Because I've been getting a lot of his anti-Clark talking points from Dean supporters today. Old stuff that anyone doing his or her homework could've debunked on their own by now if they were so inclined.
Rove Talking Point #1: Clark has no experience on domestic issues like education and health care
Dave Cullen runs a Dean and Clark friendly blog. Explaining that Clark's 34 years of service is the equivalent of being both a governor and a commander in chief, he writes:
If you think General Clark has no experience on domestic issues, then you've never served in the military. That's not an attack on your patriotism, just an explanation of how you got duped.
The biggest surprise most people discover when they first sign up with the army, is that hardly anyone inside it fights. Roughly ten percent of the army is a fighting force. The other 90 percent exists to create an entire subculture/subeconomy, to provide for nearly every facet of human life: food, housing, education, health care, even religious services.
Interested in healthcare reform? Guess who runs one of the largest single-payor systems in the world? The army builds its own network of hospitals, hires its own doctors, nurses and administrators, provides much of their training and runs the entire operation.
Public housing? They've got hundreds of thousands of men women and children under their roof, a system rivaling all of HUD.
Concerned about crime? They've got an entire court system of their own: judges, juries, prosecutors, defenders and an entire military police force. I'm pretty sure General Clark will be the only candidate in the field to have served as a judge.
General Clark is best known for foreign policy, but his biggest single concern actually appears to be education. He has very strong positions and very deep experience on education because that's one of the biggest businesses the army is in. He's had far more experience with it than shrub ever did as Governor of Texas.
Rove Talking Point #2: Clark said something nice about Republicans, so he must be a Republican or evil or whatever
I could go off on a rant here. Most of this stuff has been debunked for so long I'm surprised it needs to be restated. But here we --yawn-- go again.
Josh Marshall posted the following:
Clark moved back to Arkansas after leaving the Army to get into business and make some money and in all likelihood to get into politics. He got politically involved and basically kept people guessing. Republican scuttlebutt had him running for office as a Republican; Democratic scuttlebutt had him running as a Democrat. He gave this speech to a Pulaski County Republican Committee dinner. But a little context from a May 20th, 2001 article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ...
"Pulaski County Committee Chairman Greg Racicot invited Wesley Clark as keynote speaker. Former supreme allied commander in Europe and leader of NATO during the recent Kosovo campaign, Clark now lives in Little Rock and works in high-technology venture capital at Stephens Inc. A hot-ticket guest speaker, Clark plans a similar appearance before the Democrats, his wife, Gert, confided."
Then when everyone was sure he was going to run for something, he signed on as a CNN military analyst in late August 2001. Here's a blurb from the time in US News' Washington Whispers ...
"Just when Arkansas political bigs figured that local-boy-done-good Wesley Clark was set to make a bid for public office, he's surprised them all by signing on as a military and current affairs analyst with CNN, Whispers learns. Clark, a retired Army general who was one of the U.S. military bosses in Bosnia, is expected to be a regular on the cable network as it scrambles to recover viewers who've switched to Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Since retiring, Clark has been a fixture on the Arkansas political trail, speaking at key events normally reserved for campaigning pols. That's led most state politicians to assume he's planning to run for Senate or governor. Clark, however, keeps them guessing. And not just about his future: folks don't even know if he's a Republican or Democrat"
A couple of points: I don't think his wife Gert was lying when she said he planned a similar appearance at a Dem function. And since he became a regular fixture at Arkansas political events AND no one could tell if he was a Republican or a Democrat, I think its safe to assume that he did not appear at only one party's events. Otherwise his political leanings would have been more easily discerned. And certainly Dean would not have had a rabid Republican serving as a campaign advisor, as Clark was doing before he announced.
Final note: I see a Dean supporter is trotting the old Clark-is-the-Clintons'-sock-puppet shibboleth. Do I need to debunk that one too?