Assuming Drudge has posted the juiciest stuff from that little gathering on May 11, 2001, this won't mean much. And that's not just my opinion:
Uh, grow up. I know I'd use that in all my speeches if I was Clark. I'd wave it like a red flag.
"Yes, I praised the President in 2001. But I am horrified in the job he's done in the last two years." Steve Gilliard
I don't always agree with Steve, who is a strong Dean backer, but I think he nails this one. Clark was talking to a group of Republicans about America's role in the world. I expect he'll do so again. And many will listen. This was little more than basic boiler plate niceties about leaders and past leaders. In the South, that's called graciousness. A southern progessive doesn't get very far without it. Clinton was almost always polite and complimentary before making the case as to why he was articulating another view. Besides, I have no doubt that Clark, and most other military men at that time, did respect Reagan. Clark lived through seeing the institution he dedicated his life to, and in which he took four bullets serving, go from being held in low esteem by many Americans to being one of the most respected again. Given the primary focus of his then career, I'm sure those issues probably weighed more heavily at the time than an economic policy that lead to deficits few Americans even understood until Ross Perot broke out his charts.
The Drudge Sludge also gave Clark an opportunity to kick-off the show. (after the obligatory commercial, of course.)
UPDATE Not surprisingly, a review of the entire speech makes clear that Drudge tried to sensationalize the speech. For example, this excerpt:
The brilliant work during the 1980s in Africa--well, it's started to fade. Nelson Mandela was a great leader; he broke the back of apartheid. But now, we need help. We've got to get those AIDS drugs in there. We've got to provide opportunities for trade and investment. We've got to help end corruption. We've go to have a regional organization in the [inaudible] that can take care of the disputes and settle the boundary issues. We've got to break the back of greed and corruption, and [inaudible] illicit wealth from the diamond mines and the [inaudible] feeding and killing and the mayhem in Africa. And I think we've got to help Africans to help each other to do this.
Read it for yourself.