Saturday, July 12, 2003

Calling Candidate Clark

Franklin Foer, a staff writer at the New Republic, has an opinion piece regarding the positives of a Clark candidacy in today's Washington Post. Some excerpts:

But Clark's virtues go beyond foreign policy concerns and his jacket full of medals. When he articulates mainstream Democratic issues, as he does on abortion, affirmative action and taxation, he manages to sound like a centrist maverick. In part, he benefits from a southern accent and a cool demeanor. But he also approaches politics as an outsider. This isn't to say that he is a policy ignoramus. On the contrary, he talks about domestic issues with a surprising proficiency. (He didn't finish first in his West Point class for nothing.) Clark's appeal is that he intelligently veers from traditional Democratic rhetoric to make the party's case. Take the gun issue. Instead of hemming and hawing about the Second Amendment, he says, "I have got 20-some-odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons, they should join the United States Army -- we have them." In a flash, he could reverse the damage of 30 years of Republican culture warmongering.

Or consider taxes, on which he uses a straightforward formulation, "The American people on the one hand don't like taxes. None of us do. But, on the other hand, we expect the government to do certain things for us." When these calm explanations come out of his mouth, they sound derived from common-sense consideration, not fidelity to a party line....

Some Democratic consultants have told reporters that it's too late to draft Clark. Seven months out from the Iowa caucus, this warning doesn't make sense. At this date on the calendar 12 years ago, Clinton had barely registered in the polls. Besides, the date shouldn't be an excuse for dismissing Clark but rather a reason for the establishment to coalesce forcefully behind him.

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