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A Kos blogger dissects "Clark's so-called 'electability'"

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unfrigginreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 05:13 AM
Original message
A Kos blogger dissects "Clark's so-called 'electability'"
This person makes some good points.

---


by McDonald

Where does this belief of some Democrats come from, that Wesley Clark is the most electable candidate? Here are my thoughts on this "electability" issue.

http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2003/10/20/22207/050/1...

------------------------------

by McDonald

Really, I'm just trying to question the conventional wisdom, which is that there is no doubt that Clark is the only electable candidate, and Dean is completely unelectable.

Frankly, I think the opposite is true. I think most of us Dems have a really bad understanding of American politics. We think righteous anger scares America, when it really excites them.

http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2003/10/20/22207/050/1...



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CWebster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 05:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Pretty good sizing up,
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CMT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. new Zogby poll
released yesterday has Dean doing as well or slightly better against Bush as Clark. Dean trails Bush by 8-points and Clark trails by 9-points. Both have Bush under 50%.

I've noticed that now that the huge media attention has died down from Gen. Clark's announcement that Dean is gaining again. Two recent national polls (Zogby and ABC News/Wash Post) have Dean leading. A Stan Greenberg poll of NH gives Dean a 17-point lead. A new poll out of Arizona gives Dean an 8-point lead--last month shortly after Clark announced another poll in Arizona gave Clark the advantage. Dean leads by six-points in a recent MRA/Epic poll of Michigan. Greenberg has Gep and Dean in a statistical deadheat in Iowa.

But these things go in cycles. Dean will be up and then someone, maybe Kerry or Clark or Gep will begin to threaten--but overall I think Dean is in pretty good shape with 90 days to go until Iowa.
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gully Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. Great stuff, thanks it's about time someone examined this 'myth'
;)
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. There is one major flaw in the entire premise here...
Edited on Tue Oct-21-03 10:44 AM by wyldwolf
I haven't seen anyone say Clark is the only electable candidate.

Some have said he is the most electable. Some have said he is more electable than some of the others. But not that he is the ONLY electable candidate.

The piece makes some good points as to why Clark may have a difficult time - perhaps more so than people realize - but the piece is built around a false premise to begin with.

It isn't difficult to write something like this. Extract Clark's name and his situations, insert nominee ______________ and
situation ___________________ and you have a fine piece as to why nominee________________ isn't as electable as the next democrat.

I feel Clark is very electable because, if he is the nominee, the base of the Dem will back him and he'll win a great portion of moderate swing voters.
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dfong63 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. it was stated emphatically many times here on DU
I haven't seen anyone say Clark is the only electable candidate.

the Clarkies here on DU said it many many times ad nauseum before Clark even declared.
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. Where?
Edited on Tue Oct-21-03 03:19 PM by wyldwolf
I've been here two years... almost daily... and I don't recall anyone saying that. So... where?
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WillyBrandt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Where indeed?
I've heard Clarkies say he is the most electable, or that he has the most potential for realigning American politics, but don't remember Clarkies saying he's the only one who can win.
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-22-03 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. Where????
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
5. Can someone fill me in on the "Time Machine" thing?
:wtf:
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. There is no "time machine" thing...
Edited on Tue Oct-21-03 10:52 AM by wyldwolf
Clark, who has actually worked for or sat on the board of a company that developes propulsion systems, said he believed faster than light travel (or warp speed) would be possible one day.

It was misconstrued to mean "time travel."

There is a difference in the scientific community - which is why this story never got any play beyond the day it was released.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Thanks. n/t
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. here is the original article...
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,60629,00.html

Notice, no "time travel" reference.

