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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 12:53 AM
Original message
Wes Clark Got 2 Steps Ahead of the Netroots
General Clark went well beyond the mainstream Democratic Party in preemptively positioning himself, and those who stand with him, to confront a growing threat to peace, and also to our Party. For those who picked up on Clarks stance early the lag between him sounding an alarm and more people hearing it has been hard to accept, but as hard as its been for the netroots to take that danger in, compared to the institutional Democratic Party they have been relatively quick to respond.

The most obvious example now concerns Iran and the urgent need to counter the neocon strategic agenda for war and the propaganda campaign that boosts it. Of course General Clark has been talking about the need to head off the potentially catastrophic pending conflict between the U.S. and Iran for almost four years now, and after repeated increasingly urgent interview warnings and statements, he and VoteVets.org launched their public StopIranWar.com petition and letter writing campaign back in February of this year. Most of it went right over the heads of many in the netroots at the time. Anti-war activists remained pre-occupied with getting the U.S. out of Iraq, and many were skeptical that the Bush Administration could even think of initiating new military aggression while physically and mentally bogged down in Iraq.

Some who did pay attention to what StopIranWar.com attempted were critical that the statements issued by it were not more pointed in their attacks on Bush and stronger in their defense of Iran's position. Too few saw what Clark already knew, that the public simply would not buy a white washing of Iran's role in the escalation of tensions between our nations, but some straight talk about how U.S. policies toward Iran were contributing to increasing dangers would be a welcome reality based relief for many voters. As StopIranWar.com got rolling most anti-war activists continued to rail against Congressional Democrats for not doing more to get our troops out of Iraq quicker, while barely noticing when the House Democratic Causes quietly quashed an effort to force President Bush to seek Congressional approval before launching any attacks on Iran, and Senate Democrats derailed an effort by Senator Webb to do the same.

It's about six months later now and many in the netroots are finally getting alarmed about the real possibility of another war erupting while George Bush is still in office. Better late than never? Certainly, but is it now too late for the netroots to meaningfully contribute to heading off the next war? Hopefully not, but I honestly do not know for sure.

On a far less urgent front I now notice increasing discussion on Democratic oriented netroots web sites about whether or not our current leading candidates for President have enough experience under their belts, especially concerning national security, to convince voters to vote for them over their opponents. In some cases that discussion centers on primary voters, in others on the General Election in 2008. Activists are finally starting to notice that, slim as her credentials may be, Hillary Clinton has been making real hay out of claiming to be the most seasoned candidate of those currently ranked in the top tier of Democratic candidates.

To this day not enough Democrats seem to be asking themselves why, with the National Republican Party increasingly discredited and seemingly in complete collapse, Rudy Giuliani - he who wears 9/11 as a cape, continues to poll competitively well against Democratic potential candidates in head to head match ups. Still, increasing numbers of netroots activists are starting to wake up to how much of a gift Jon Soltz and VoteVets.org have been to the Democratic Party, advancing as they do a truly progressive agenda on military natters. Of course General Clark had a leading role in VoteVet.org from its inception.

It remains my opinion that a Wes Clark entry into the Presidential race, even at this relatively late date, would be a godsend to the Democratic Party but mostly to our nation. I honestly feel that his message is potentially powerful enough, and his intellectual and moral stature is strong enough, to propel the General into the thick of the nomination race within two months of his entry. But failing that I wonder if there is any chance that the General would consider making a new effort to reinvigorate the StopIranWar.com campaign. It seems to me that the netroots are finally waking up to the reality of that pending war, and they might now be ready to take that ball and run with it, given strong leadership and the right tools. I think we, and I say we now because I am a part of the netroots, have just about caught up to where General Clark was back in February.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 01:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. People should watch his talk at the recent YearlyKos convention to
get an idea of how he is regarded by the netroots, as well as hearing what he has to say, and why he gets that kind of enthusiasm --> http://www.yearlykosconvention.org/node/726
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. It was 8 AM in the morning when Clark spoke at Kos
but the room was jammed with people who had gotten there on time to see him speak. The response he got from that audiance when he appeared on stage was moving to be part of for those who respect this man and what he has done, particularly knowing that four years ago - when so many then really knew so little about him, Wes Clark continually had to deal with Democrats questioning his true committment to the Party and the ideals it stands for.

Clark got a thunderous standing ovation that would not quit. It really seemed to take him by surprise. I was grateful to be there for that moment. And yes, the speech Clark gave there is well worth watching now.
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Cameron27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm concerned about it Tom.
Edited on Tue Sep-04-07 02:34 AM by seasonedblue
Clark's got his finger on the pulse of the entire mid-east, and draws his strategy from both his own military experience, and his vast understanding of the history of the region. But his warnings are always ignored until it's too late.

One more important thing about Wes Clark is his understanding of diplomacy. That's more of a balancing act, than an art IMO, and no one in this race comes close to his skill, or successes. The US foreign policy is in deep trouble, and we're going to need someone of his caliber to set things right. And of course, he's a true progressive on domestic issues too. There's no one like him.

