political change must be generated. -Wes Clark

    by velvetdays on Tue May 16, 2006 at 04:52:28 PM PDT

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