General Clark's Endorsement of Sen. Hillary Clinton

I am a strong supporter of Senator Chris Dodd's campaign for the Presidency. I think the leadership he is demonstrating as Senator now, especially on Iraq, is evidence of the type of leadership he would provide as President. But I would be hard pressed not to be a supporter of General Wes Clark if he were in the race. I strongly supported General Clark in the 2004 race and I lament that he is not our President now. On foreign policy and military issues, there is no one I trust more than General Clark.

So General Clark's endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton this morning does have an effect on me. The main effect is it makes me want to know the role General Clark would play in a Clinton Administration. If he were to have a leading role on national security and foreign policy issues, there is no question I would be much more favorable to the Clinton candidacy. Will he? As Jeralyn notes, Jerome Armstrong queried on whether General Clark might be Senator Clinton's running mate and not surprisingly, General Clark demurred. But the Clinton campaign can give us an idea of whether and what General Clark's role might be in a Clinton Administration and I would urge them to tell us more about that. More.

In my question to General Clark this morning, I asked him about Senator Clinton's Iraq policy, both what she would do as President and what she is doing now as Senator. General Clark, being the brilliant man he is, knew exactly what I was driving at and answered the question on Senatorial leadership first.

His discussion of the role of the Senate was interesting but, ultimately for me, not adequate. I won't bore you with my arguments on the funding question, but General Clark, in my opinion, underplayed the power of the Congress and the power of Democratic Congressional leaders, like Senator Clinton, to not only drive the debate, but to lead the Democratic Party to real opposition of the Bush/Republican Iraq policy.

On Senator Clinton's prescription for Iraq as President, I have always found very little to choose from between the proposed Presidential policies of our Dem candidates (including my guy Dodd) and look to see whether the resolve and leadership to carry out the announced policies is there. I know Dodd has the leadership and resolve. I worry about Senator Clinton's resolve and leadersip.

But I would worry a lot less if I knew that General Clark would have a leading and influential voice in a Clinton Administration.

< Gen. Wesley Clark Endorses Hillary Clinton | Leadership On Iraq: Obama's Missed Opportunity >
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  • Display: Sort:
    snookered! (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Miss Devore on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:56:44 AM EST
    the suckering is scientific now.

    Heh (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:59:42 AM EST
    Could be.

    And yet I am still a Dodd supporter.


    you'll fold (none / 0) (#10)
    by Miss Devore on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:08:04 PM EST
    like a cheap napkin.

    Do cheap napkins fold well? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:12:34 PM EST
    I always find they do not.

    I guess (none / 0) (#14)
    by Miss Devore on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:53:10 PM EST
    you're the expert, there.

    I am not loaded (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:37:35 PM EST
    like you. Cheap napkins are all I can afford.

    hilarious (none / 0) (#42)
    by Miss Devore on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:09:29 PM EST
    I'm not even in the $40K bracket.that bad, yeah.

    I was joking (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:13:26 PM EST
    in that I think you mentioned you income status in the past.

    Obviously, I wish I made more but it is not to say I am starving.


    Thanks, BTD. Without being defeatist ... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:12:22 AM EST
    "On Senator Clinton's prescription for Iraq as President, I have always found very little to choose from between the proposed Presidential policies of our Dem candidates (including my guy Dodd) ..."

    Aside from the tactics of defunding, who (other than the presidential candidates) in your opinion has presented the most coherent strategy for Iraq and regional diplomatic initiatives.  Has Clark or others addressed this in any detail?  I ask because I'm afraid the prospect of defunding may be a lost cause, in other words, that Dodd is a voice crying in the wilderness.  If, as some of us fear, we will end up waiting until January 20, 2009 for substantially new direction, who is speaking out most coherently for future direction at that time.

    Personally, I have generally assumed some type of partition or extremely loose federalism supposedly allowed by the current Iraq constiution is inevitable.  BTW, that's not an endorsement of Biden.

    I think partition (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:16:16 AM EST
    imposed by the US and then unenforced by the US is just a silly argument.

    Iraqis must agree on what to do. Not us.

