Monday, December 29, 2003

I was going to post rant about political polls today. I was gathering data from polls, both recent and historical. I was compiling information from Gallup, Harris and published articles on the importance of, and mechanisms for, obtaining a random sampling, as well as, locating studies on post-publication effects on public opinion. I stopped.

Perhaps, I would have made a convincing case that technology (in the form of callerID, etc.) restored an inherent bias in phone surveys (the inability to reach a random representative cross-section of potential voters) that had originally been the result of unlisted phone numbers.

Or maybe, I would have been able to make a case that, like news headlines, repetitious polls yield a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy with regard to public opinion. But as I said, that is what I was going to post.

It was a question of time and priorities and for today, both were spent on this ...

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has frequented this blog, that I am a Clark supporter. I could enumerate the many reasons why that's the case but you're not likely interested in my reasons (I mean, you don’t even know me why should you care what I think?) and others
(South Knox Bubba here, Mark A. R. Kleiman here and Andrew Sabl here) have done it more eloquently than I could, anyway.

Andrew Sabl’s piece is an essay that he wrote on how he “Became a Clark Supporter”. Unlike me, for whom Clark’s candidacy resulted in immediate euphoria, Mr. Sabl admits it was not a natural process for him. An excellent piece and perhaps a good place for skeptics to begin.

We all bring our own biases and priorities into our candidate selection and none of us will find that elusive candidate who agrees with our position 100% of the time. Positions are less important than the measure of the man himself, his character, his intelligence and how he got where he is today. No, I don't agree with all of the general's positions either but what is the significance in the context of electing a president?

For example, General Clark admits to having voted for Ronald Reagan. While I can’t conceive of a legitimate reason for doing so, I am willing to concede that, for a general, supporting a candidate that vows to increase defense spending does make sense. I also concede that, brace yourselves, I have voted for Republicans (albeit not for president at this juncture). So, he voted for Reagan and Bush Senior. Would my 'ideal' candidate have voted for those men? No, but I don't let that blind me to his other qualities, and I never lose sight of the end goal -electing a leader for our country. Too many lost sight in 2000.

Playwright (Angels in America)Tony Kushner reminds us of what this process is and isn't in this
interview, where he responds to the question of whether the Democratic Party can effectively oppose Bush:
I have said this before, and I'll say it again: Anyone that the Democrats run against Bush, even the appalling Joe Lieberman, should be a candidate around whom every progressive person in the United States who cares about the country's future and the future of the world rallies.

Money should be thrown at that candidate. And if Ralph Nader runs -- if the Green Party makes the terrible mistake of running a presidential candidate -- don't give him your vote. Listen, here's the thing about politics: It's not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.
Failing to ‘get this’ is, in large part, how we got Bush the last time. There are times to make a statement, and other times, when your statement (and more) will be lost. Ask Green Party supporters if they still believe Gore=Bush?

So, how much does it matter how Clark voted in previous elections? That he’s a recently registered-Democrat? To me -not at all. I never voted for Bill Clinton (no, I didn’t vote for Bush Senior or Dole. If you must know, I wrote in Jimmy Carter -but that’s a whole post in itself). However, I voted, knowing Mr. Clinton didn’t need my vote to win – I could afford idealism.

General Clark also stated he would support a ‘flag burning’ constitutional amendment. He didn’t state he would propose one, nor is that a function of the office, but I can’t tell you how strongly I would oppose such an amendment.

I believe that the strength of our flag as a symbol is precisely why it should always remain a tool for freedom of expression. Yet, I can allow that a soldier, like General Clark, who took that flag into battle, might have a different perspective.

A divisive issue? It seems so (based on media coverage, candidate response etc.). A reason to reject Clark as a candidate? Hardly.

In my assessment of the man, his actions and his words, I believe that although he supports such an amendment, his conviction for the right of freedom of expression would outweigh any personal preference – this is not a 'my way or the highway' leader.

I am admittedly selfish in my promotion of this man as the Democratic nominee. I want to be able to afford idealism on November 2, 2004. If General Clark is on the ballot, I will be able to vote for the man I actually want as President; a candidate that I am excited about. It’s been a long time –how ‘bout you?

