Would Wesley Clark running for Vice President help Obama deal with Sen. “McNasty”?

If Obama decides it would be helpful to have someone running with him who could play bad cop to his good cop in dealing with the septegenarian juvenile delinquent McCain I think Clark would be right for the role.

new: Idea gains traction with new website, A.P. story, Daily Kos and other blogs.

See update at end on column.

General Wesley Clark supposedly ruined his chances for the Veep selection with his remarks about McCain’s fighter jock experience and POW years not qualifying him to be president. Apparently a tendency to bluntly tell the unvarnished truth was deemed a trait not suitable to make the “short list”. But now McCain is playing dirty, so maybe the ever polite Obama could use the sometimes hard-edged Clark on his flank.

UPDATE: With the McCain campaign now being run by members of Bush’s dirtier than dirt re-election team, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a shift to GOP gutter politics. Here’s what today’s New York Times had to say:

The moves are the McCain campaign’s most full-throttled effort to define Mr. Obama negatively, on its own terms, by creating a narrative intended to turn the public off to an opponent.


Central to the latest McCain drive is an attempt to use against Mr. Obama the huge crowds and excitement he has drawn, including on his foreign trip last week, by promoting a view of him as more interested in attention and adulation than in solving the problems facing American families.


The intensity of the recent drive — which has included some assertions from the McCain campaign that have been widely dismissed as misleading — has surprised even some allies of Mr. McCain, who has frequently spoken about the need for civility in politics. Read article.

Before Al Gore and Dick Cheney demonstrated that a vice president can be more than a president in waiting, there were two criteria for selecting a running mate. The vice presidential candidate had to be seen has to be readily able to assume the presidency and ideally would be likely to help win one or more swing states.

This election we see the V.P. candidate as possibly making up for perceived deficits in the presidential candidates resume.

Voting irregularities and the fear factor of 9-11 aside, two things are generally agreed on as important factors in George W. Bush’s 2004 victory over John Kerry. One was the Christian evangelical vote and the other was Karl Rove and the advertising coming from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The later was so effective that Swift Boating became a readily understood term.

The man who promised a dignified and truthful campaign is now running a campaign that belongs in the sewage running in gutter of a third world road. The New York Times doesn’t exactly say this in the title of their main editorial today but with “The Low Road Express” (LINK) comes close enough.

I won’t list the recent examples of how McCain has tried to portray Obama as unpatriotic, even a traitor. The Times editorial describes some of them but more come out every day.

John Edwards was ill suited to take on the role of attack dog in 2004 fighting back against the Swift Boating while John Kerry remained above the fray.

Maybe West Point valedictorian, Rhodes Scholar and wounded combat veteran General Wesley Clark would be the perfect person to return fire for Obama.

UPDATE: (On the other hand, Hillary Clinton proved herself to be adept as she took occasional side trips on the low role towards the end of the primary campaign. See previous column. )

Watch Obama’s response ad, “The Low Road”. Will ads like this and Obama’s sound bites be enough to counter McCain’s crap assault?

UPDATE AUG. 2

Gaining traction –

This idea is getting some attention, including an Associated Press story about a new website, ObamaClark.com which was posted on Huffington Post:

Web site pulls for Clark as Obama running mate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark is getting an online push for presidential running mate.

Excerpt:

A new Web site, http://www.obamaclark.com, offers readers a chance to sign a petition supporting Clark’s placement on the ticket with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Clark, a Vietnam veteran and former supreme commander of NATO under President Clinton, had been serving as a national security surrogate for Obama until he belittled McCain’s qualifications to be president during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” last month.

McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot, was shot down over Hanoi and held prisoner during the Vietnam War.

“I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.
LINK

and on the blogs, notably the high readership Daily Kos (here) and here for example

Read Clark’s impressive resume.

Comments

  1. Hal Brown

    Gaining traction –

    This idea is getting some attention, including an Associated Press story about a new website, ObamaClark.com which was posted on Huffington Post:

    Web site pulls for Clark as Obama running mate

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark is getting an online push for presidential running mate.

    Excerpt:

    A new Web site, http://www.obamaclark.com, offers readers a chance to sign a petition supporting Clark’s placement on the ticket with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    Clark, a Vietnam veteran and former supreme commander of NATO under President Clinton, had been serving as a national security surrogate for Obama until he belittled McCain’s qualifications to be president during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” last month.

    McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot, was shot down over Hanoi and held prisoner during the Vietnam War.

    “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.
    LINK

    and on the blogs, notably the high readership Daily Kos (here) and here for example

  2. woody188

    I don’t see Clark as viable.

    1. At least this time around he’s been a Democrat for more than three months. Four years though still makes him more an outsider from their party than many of the long time supporters also being considered.

    2. He was labeled flip-flopper before. Remember how he said he would have voted for war in Iraq, but then back tracked and said he really meant he was against it.

    3. There is that video tape of Clark lavishing praise on the “leadership” of President Bush in May 2001.

    4. He supports a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

    Just some food for thought. It seemed you were concentrating more on his appeal to the center and right, and his ability to counter the opposing parties attack ads. But he has to win his parties approval first. That seems highly unlikely.

  3. Hal Brown

    BHO is a unique case. I don’t watch Fox – or read it unless it is referenced as it was in this case.

  4. sherry

    Hal, I admit it. I am lazy. I do BHO and I do JSM, I used to do HRC.
    Sorry if that implies anti anything. Actually the anti part is correct. I am pretty anti American politicians, but I never discriminate. I detest them all equally.
    That said, there is a history. JFK, JFK, JR, LBJ.
    Barack Obama has a different name, easy to misspell. BO sounds like somebody’s dog. (My brothers dog is named Bo.)
    And Hal. Where are your standards? Why are you watching Faux News anyway? 🙂
    Gotcha!
    Sherry

  5. Hal Brown

    Using BHO: something to consider by no means suggesting this applies to you! I googled BHO Obama and most of the websites which used these initials were anti-Obama and some rather vicious. Consider this about how Fox News uses it.

    Just as the Britney-Paris ad subliminally sends a racist message to those so inclined to bigotry, so does repeated use of initials that remind people of Obama’s middle name. It is shorthand for saying Barack Hussein Obama.

    While Hillary Clinton previously used her middle name and HRC had no negative connotations, Obama never used his middle name or initial.

    This is from The New York Times:

    Aides to both senators say hard feelings between the two camps are dissipating by the week — many people from both sides, in fact, were friends before and remain close — but some habits remain. In the primary, aides to Mrs. Clinton referred to their rival as B.H.O. — initials of Barack Hussein Obama, including his middle name, which has been a politically sensitive issue — while Mr. Obama’s team simply referred to him as B.O. The B.H.O. shorthand is frowned upon inside Mr. Obama’s campaign headquarters, a warning for any Clinton staff members coming aboard. LINK

  6. Sandra Price

    Hal, I happen to agree with you that Clark would bring in the missing link to fill in what Obama needs. Clark is an American hero along with being a pretty good politician. We need more respect and support for our service men especially when they sacrified their lives and limbs for a damn lie! I think Obama needs a pit bull in his corner.

  7. sherry

    Hal, sure BHO is playing the race card. He is controlling the message. Rather than having it as a dangerous undercurrent, he puts it out there.
    Not a BHO fan as you well know, but in doing this, he has taken the issue pretty much off the table.
    Therefore he doesn’t need anyone to perfect his message, or a VP to be his pit bull. BHO seems to do that pretty well on his own.

  8. Hal Brown

    Editorialize all you like. But I want to keep the comments section a discussion or debate on the subject of each column, and not a conversation diverging from the topic onto peripheral areas.

  9. griff

    Just playing their roles.

    I’ve stated before that I don’t really waste time on McCain because he is too easy and everyone else does such a fine job of it that I really have nothing to contribute. He also doesn’t have the fanatical blind following that Obama does, outside of the neocon crowd.

    Frankly the suits and the shoes are nothing more than distraction. They’re all the Ruling Class, The Elites, and have nothing but contempt for the average joe as they beg for our support. Political stagecraft and I haven’t the desire to perpetuate it or discuss it.

    From everything I’ve seen and heard from Obama, the federal bureaucracy will grow even more than under Bush. So if that’s the change you speak of, then surely you’ll get it. Bush is merely passing the baton of the unitary executive on to Obama, and he will have the Congress and the Courts at his disposal.

    The continued insistence that Obama is somehow interested in adhering to the constitution is laughable and an insult to anyone with at least two simultaneously functioning brain cells. FISA anyone?