    Suppose you partition, what makes you think it will be respected after we are gone?


    I agree ... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:22:03 AM EST
    I agree we cannot impose it, but think the best possible scenario might come about through some kind of regional conference, UN peacekeepers, etc, as some kind of effort to limit further deterioration into genocide and regional wars.  This idea is not well informed, that's why I'm asking for those who have developed real strategies for the future of the area.

    The Kurds, of course, have already ... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Meteor Blades on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 05:37:03 PM EST
    ...partitioned in every way but formally.

    Respeted like the partition (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 03:05:14 PM EST
    of British India.

    Why 2009? (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by janinsanfran on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:42:18 AM EST
    I want to know why anyone is confident that there will be a change of direction in 2009 when/if we get a Democratic president? They all are afraid to have "lost Iraq," they all want the oil, they all believe in US world domination. Just some of them are smarter than the Neocons. But I don't see a change of direction.

    I share (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by tnthorpe on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:28:04 PM EST
    your suspicion there, but that's why I'm always emailing and calling Donnelly, Bayh, and Lugar here in IN-02. They may be ignoring me, but I want them to know that I expect more than they've given me in terms of leadership on Iraq, health care, the environment, education, energy ...

    Like Gramsci said, "Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will."


    Personally, I am not confident ... (none / 0) (#8)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:47:52 AM EST
    ... but I am trying not to be defeatist.

    Beginnings of a Clark strategy: (none / 0) (#15)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:57:08 PM EST
    "... But at the tactical level, the more intensive application of forces has brought rewards in intelligence collection and operational effectiveness. This, at least, has kept the US in the game, while Iran works its three-pronged strategy of nuclear ambition, gripping Israel through Hizbollah, Lebanon and Syria, and dominating Iraq.

    But the surge cannot be the lasting answer - it has just bought time for all sides: for President Bush, who doesn't want to confront the imminence of strategic failure; for the Iranians, who aren't ready to go for broke on their nuclear and regional ambitions; and for the Iraqi factions, struggling among themselves for survival and dominance. And time for the UK and other allies to struggle with US policy and political processes - trying to be supportive and, at the same time, make the right decisions for their troops and their publics. No one can say for certain that the Iraqis will not resolve their political differences in the midst of all this, but it is certainly unlikely.

    In the US, the dialogue has been all about troops and tactics. At the end of his book, [General Sir] Mike Jackson [the recently retired UK Army chief] joins this debate, expressing concern about the need to avoid a fixed timeline. Mike isn't wrong, but it's a pity the debate is being fought out on these points, because the solution doesn't lie at this level. While Republicans may claim some victory from the limited and fragile military gains, and the Democrats are unwilling to push for an early and complete pull-out, the real solution likely lies elsewhere. Unless and until the US and its allies deal effectively with Iran and its ambitions, there is likely to be no stability, no end to conflict in Iraq and no solution. Keeping troops in Iraq preserves options - that is all.

    The isolating of Iran and occasional sabre-rattling is not an adequate response. Nor is the febrile, repeated efforts at diplomatic sanctions. Instead, the US will have to take the lead, with its allies in support. An effective strategic response must begin with an intensified dialogue within the region, and real, sustained and in-depth conversations with the Iranian leadership at multiple levels. Regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan must be included, not just informed. Principles must be developed, and consequences made plain, both positive and negative. The way ahead will be tortuous. There will be threats and counterthreats, blandishments and promises, crises and imminent conflict. Economic pressures will intensify.

    But this is the path to be followed if we want to try to avoid conflict with Iran and at the same time head off its nuclear capability. The time remaining is short. There are alternatives to war, far better alternatives. But if all we can discuss is troop strength in Iraq, we won't find them."  Link


    Clark was No. 2 on my list.... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Meteor Blades on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    ...in 2004, and I have great respect for what he has said regarding foreign policy in general, his on-the-ground support for Democratic candidates in 2006, his opposition to Bush Iran policy and his self-education on the domestic issues he was so weak on three years ago.

