Saturday, January 10, 2004

It's Only a Matter of Time

As the crowds increase and more voters are exposed to Wesley Clark, his popularity grows, yet his decreased popularity among women has been cause for some speculation. Calpundit isn't sure of the cause of this gender discrepancy but speculates (tongue in cheek) that maybe the general should get Gert and his new grandson (Wes III) out on the campaign trail. I suggest the gender gap is due, at least in part to their unfamiliarity with the candidate at this point and a misconception that it is generals (rather than politicians) who get us into war. This man is a rarity -a Rhodes-scholar general who when asked about funding for the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), clearly not a likely anticipated question, responds without hesitation that funding for the arts is extremely important because the arts help define the soul of a country. Come on ladies, get to know the general … here's a link to a previous post where I include several sources of information regarding Clark's remarks, biography, and policy statements including both audio and video of interviews, townhall meetings, congressional testimony etc. In addition, there's a post over at Kidding On The Square that has some other source material (e.g., quotes from other notable persons about Clark).

In time candidates' true colors are exposed, this will always be a good thing for Wes Clark. On the other hand, it would appear that Dr. Dean's true colors are getting quite a bit of exposure this week. First
In a telephone conference call that reporters were invited by mistake to hook into, Dean's campaign staff spoke candidly about strategy surrounding the impending Bradley endorsement.

"Tomorrow, (Tuesday) we're going to start by having Bradley do sort of a subtle thing, if we can, by saying that Dean is a real Democrat, and then follow that up the next day with an in-state person that's probably a little more direct," one unidentified staffer said.

The "in-state" appeared to be a reference to New Hampshire, where Bradley, Al Gore's opponent for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, was to appear this morning at a previously unscheduled breakfast.

Another staffer indicated that in a survey of voters Monday by telephone, people expressed concern that "this guy (Dean) is indecisive" and Bradley, a former Hall of Fame player in the National Basketball Association and a three-term senator from New Jersey, could help counter that.

"The Bradley message could be, like, (Dean) knew where he stood on the war, is still a Democrat, takes . . . positions, blah, blah, blah," the staffer said.

The next day, the speaker said, "surrogates" for Dean, both local and national, could "then hit Clark on the flip side of the argument: that he's indecisive, didn't know what party he's with, doesn't know his position on the war," she said.

The strategists ended their conversation when another reporter joined the conference, telling him, "I think you may have the wrong call-in number. This isn't a press call."
Followed by: [via Digby] this
If that's not proof of Clark's newfound No. 2 status in New Hampshire, Howard Dean's campaign produced still more evidence when it authorized volunteers to distribute anti-Clark flyers at a Clark town-hall meeting Wednesday here in Peterborough.

On one side, the flyer reads "WESLEY CLARK: PRO-WAR," followed by a list of the general's much-discussed statements in support of the congressional Iraq war resolution. It's the stuff that gave Clark grief when he entered the race in the fall: He advised Rep. Katrina Swett in October 2002 to vote for the resolution, and he told reporters this past September that "on balance, I probably would have voted for it." On the other side, the flyer reads "WESLEY CLARK: REAL DEMOCRAT?" followed by Clark's much-discussed statements in praise of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Bush Cabinet, plus evidence of his pro-Republican voting record in presidential elections (until 1992).
And then, this [via the New York Times and Pandagon

This newly unearthed tape is simply the most damaging thing I could imagine for Dean. As you read the article, you keep thinking it can't get worse and then it does. The timing of this is so bad for him that I have to think it's been held and finally fed by one of the campaigns.[Ezra]

Four years ago, Howard Dean denounced the Iowa caucuses as "dominated by special interests," saying on a Canadian television show that they "don't represent the centrist tendencies of the American people, they represent the extremes."

Now Dr. Dean regularly tells audiences that the Iowa caucuses represent the essence of American democracy.[Ezra]

In February 1999, he said, "The next great tragedy is going to be Arafat's passing, believe it or not." He said the Israelis had thrown away an opportunity to negotiate with Mr. Arafat.

The excerpts shown on NBC also show Dr. Dean saying in December, 2000, "George Bush is, I believe, in his soul a moderate," and adding about those thinking that Mr. Bush's presidency would be a one-term one, "that is going to be a mistake."

What was that thing about Clark not being a Democrat again? There is enough in these tapes two piss off at least 4 interest groups and to make Dean look like the ultimate in flip-floppers. Certainly, this is the campaign's biggest test thus far.[Ezra]

The tapes were culled from 90 appearances by Dr. Dean, from 1996 to 2002, on "The Editors," a round table of journalists and politicians that is broadcast in Canada and on PBS stations in the United States.

An article about the tapes on the MSNBC Web site includes more excerpts. It shows that in January 1998, Dr. Dean speculated that there would "probably be good and bad" if the Islamic militants of Hamas take over the Palestinian leadership.
So, who's indecisive? A real democrat? Perhaps when Dr. Dean is writing his memoirs in 2005 he can explain how he managed to simultaneously lose the 'unreal' democratic base and fail to bring other progressives to the table.


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