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Wes Clark back on the campaign trail
Aug 30, 2005 12:00 am
August 29, 2005
Wesley Clark appears to be back on the campaign trail.
With the 2008 presidential elections already in full swing, Clark has made the rounds this last week reminding the American public – but mostly national Democratic party insiders – that he is a voice of experience when it comes to foreign policy in faraway lands torn apart by hundreds of years of bloodshed.
As the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Clark oversaw NATO and the United State's efforts to curtail ethnic cleansing in the former Balkan states.
Clark campaigned on this experience without much result in 2004 as a Democratic presidential candidates, gently taking to task a second Gulf War in the Middle East Americans were not yet ready to question.
Now, some two years later, Americans appear more than willing to question the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq if not the reasons for war itself. Clark took a timely opportunity to remind voters this week through an op-ed piece and a Sunday morning talk show appearance that he knows foreign policy, saying the Bush White House is not relying enough on diplomatic relations with Iraq's neighbors to bring peace to Iraq.
With the 2008 presidential campaign already bearing down on both parties with no heir apparent for Republicans to follow, Clark may be a key piece in the Democratic Party's puzzle to return to the White House.
Democrats have already seen that a Northern Aristocrat like John Kerry – despite his own war service in Vietnam – is not the kind of alternative the American people will trust with our men and women in uniform on the line thousands of miles away.
In fact, between Kerry's clearly unwelcome blue blood bleating about the war in 2004 and Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean's verbal screed against the sensibilities of most swing voters, Democrats will want to look as far away from the Northeast as possible when choosing a nominee in 2008.
And Clark, as a bona fide member of the Clintonista clan and a Little Rock resident, is positioning himself nicely for a role in a second Clinton White House.
Clark is the Democratic Party's best semblance of Colin Powell, only with actual political ambition. Whether as Sen. Hillary Clinton's running mate or as a highly touted secretary of state, Clark would be part of the team that would help Clinton make the case she can lead – much the same way Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney did for George W. Bush in 2000.
Clark also provides the now senator from New York a direct tie back to Dixie, a nuance she will need in her campaign to win.
A veteran of many armed conflicts, Clark is now showing he can be a wily old general on the political battlefield as well – something he did not show during his last turn on the national stage in 2004.