Take some time to make your own assessment. Not because General Clark needs to be President, but because we need him to be.

Read or listen to his words, not those processed by pundits or the press (or even bloggers for that matter). Listening to Wes Clark’s responses to ‘unscreened’ questions from voters is likely what sealed it for me. Any candidate can deliver a clever, articulate response to anticipated questions but it’s the unexpected questions which yield the more revealing responses.

I have categorized the links below by type of information and topic in an effort to make it easy for you to access the information that may be important to you.

The early primaries are less than a month away and, unfortunately, it takes a great deal of money to get the message out. So, whether you reach the same conclusion I have or if you are undecided at this point but are willing and able to contribute to the Wes Clark campaign, you will find a ‘donate’ button above the blogroll at the right.

If, you’re among several million of us, who can’t afford to make a monetary contribution at this time, there are other ways to contribute. See the links below or visit
Clark for President. In the meantime, share with friends.

The following links to information and material have been supplied by my hand and any errors are mine. This compilation is not a product of the Clark Campaign and/or its campaign staff though some of the links will direct you to information on the Official Campaign Website.



Interview NH Public Radio 11/05/03

Interview NPR Morning Edition 12/02/03 here or directly here

Reaction to Saddam Hussein's Capture
Note: This is rather scratchy audio -conference call from the Hague ~30 minutes


Senate Hearing U.S. Policy in Iraq 09/23/02
Note: This is via CSPAN. General Clark's testimony was taken on 9/23/02 and appears at about 20 minutes and 50 seconds into the video. This is long before Bush invaded Iraq and the General is making the same statements then that he is now. You be the judge if his position has 'waffled'.

Clark Announces Candidacy in Little Rock, AR 09/17/03

DePauw University in IN 09/23/03

New England College in NH 09/26/03

Here in the Heartland Presidential Forum in IA 10/06/03
Note: This is 1 1/2 hours but an excellent format. Senator Harkin has sponsored this for many years, for every candidate.

Hunter College in NYC 10/19/03

Presidential Candidate Forum on Women's Issues, Washington, DC 11/06/03
All candidates. Now close your eyes and imagine this as a Republican candidate forum - sorry couldn't resist.

Town Hall Meeting Exeter, NH 12/06/03

Briefing on Milosevic Testimony, Concord NH 12/17/03

Pancake Breakfast Nashua, NH 12/20/03

His Books

Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire, and

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat.

Biographical Data


Military Career Highlights
Military Career Timeline

Video Note: This is produced by/for Clark for President

American Son


Note: Page with these and other links can be found here or viewed individually


100 Year Vision for America


Remarks on the Economy, NH 10/22/03
Issue Statement: Economic Vision
Speech: Job Creation, NYC 9/24/03
Issue Statement: Restarting the American Jobs Engine
Issue Statement: Manufacturing Security Plan
Issue Statement: Rural and Farm Security Plan
Issue Statement: Standing Up for American Workers


Issue Statement: Invest in the Education of America’s Future
Issue Statement: Universal Preschool Plan
Issue Statement: Universal College Grant Plan
Remarks on Higher Education, NH 12/10/03


Issue Statement: Plan for Health Care for American Families
Remarks on Health Care, NH 10/28/03
Issue Statement: Prescription Drug Plan for Seniors
Issue Statement: Global Aids Security Strategy
Issue Statement: Domestic Aids Security Strategy


Issue Statement: Protecting the Environment
Issue Statement: Clean Air Plan


Issue Statement: A Real Plan for Success in Iraq
Remarks: Outline Success Strategy in Iraq, SC 11/06/03
Issue Statement: Ossam bin Laden/Al Qaeda Strategy
Remarks on Al Qaeda, NH 11/12/03
Issue Statement: Ten Pledges on National Security
Remarks on Restoring America’s Alliances, NYC, 11/20/03
Article: Throw Full Weight of Washington Behind Middle East Process




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I hope you found this useful; regular blogging returns Tuesday.


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