I'm still waiting for an announcement.
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MissMarple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 02:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. President or Secretary of State....
Personally, I prefer the latter....but having a choice... :) Either is quite good. As one might assume, I so greatly admire General Clark.
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Cameron27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 02:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. lol, I want him to be the next president,
but if not, then I'd love to see him as Secretary of State.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 02:52 AM
Response to Original message
4. He is still my #1 choice for V.P.
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MethuenProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Kerry/Clark would've been a winner
:dem:
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absyntheminded Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Agreed!
First pick - Gore/Clark 08! If not VP, Sec of State for sure. The ultimate diplomat with the appropriate mind set, and leadership experience necessary for the position. :patriot:
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MethuenProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 06:56 AM
Response to Original message
6. K&R to the Greatest Page!
Wes Clark enters the race, and only Hillary and Obama can stay in with him.
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Auntie Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
10. That last paragraph shoild be repeater over and over.
Wes' message is so important that I think/hope it would be heard by all and it's NIT too late. As the public get more informed of the horror bush* is planning...the money will pour in to support his agenda. The man CAN WIN!
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Since I wrote it you know I agree, lol
But whether or not Wes Clark runs for President we need his leadership now on Iran. But no leader can solve our problems for us. Clark has often said that a General is capable of losing a battle, but only the troops can win it.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
12. War talk is about to heat up. I assume most missed this in the New Yorker
It seems that the real push for war with Iran is now about to start in earnest:

August 31, 2007
Test Marketing
If there were a threat level on the possibility of war with Iran, it might have just gone up to orange. Barnett Rubin, the highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University, has written an account of a conversation with a friend who has connections to someone at a neoconservative institution in Washington. Rubin cant confirm his friends story; neither can I. But its worth a heads-up:

They have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they dont think theyll ever get majority support for thisthey want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."
True? I dont know. Plausible? Absolutely. It follows the pattern of the P.R. campaign that started around this time in 2002 and led to the Iraq war. The Presidents rhetoric on Iran has been nothing short of bellicose lately, warning of "the shadow of a nuclear holocaust." And the Iranian governments behaviordetaining British servicemen and arresting American passport holders, pushing ahead with uranium enrichment, and, by many reliable accounts, increasing its funding and training for anti-American militias in Iraqseems intentionally provocative. Perhaps President Ahmedinejad and the mullahs feel that they win either way: they humiliate the superpower if it doesnt take the bait, and they shore up their deeply unpopular regime at home if it does. Premptive war requires calculations (and, often, miscalculations) on two sides, not just one, as Saddam learned in 2003. When tensions are this high between two countries and powerful factions in both act as if hostilities are in their interest, war is likely to follow...

Postscript: Barnett Rubin just called me. His source spoke with a neocon think-tanker who corroborated the story of the propaganda campaign and had this to say about it: "I am a Republican. I am a conservative. But Im not a raging lunatic. This is lunatic."

I urge folks to read the whole piece:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2007...
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
13. I like Wes, but I don't think it's gonna happen.
I'm increasingly doubtful that Gore will get in, too. Unfortunately.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Wes Clark will be on Countdown with Keith Oberman tonight
It's always interesting to hear what he has to say. Here is a very incomplete list of some of the book signings he will be doing for his new book "A Time To Lead" also:

9/18/07 7:30 PM at Borders Books Crossroads Center Way. Baileys Crossroads, VA.
9/19/07 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Center. New York, NY.
9/20/07 6:00 PM at Barnes & Noble 12th Street NW. Washington DC.
10/2/07 7:00 PM at Third Place Books - Bothell Way NE. Lake Forest Park, WA.
10/11/07 7:00 PM at Borders Books North Michigan Avenue. Chicago, IL.


I agree that the odds don't favor either Clark or Gore now getting into the race but I am willing to wait to find out for sure. I would love the opportunity to support one of them for President.
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Clark2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
14. I know a Clark entry into the race would be a Godsend to me!
K & R
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-04-07 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
16. For my one Kick, Here is a remarkable 2/06 statement by Clark on Iran
Iraq: The Way ForwardA Conversation with General Wesley Clark

Council on Foreign Relations
Washington, DC
February 14, 2006

"QUESTIONER: Reuben Brigety from George Mason University. General, thank you for coming.

Senator McCain has said that the only thing worse than a military strike on Iran is a nuclear-armed Iran. I wonder if you agree with that statement, and if you could offer your thoughts on viable options to prevent Iran from being nuclear armed.

CLARK: Well, the official policy of the United States for a long time has been that Iran can't have a nuclear weapon. And if you just connect the dots and you say, well, they have an implacable determination to get an nuclear weapon, and you say but under no circumstances can they have one, then there's only one possible outcome -- (chuckles) -- and it's a very unpleasant outcome.

I think that, first of all, we've had a lot of mistakes in dealing with Iran. What the administration's grand strategy actually resulted in was that if you believed in late 2001 that there was a significant proliferation problem -- risk -- and that your three greatest risks for proliferation were Iraq, Iran and North Korea, then the administration put all of its effort into the least significant problem, which has then caused us to defer and be distracted from necessary attention to the two greater problems of North Korea and Iran.

When I testified in front of Congress in 2002 and wrote articles -- I kept talking about Iran being a greater long-term threat because they clearly were embarked on a program then. And in 2001-2002, we were saying five to eight years for their nuclear weapons to come to -- now we -- I don't know what the intelligence says. And they're probably -- if we're honest, there's probably a lot of disputes in the intelligence community, whether it's now another five to eight years or till 2010 or maybe it's only a year. We don't know. But we've lost critical time in dealing with Iran.

I would encourage the United States leadership right now, this week, before March, before it goes to the United Nations Security Council, immediately to talk to the Iranian government. Iran has been a -- it's a great nation. It's 60, 70 million people with a tremendous heritage, and we've got a wonderful Iranian-American community. And the policy that we've pursued toward Iran for the last five to 10 years, no matter what the historical antecedents were or our anger at 1979 and the hostages, still, it's a policy that hasn't served American interests.

We should be doing business -- we should have been a long time ago doing business with the Iranian business community. We should have worked with them. We worked with East Europe when it was under communist domination, and it was one of the key factors that helped East Europe throw off an outmoded set of ideas. We need to be working in the Middle East to help their business communities move past old ideas.

So right now what we need to be doing is talking to Iran -- right now, this week."

http://securingamerica.com/node/607
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