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The Question of Clark


As readers of this blog know, when it comes to the 2008 primary I’m a strong Gore supporter. But I can see cases for two of the major candidates who are currently being discussed (leaving potential runs by various lesser-known governors out of it for now.) Edwards is interesting and has some advantages, but for me the pro-war vote (not because I think he would have initiated the war as President, but because it make it much more difficult to take advantage of what should be an albatross for the Republican candidate) and his lack of executive experience are serious drawbacks. The other interesting one is Wes Clark. About his 2004 primary campaign, I think Ezra is right. I think a good argument could be made that Clark was the best candidate on paper. The Great Unanswered Question of the 2004 campaign is whether Clark’s abysmal performance as a candidate was exclusively the product of the fact that he was greener than the felt on a new pool table, or because he just lacks the skills. I think this question is, as of now, unanswerable. If he runs again, we’ll find out.

As of now, though, I would have to rank him behind Gore. I’m inclined to think Gore would be a better President on the merits, and he’s literally electable. Also, while I’m not sure that much can be inferred from Clark’s campaigning per se I do think that the choice to enter the race so late itself raises serious questions about his acumen as a candidate; it’s not clear what the hell he was doing. I’m open-minded, but as of now I’m skeptical about his candidacy.

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