And here is an analysis of it:

Clark's comments apparently drew laughter and applause at the gatheringand derision from the media. The original article had this lead: "Wesley Clark: Rhodes scholar, four-star general, NATO commander, time-travel fanatic?" (Wired later substituted the subtler phrase "futurist" for "time-travel fanatic.") The Drudge Report also picked up the time-travel angle with the header "Gen. Clark Explores Possibility of Time Travel." Two problems here: One, Clark wasn't commenting directly on time travel, althoug-as Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity points outtime would seem to slow down for an astronaut in a spaceship that was approaching the speed of light. As this analysis from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory describes the phenomenon: "Say you were 15 years old when you left Earth in a spacecraft traveling at about 99.5% of the speed of light (which is much faster than we can achieve now) and celebrated only five birthdays during your space voyage. When you get home at the age of 20, you would find that all your classmates were 65 years old, retired, and enjoying their grandchildren!"

The other problem here is mocking Clark for merely raising the possibility of FTL travel. To find out what an actual physicist thought of his comment, I E-mailed Marc Millis, founder of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project, now on hold because of a lack of funding. His thoughts: "I am quite surprised to see this subject brought up on the Presidential campaign trail! Debating the faster-than-light question can be quite useful to physics . . . . Yes, faster-than-light still appears to be impossible, although numerous contrasting articles appear in respectable scientific journals. By asking such `what-ifs,' deeper assessments of what we know and what we don't know are coming to light. And, how useful would it be if it turns out to be possible? Well, the implications are astronomical, literally."

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/nycu/tech/nextnews/archive...

Wesley Clark is/was the chairman of WaveCrest Laboratories, a company that works on alternative propulsion systems.

http://www.wavecrestlabs.com /

Here it the first system they've rolled out:

http://www.wavecrestlabs.com/technology/adaptive_motor....

Not a warp engine :) but cool anyway.

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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Dear god, some people are dumb
What a stupid criticism of Clark. Really, shocklingly, dumb.
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RogueTrooper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. One of these?
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I thought it was this, but have been corrected.
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RogueTrooper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I think that works too
but you will need to ask the General. He seems to be the man in the know.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
14. convential wisdom is that Dean is unelectable?
Edited on Tue Oct-21-03 12:12 PM by JohnKleeb
By god Ive always thought him to be electable, I think hes electable all right.
If Dean is too left for America, I think I might need to get my head checked. Just a crazy leftist here :D and always proud of it.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
15. Clark's chances
I'm sorry, but I just don't see the comparison between the potential staying power of Wesley Clark and Ross Perot as a serious one. Yes the "outsider track" has a certain appeal and both men can be slotted there. Yes there is an immediate surge of interest in someone who is "fresh" on the scene, and some of that fades with the novelty. The huge diffeence in my opinion is that Wesley Clark will grow on people rather than grate on them with increased direct exposure to him. The problem Clark faces now is that his Democratic opponents, understandably, and Republicans, even more understandably, are trying to define Clark unfavorably in the public mind before the public gets the chance to become familiar with him directly. Some of that is an unavoidable by product of the threat his canidacy represents to others. That is the first clue to the question of how electable Clark actually is. No one is attacking Kucinich or Edwards, and only fellow Democrats are seriously attacking Dean, Gephardt, Lieberman and Kerry. The Republicans are reserving their fire for the General; witness the hit piece by Gingrich in the Wall Street Journal.

As to knowing next to nothing about Clark, no one rises to the rank of 4 Star General without a whole lot of very serious scrutiny. On the personal weakness front all accounts seem to indicate that he has been happily married forever. A lifetime of service in the military shortens considerably the time window in which he could possibly been involved in controversial business dealings. Face it, 99% of the public knows next to nothing about anyone who hasn't run a high profile National campaign. Generally Governors have succeeded in running for President precisely because they have relatively slim National records to attack. I remember laughing years ago after Grey Davis was elected Governor of California for the first time. I lived in California at the time and I knew how intrinsically unpopular he was there even then. California had become a Democratic State, Davis ran an attack campaign to win the nomination, and the public didn't want 4 more years of Republican rule, so he became govorner. The National media was all over Davis for the next two years, touting him as the kind of New Democrat who might just become President in 2000.