    So yes, there will be a major difference between our two illustrious candidates. Do you want a tired old white man or an energetic young black one raping and robbing you daily? Because when it comes to this government, rape and pillage is the one enduring constant, regardless of the tag on the White House door.

  10. Hal Brown

    Everyone posting please stay on the topic of the column.

    More on that. How does Obama deal with the dirty campaign tactics of McCain? The latest is claiming that Obama is playing the race card.

    Obama said McCain would try to scare people by pointing out that the Democratic candidate “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

    The Obama camp was quick to say that they weren’t suggesting McCain was injecting race into the contest.

    However, as several writers have pointed out, there is an underlying racist message in the Britney Spears Paris Hilton ad. Here’s what Seth Greenland has to say:

    Let’s put the virile black guy, the good looking slick talker who can drain three point shots in front of a crowd of soldiers in Kuwait, next to a couple of blondes known for flashing their honey pots in public. Then let the masses draw their own subconscious conclusion. Can you say Mandingo? Karl Rove can! Read article

    …and here’s what Bill Press had to say:

    Of all the famous celebrities they could have compared Obama to, why not Tom Cruise? Or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Donald Trump, or Oprah Winfrey? Why Britney Spears and Paris Hilton? Why two white blond bimbos?

    Only one reason. It’s a somewhat tamer version of the white bimbo ad used so successfully against Harold Ford in Tennessee. In juxtaposing Barack Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, the McCain campaign is simply trying to plant the old racist seed of black man hitting on young white woman. Not directly, but subliminally and disgracefully. Read article

    The Obama side now essentially defending McCain in their denials that Obama played the race card in the above statement. In fact in this case Obama wasn’t correct because the truth as that this ad does send an unconscious message to those predisposed to bigotry.

    I rather doubt that those who created the ad were unaware of what they were doing even if McCain had no idea of the subliminal message when he supposedly viewed and approved it.

    Karl Rove used to be in advertising and this is classic Karl Rove.

    I’d like to see Obama respond by saying “you’re damn right I’m going to draw the race card out of the Republican deck if it’s there and I am going to call them on it.” But then Obama won’t say “damn”. But Gen. Clark would.

  11. sherry

    Poll, BHO is hardly without his dirty laundry. My point is one is just as dirty as the other. Who cares which wife dresses from which designer or what the budget is for Pete sakes.
    I want to know who actually has a PLAN for this country and quite honestly, neither seems to have one. It’s all so much BS.
    Poll, you are lucky. At least you believe in one of these dogs.

  12. pollchecker

    yes, I knew that would be the first comment, someone made (grin).

    My point was…don’t sit there and single out Obama as someone who doesn’t know how to live on a budget.

    A — He’s not the only candidate who has expensive stuff
    B — He was raised by a single mom so my guess is that he understands what it is like to live on a limited income better than McCain
    C — Michelle Obama’s clothing budget is about 1/4th of Cindy McCain’s stuff

    That’s just for starters. I’m just really tired of singling out the Obama’s lifestyle and giving McSame a pass on the same thing. If nothing else, at the very least, Senator Obama at least pays his tax bills. We already have proven that McSame doesn’t and didn’t.

    So if I was going to pick one of the two candidates to represent the Average Joe’s side of the argument, I believe a better case could be made for Obama than could be made for McSame.

    I’m just really sick and tired of the duplicitous hypocritical dual set of standards…one for the Genuises of Propaganda (GOP) and one for everyone else. That is something that must stop.

    We can not have one set of rules for the rich and those in power and another set of rules for everyone else. I believe this is the “different type of government” that Hal was quoting in case for Clarke as VP.

  13. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Aren’t there any women candidates with strong Defense credentials short of Hillary Pants Suit?

  14. sherry

    Poll, I do hope you are not suggesting BHO gets his shoes and suits at WalMart.
    From the looks of him, his clothes don’t come cheap.
    how is it you can diss JSM regarding the alleged price of his shoes. Do you know how much BHO’s cost?

    Go to page two for more comments.

  15. pollchecker

    I can tell you are a Republican, Grif, because you always find a way to blame Dems and exclude the GOP. Yes I know you think both of them are just as bad. So in all fairness, when you say you would like to see someone pay their bills on $6/hour, consider this….

