It is said that only Nixon could go to China. I believe that the most important reason to elect Clark next year is that he is the only guy who can "go to the Pentagon."
In the DOD-driven foreign policy and military-worshipping cultural environment that the Bush administration has created since 9/11, we need Presidential leadership that can credibly take on the Pentagon as we have never needed it before.
Clark will not be unassailable, but he will have tons more political cover than any civilian, especially any other Democrat, to work the following issues:
- The Pentagon budget (he has famously said that the military is "a want machine" and that an ideal place to look for the money we'll need for health care needs is there). He knows where the budgetary bodies are likely to be buried and can more effectively stare down The Boys on whether certain things are REALLY military necessities. He won't cut what's really needed, either.
- Gays in the military. He knows reforms to policy have to come from the military itself, but he also knows how to cajole and pressure the right people the right way.
- The downshifting of Rumsfeld's militarization of foreign policy, a turning away from the early resort to force. But Clark's credentials at the same time will help to reassure people that he isn't "weakening" us.
In terms of the election, I'd also like to note that the Bush administration has hitched their political star to all-militarism-all-the-time, so they have blunted some of their own ability to attack Clark with the same viciousness that they will be able to deploy against other Democrats. Although Clark will of course not be immune from the Republican lies-'n'-hysteria machine, they will have to be much, much more careful. They only succeeded in smearing Max Cleland because Max was low profile and didn't fight back. We already know Clark will -- in fact he's already smacking Turkey Boy around with STYLE.
There is also simply less basic ammunition to throw at Clark. I think he poses much, much more of a political problem for Rove and company.
But, ultimately, the main reason I support him is because of what I think he'll be able to do by virtue of his unique history, image, skills and qualities when he gets into the White House. The political value of having a guy who can lead this nation to the to the left from his personal national security fortress is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Democratic party.
I believe the advertisement that just started playing down here in South Carolina this week: he'll make an EXTRAORDINARY President.