    But Clark has been wrong on Iraq. Not on what a Democratic president should do were one in power, but on what Democrats out of power should do. He was wrong in 2005 when he publicly dissed Russ Feingold's withdrawal proposal and simultaneously urged the Out of Iraq Caucus to chill its jets, and he has continued to be wrong in that regard ever since, doing a great deal to advance us just one more Friedman Unit down the road at every crux point instead of supporting, for instance, defunding.

    That being said, I think there is little question that his endorsement is the biggest one going until Edwards and Obama ring in with theirs sometime in mid- to late-February. It's over. It's going to be, I am devastated but not surprised to say, Hillary Clinton against whomever the GOP coalesces around.

    If she wins the general, which seems highly likely, it means, most probably, significant numbers of residual troops in Iraq for at least another five years and a foreign policy that most of us on the left will be fighting on many fronts.  

    I'm disappointed but not surprised (none / 0) (#6)
    by pioneer111 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:37:34 AM EST
    I was waiting for Clark up until March when I knew he wasn't going to run.  I also suspected that he was more connected to the Clintons than was being revealed.  I know that this is politics - beltway politics that keeps the same elites in charge.  I hope this is just a nice bump for Clinton.  They are both good DLC Democrats (and I don't mean that in a nasty way just in a tired way).

    I think the timing was interesting.  Just as Dodd and Edwards were pressuring the senate and making it tough for Clinton and Obama.  I'm cynical enough to think that is part of the agenda.

    I like Edwards vision for the country and I still believe he is who we need.  I feel he is a stronger leader than either Clinton or Clark.   I like the new Dodd as a model for other senators.   But this inevitibility meme keeps rolling forward.    I feel sad.

    Clark is no DLC Dem (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:01:52 PM EST
    Thast really makes your comment as a whole sound silly to me.

    You are right on that (none / 0) (#13)
    by pioneer111 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:45:32 PM EST
    I didn't mean to phrase it quite that way.  I had two thoughts in my head at the same time but the DLC should not have been there for Clark.  I do respect Clark but I still have a difficult time believing this was the wisest move for him and Democrats.  But it is what it is.  

    Oh (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:36:58 PM EST
    I wish he would have endorsed Dodd.

    It would have made a huge difference.

    I am not sure this is smart for Clark at all.


    I think it's a smart move for Clark (none / 0) (#20)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:43:26 PM EST
    Clinton will be the nominee (sorry) and he's not going to support a Republican.  I'm not cynical about Clark's motivations, but assume he wants to move the process forward as quickly as possible and deservedly wants to be a player.

    I think he could have held off (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:48:14 PM EST
    Why would that have been smarter for him? (none / 0) (#22)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:51:27 PM EST
    IT would have allowed him (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 02:09:20 PM EST
    to shape the Iraq debate more effectively and made him a more prominent player.

    Now he is a Hillary spokeperson.


    Question (none / 0) (#26)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 02:17:51 PM EST
    But maybe he is already in lock-step with Hillary and doesn't see any reason to move the debate away from their position?

    I do mean that as a question 'cause I'm certainly not as well informed on Clark as you.


    Re: Hillary spokepeson (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 06:52:59 PM EST
    Maybe he has worked a deal with her that will temper or constrain her imperialist tendencies somewhat, and enable him to define what he he is being a spokesperson for? I don't imagine she got his endorsement for nothing, do you?

    Secretary of State shouldn't really military (none / 0) (#36)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 07:04:38 PM EST
    Not at all, but I assume he will have an important position in her administration.  But I'm not sure that her postion on the future of Iraq was ever any differnt from what his position will be.  Frankly, it doesn't sound like either one of them has it all worked out yet.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 07:40:49 PM EST
    But would he take a postion in her administration without her agreeing to his views, and would she offer it without agreeing to his views?

    Other way around maybe (none / 0) (#40)
    by robrecht on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 07:55:28 PM EST
    Actually, I think she'll just agree with his views.

    Do you say that because Hillary (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 01:38:14 AM EST
    Clinton is female?  Bush/Cheney situation is pretty unusual.  

    Of course not. (none / 0) (#45)
    by robrecht on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 06:29:24 AM EST
    Better question from me would have (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 12:25:59 PM EST
    been, so, why do you say that?

