What would you say to a grass-roots movement for Wes Clark as VP? Well, it's underway
I was going to write a whole long piece about the situation with regard to the Democratic VP nomination. In fact, I wrote a whole long piece, but I lost it to that devil incarnate Steve Jobs's operating system from hell OS X. (Dammit, I saved the friggin' thing, so why wasn't it there when I rebooted in order to regain a modicum of computer functionality?)
I don't feel like writing that piece again, so let me cut to the chase. When you hear the latest sludge supposedly perched on the Obama VP short list, do you feel like retching? In the end, of course, we Bolshies over here on the senator's left don't have a damned thing to say about it. But a couple of those Bolshies, Matt Stoller and Aaron Ament, have decided to launch a crusade for retired Gen. Wesley Clark.
Matt will tell you all about it over at OpenLeft, and direct you to the website (www.obamaclark) that he and Aaron have put up. But here in a nutshell is the idea:
The basic idea behind Clark for VP is that we want to make a little noise about the position of Vice President and ask that Obama consider a real progressive in that slot who can help fix some of the most damaging aspects of the Bush Presidency.
The political argument for Clark is simple. He is a great surrogate for Democrats, with experience in 2004 and 2006 on the campaign trail, and a genuine national base of supporters. In terms of governance, which is what Obama says is the most important criteria for his VP pick, Clark can help Obama deal with the mess that the Bush administration left behind. As commander of NATO in the late 1990s, Clark won a war, so he is more likely than any progressive out there to be able to wrangle solutions from a military establishment that has been decimated by Bush's cronyism and incompetence. That is really important moving forward, since rebuilding our national security posture is a critical challenge over the next eight years
Clark also emphasizes Obama's strengths. He is popular among grassroots progressives, he was against the war in Iraq from the get-go, and he is an outsider to politics. He also demonstrated terrific political judgment in being willing to work against Lieberman in 2006, unlike, say, Tim Kaine, who endorsed Lieberman for President in 2004. This kind of savvy political judgment can help Obama avoid landmines down the road, and the Bush administration has left very little but landmines for the next President.
General Clark was one of the two people I originally thought about as a plausible VP nominee (the other being Virginia freshman Sen. Jim Webb), and he sure sounds better to me than even the best -- or least worst -- of the names we've heard of as actual possible Obama VP picks. I don't think this is going to change what happens. At the same time, I say, what the heck?