Retired General Wesley Clark is expected to announce tomorrow that he’s a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. I’ll have more to say about him later, but assuming he turns out to be a competent campaigner, I think he’ll be the Democrats’ best bet– and the Republicans’ worst nightmare– for the 2004 election.
By simple virtue of his background (West Point graduate, decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, leader of NATO’s Kosovo campaign), Clark goes a long way toward neutralizing the Republicans’ advantage on national security. Can you imagine how it would drive the Republicans crazy to run against a Democrat whom everyone calls “General Clark”? If they try to call him “Mr. Clark,” it will just make them sound mean and petty.
The Washington Post reports that Republicans are starting to get nervous about the political impact of the job losses suffered during the Bush administration:
Some Republican analysts, in fact, say they would welcome a debate that focuses more on Iraq — even with ongoing U.S. deaths and other problems — rather than jobs.
“I’d love to have Democrats throw us into the briar patch of Iraq and terrorism,” said GOP pollster Glen Bolger.
With General Clark facing Bush in 2004, that’s a lot less likely to be a problem.