    A Week In John McCain’s Shoes — His $520 Ferragamo Loafers, That Is

    In a day when John Edwards was criticized for spending a lot of money on his hair, isn’t $520 for shoes the same when that would pay some people’s rent or utility bill or health insurance for a month? I mean I know McSame’s wife is rich but if this were Obama well, the lie, cheat and steal Republicans would be using it against Senator Obama in their typical hypocritical fashion.

    I don’t believe that people are so much enamored with Obama as they just don’t want 4 more years of Bush through John McSame. And no matter what you or others around here say, there will be SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCESin how our country will work both today and in the future between the two men as POTUS.

    There will be a huge difference in judges, prosecutors, possibly the Supreme Court. There will be a huge difference in the bureaucracy and how it is handled. There will be a difference (notice I didn’t say Huge) in how they handle BIG ISSUES like Energy, taxes and health insurance. There will be a big difference in how they interpret the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    This BS that there is no difference is a load of garbage meant to blur the huge chasm of differences between these two candidates.

  16. Hal Brown

    You’re writing about empathy for others in this case those at or below the poverty level. Literally walking in someone’s shoes doesn’t provide empathy. Generally when politicians do this it is for show.

    It is up to voter to decide which candidate and which party has the most empathy for those at the bottom. Only John Edwards of the major candidates made an issue of the class divide between lower and middle socio-economic levels. The Republicans rarely address the other divide between middle and upper class. The Democrats do focus on this.

    I wish the Democrats would also address the problem of poverty in a meaningful way.

    Neither party has completed their platform. I doubt the input of a single person will make much difference to either side, but I believe the Democrats will pay attention to what people post on their platform website here.

    I think it is editorializing to suggest only the media circus and Obama’s “mesmerized disciples” care about the VP choice. Most of those who seriously follow politics aren’t in that later category.

  17. griff

    What Obama needs is to try and pay his bills on $6.00 an hour. Try that for a couple of months you megalomaniacal piece of pre-fabricated stool, and then get back to me with your “hope” and your “change”.

    Walk for a day in the shoes of John Q. Public and see how they fit. None too good, I would imagine. Spend a night in a tent city occupied by what used to be the middle class, and tell me how we need to lift other countries to our standards.

    Walk away from your comfortable, extravagant home and sleep in your car, like so many people have been forced to do, through no fault of their own but a trained obedience to a corrupt system and a greedy and gutless government.

    Explain to your kids how fun a “stay-cation” will be this summer, and how it’s necessary to be environmentally responsible while you jet around the world in messianic granduer, spewing empty rhetoric and blowing feel-good smoke up our collective ass.

    Explain to me why it’s necessary to slaughter innocents around the globe in the name of freedom while you take away those freedoms in your own country, and protect those that work against those freedoms.

    Explain to me where my country went, for I’ve looked and looked and it’s nowhere to be found. Not in your platform. Not in John McCain’s platform. Certainly not in the last seven years.

    So really, who cares who his choice for VP will be, other than the media circus and his wide-eyed, mesmerized disciples?

  18. woody188

    Yes, people should be realizing you don’t get to be one of the two-party system Presidential contenders without being owned by corporate, military, and special interests. Same has been true for at least 30 years, probably longer. It’s only more obvious now that we have the internet to expose the lies and propaganda.

  19. sherry

    Kent I agree. If it weren’t so serious, it was almost be funny that people actually think BHO is somehow a different kind of politician.

  20. griff

    Isn’t the comments where we get to editorialize?

    My point was not to petition for empathy but just a whisper of reality. One can’t ignore the economic hardships that have only just begun to manifest themselves in any real or dramatic way. The worst is yet to come, and I see no change in the future in terms of economics.

    Illegals will still pour across our borders and burden our schools and hospitals, with honest working Americans footing the enormous costs. We don’t need thirty million landscapers and maids here, especially since very few can afford them anymore.

    The Fed will still debase our currency and illegally manipulate the markets. Noone is allowed to even peek at their books, nor is the Congress given any oversight authority, in direct violation of the Constitution.

    So while at the surface things may appear to be different, the real problems we have are obfuscated under a littany of platitudes and feel good rhetoric.

    And to think that Obama will defy his masters in favor of the People is plain ludicrous. He is offering the illusion of inclusion, and nothing more.

    He wouldn’t have been allowed to get this far had be been a true representative of change. Ron Paul was a prime example of what happens to someone that represents real and fundamental change.

    Whether you liked him or not is immaterial. The changes he stood for and the power and energy of the people that supported him would not be tolerated by the Establishment.