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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Can Wesley Clark Win the Democratic Nomination? Should He?

Yesterday, DR alluded to the idea that Wesley Clark could be an attractive candidate, able to match Dean in terms of antiwar credentials, but not tied down to some of Dean’s less palatable stances, like repealing all of the Bush tax cuts.  And, in addition, of course, pretty difficult to criticize as soft on national security.  But really, how feasible is it for Clark to get the nomination at this late date? And, if he did, would this necessarily be a good thing?
The Daily Kos, who believes Clark would be a great general election candidate, just thinks he’s waited too long and probably can’t get the nomination. He mentions three factors–money, organization and drive–which all tell against Clark. The drive factor (“fire in the belly”) is hard to assess, but the lack of money and organization will obviously present huge obstacles to him.
Amy Sullivan of The Washington Monthly  believes Clark can overcome these obstacles by using the internet and his existing network of supporters to jump-start his campaign and get a quick cash infusion, after which one good thing will lead to another. Maybe. Frank Foer of The New Republicin an interesting debate with Noam Scheiber over Clark’s (possible) candidacy, puts his faith in Clark’s presumed ability to rally the Democratic establishment, including a critical mass of fundraisers, consultants and politicians, to his side as the candidate who can beat Bush and avoid a McGovernesque Dean defeat for the Democrats.
Well, maybe again. As Scheiber points out in the above debate, a great deal of Democratic money and energy is tied up in Democratic candidates that are not likely to drop out anytime soon, no matter how strong Dean appears at the moment. Scheiber also dwells on the uncomfortable facts that Clark has no political experience of the conventional sort and we really have no idea what kind of policies he actually stands for and how he’d actually fare on the campaign trail. Sure he’s got a great resume and he’s come up with some nice phrases to summarize his general stance on some issues (“I have got 20-some-odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons, they should join the United States Army–we have them.”)
But to translate that into The Man Who Will Save the Democratic Party strikes DR (at least at this point) as the wishful thinking of Democrats who are panicked by the possibility Dean will get the nomination, have no faith in any of the other candidates and who want to believe.
posted 9:27 pm

One comment on “Can Wesley Clark Win the Democratic Nomination? Should He?

  1. Wesley on

    Yes he should! And yes he can! He just has to be more aggressive against Dean and more national rather than just Eastern and Southern in his strategy. Clark NEEDS to visit more states! There isn’t that much time left until the primaries – Clark should visit at least the majorly populated states in every region – and he should do some LOUD publicity to get his name even more well known as a LEFTIST!


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