Yes the Republicans will attempt to exploit anything they can to attack Clark, and the attack art form is so advanced nowadays that Mother Teresa would have her character and integrity questioned if she were alive and running. That is what the Republican National Party does best. Don't think for a moment that their fire isn't currently trained on Clark and of course he will take hits. Bush takes hits when Democrats train their fire on him. No one in politics escapes with a 100% approval rating. If a Democrat gets other than Clark gets the nomination, powerful attacks against him will materialize that very few will ever see coming. Clark has somewhat of an advantage, should he emerge with the nomination, of having already smoked out his enemies. It is standard military strategy to draw out enemy fire so that you can identify hostile positions.

Clark isn't a slam dunk to get elected if he gets the nomination and neither is any other Democrat. However he does have some significant potential advantages, it is not for nothing that an array of contenders were eyeing him as a potential Vice Presidential candidate prior to Clark announcing for the top job. Being a Southener is a plus, it simply is. Johnson, Carter and Clinton were the last Democratic Presidents, and Gore won (at least) the popular vote in 2000. That is not a total coincidence. Clinton actually won some Southern states in 1996 and 2000. One plus does not a winning candidate make, but it should not be discounted as irrelevent.

Clark's extensive military Service is a plus. Currently the military is the most trusted institution in America, and there are a great many veterens of all political stripes who will start out with a positive bias towards Clark. I am not worried about attacks on his military record after he has secured the nomination and has the resources and platform to defend it directly to the American people. Douglas MacArthur was relieved of duty also and no dismisses him as flakey. Clark has a record to be proud of, including his time spent as NATO Supreme Commander. He held together an Alliance, he won that war, and he was right for believing it should have been fought more forcefully. Tens of thousands suffered terribly from "ethnic cleansing" who might have otherwise be saved.

Clark is also personable and brilliant. The combination of those qualities would be potent indeed during face to face debates with Bush. Clark also projects a positive outlook for America even as he tears apart the Bush agenda. Don't get me wrong, all of our candidates have a positive outlook for America, but Clark PROJECTS it in a way that has been the near exclusive domain of the Republican Party since Reagan (Clinton did give them a run for the money on that score). Clark can talk about a New American Patriotism and not come off looking like Michael Dukakis in a tank.

As for stumbles in his campaign, yes they are a problem when they happen, but it is only little more than a month since he entered the fray. All campaigns need to shake down, his is doing so under the glare of media lights. The Kerry campaign had a staff melt down not that long ago, but now that is never mentioned. I do not accept that Clark does not come naturally to campaigning. I simply differ there. All the reports I monitor indicate that he is incredibly well received on the stump and that he connects very well with the Public. I was encouraged that he held his own as well as he did during the debates to date. No he did not dazzle, but there is a learning curve after all. Someone like Kerry or Lieberman is as good as he is going to get as a candidate already, Clark can be expected to grow further in the role. His life story provides powerful evidence of that. The question for me is can he sufficiently get up to speed by the Super Tuesday primaries? As good as he is as a candidate now, he will only get better. Should he win the nomination the best political talent the Democratic Party has available to it will be at his beck and call.

When Clark entered the race he drew support from every other candidate almost equally. He runs strong in every region, in every age group, with men and with women. He has strong credibility with Independents and not a few Republicans. I think an excellent case can be made that Clark is the most electable of the potential Democratic Party Presidential Candidates.

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unfrigginreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-22-03 03:53 AM
Response to Reply #15
23. What a pleasure it's been to read your response here and on Kos
I hope that the debate between yourself and the original poster continues over at Kos. You serve your candidate very well.
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jmw25 Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
16. "Electability" of Edwards
An online editorial by David Brooks of the Times discussed that, while "Edwards's campaign has not caught fire", his ideas on how to reverse the trend of the past two election are the most persuasive theories.