    Nothing controversial (none / 0) (#49)
    by robrecht on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 04:24:46 PM EST
    I just think Hillary probably regards his advice on military matters to be some of the best around.  I know Bill Clinton regarded him very highly, and why not?

    Suppose he uses the exposure (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 02:02:18 PM EST
    to help Hillary campaign for a legislative end to the war?

    Then (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 02:08:35 PM EST
    I mkight switch to Hillary.

    From his answer to my question this morning, it seems clear that is not the plan.


    Not really (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 07:49:24 PM EST
    He has been sily in believing Bush could be convinced do things differently.

    Clark's Endorsement Helps Clinton (none / 0) (#16)
    by cmpnwtr on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:10:14 PM EST
    Clark has long been close to the Clintons. Bill Clinton, you may recall, during the 2004 campaign said that that there are two stars in the Dem. party, Hillary and Gen. Clark. I would not be surprised if Clark were the VP on the ticket. It would strengthen it and flesh out the national security image of the party. At minimum he will be the national security advisor or Def. Secretary in a Clinton administration.

    Gen. Clark brings a significant network of supporters to Hillary's cause, who are extremely loyal. I say this as someone who is not a Hillary supporter but have to acknowledge this will help her in many ways. Gen. Clark has learned a lot and honed some political/media skills on the national stage. He would be a good campaigner and an effective military spokesperson on Iraq and Iran. He has a network of veterans he has been working with who would also be very helpful. He would draw strength in the South. It will help mightily. I also think at a personal level, whether you agree with his actions in Kosovo or  his Republican past, that Gen. Clark shows the marks of being a good, decent, honorable man, who is honestly concerned about this country.

    Doesn't matter to me (none / 0) (#17)
    by DA in LA on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 01:34:13 PM EST
    I'm quite liberal and I will not vote for Clinton no matter who she is up against.  After 8 years of a president who only does what corporations want, I'll take a pass.

    If she is the candidate I'll vote third party for the first time in my life.

    Clark was rumored to be a Clinton stalking horse (none / 0) (#28)
    by Geekesque on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 03:15:05 PM EST
    in 2004.

    I don't think any less of him for this.  I just wish Hillary had listened to him in 2002 instead of Mark Penn.

    This (none / 0) (#32)
    by Maryb2004 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 04:52:02 PM EST
    isn't even near to being a surprise.  Only the timing maybe.

    The only thing about Hillary's campaign that interests me is how much of a drag she would be on downticket races in my state.  I don't see Clark's support helping quell the hatred for her much less gaining her any support. So from a horserace perspective, in my state I see this as a non-event.

    From the pov of moving her to leadership in the Senate NOW - his answer to you shows that he just gives her more cover to do nothing.  Maybe that explains the timing.

    I've always been baffled by Clark's support in the blogosphere. I clearly don't see in him what other people do.

    From AP story today about (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 05:48:16 PM EST
    recent AP/Ipso poll:

    That sits just fine with Lee Daugherty, a salesman at The Gun Shop in Savannah, Ga., who considers himself a conservative-leaning independent and who keeps a crossed-through picture of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton in the store.

    "I think we're going to be involved for several more years, there's no doubt in my mind," said Daugherty, 58. "If we're going to see this through, we've got to finish it. We've got to play to win."

    Daugherty said he agrees "100 percent" with Bush's assertion that a free Iraq will help protect the U.S. from terrorism at home. Bush said Thursday a free Iraq would also counter Iran and be an "anchor of stability" in the Middle East

     [Italics added.]

    Well (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 07:48:29 PM EST
    I would rather not say whether  I am surprised.

    Do I agree with the endorsement? Of course not.

    Clark, Gore (none / 0) (#46)
    by diogenes on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 10:32:31 AM EST
    On this site just recently it was questioned whether endorsements of Obama by Oprah or Gore would mean anything at all.  Now people are panting about Clark, of all people, endorsing Hillary.  Spin City.

    Think about what you just wrote (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 12:19:04 PM EST
    General and political figure endorses. Talk show host endorses.

    Just think for a moment.