"He draws an explicit contrast with George Bush, arguing that the Bush administration rewards wealth and punishes work. This is not about economics, he says; it's about values. The Bush administration disrespects working Americans. It lowers taxes for people who sit around the pool and collect capital gains, while shifting the burden to people who wake up early, work hard and hope to get rich."

"When I interviewed people during the 2000 campaign I found many voters preferred Democratic policies to Republican ones. But they didn't trust Al Gore because they thought he looked down on them. They felt Bush could come to their barbershop and fit right in."

"John Edwards has the most persuasive theory. He argues that most voters do not place candidates on a neat left-right continuum. But they are really good at sensing who shares their values. They are really good at knowing who respects them and who doesn't. Edwards's theory is that the Democrats' besetting sin over the past few decades has been snobbery"

"Edwards draws an implicit contrast between himself and Howard Dean and John Kerry by pointing out that he worked for everything he has. He loaded trucks to pay for college. "It didn't hurt me at all," he says."

What does everyone think of this article? As an Edwards supporter, I'm very excited to see him getting individual NY Times coverage.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/21/opinion/21BROO.html


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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. If Edwards understands what ailes the Democratic Party then why isn't his
campaign in the lead?

Yes, most people don't like snobs. I never considered Gore a snob. I did consider Bush a brat who only knew 2 things -- how to inherit wealth and squander it.

What hurt Gore was Clinton's sex scandal and the Repuke media machine that kept hammering away on it to the point that people got tired of it. People have the "blame the victim" mentality instead of "blame the bully" mentality. Also, Bush, who was an ideologue in 2000, was able to hide with the help of the media his rightwing leanings, which most Americans rejected.

Despite Gore's personality problems, he won the popular vote, and I know people who voted for Bush in 2000 that will not vote for him again.

What will win the election for the Democrats is a candidate with an assertive campaign with a message of hope and strength, who will fight the media smear machine all the time, and inspire his base to rally to him. Edwards hasn't been able to do that, but Dean has.
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jmw25 Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. but.....
I agree (imitation of Gore). I think Dean has done a great job of rallying people behind him and against Bush. He has clearly had the strongest anti-Bush message of the campaign, and that is what many loyal Democrats want to hear. However, when the time comes to defeat Bush, people will want to hear more than rhetoric on why things are wrong. They'll want to know how things can be changed. I believe that Edwards has the strongest policy on national security, health care, and education. And once people start focusing on how to defeat Bush through policy change, Edwards' numbers will continue to rise (as they recently have been doing in the "important" primary states).
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-21-03 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. But Dean's campaign does not live by anti-Bush rhetoric alone
Dean has policies on many issues including the ones you cite that are reasonable and thought out. Dean has been hiring policy experts on national security, etc. to help him out, so Dean is not as naive as you may think.

This election will not be settled on policy issues. It will be settled on who is the best campaigner and right now Dean is the best campaigner and is the one who shows the best fighting spirit that will be needed against Bush and Rove. Edwards policies may be co-opted by others, but he is not an effective campaigner. That Iraq War vote cost him dearly in Dem base activist support.

Dean has a vision and a willingness to fight for it. The other Dems may have their own vision, but they are not as effective at fighting for it as Dean is his. Gephardt is calling in all the union IOU's he can and that is all that is keeping his campaign going, but Gephardt will be slaughtered by Rove.
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-22-03 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. I think Edwards is a hypocrite. He gets all of his support from big money
Edited on Wed Oct-22-03 12:30 AM by stickdog
legal firms and none from small donors.
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-22-03 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
24. Kos blogger? I'll raise you a Gene Lyons on Buzzflash
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-22-03 06:32 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. I'll take Gene Lyons...
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-22-03 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
26. I don't hold the view
he is the only electable one and I support him. But most of the public still isn't paying attention yet. I think the mistake people make is that party activists, insiders, etc. reflect the general public. I personally don't think they have been heard from yet.
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