Friday, January 30, 2004

General Malaise: Democrats, for the good of the country: Stop Wesley Clark!, by Peggy Noonan


Noonan claims that Clark's not just inexperienced. She claims he's a self-obsessed vacant loon, at least once you get to know him. This is an angle on Clark I haven't seen before. Check out some of her examples:

"On the night of John Kerry's win in Iowa, Gen. Clark went on 'Larry King Live.' The other guest was Bob Dole, not exactly an ideologically rigid man. His presence seemed to signal the establishment giving a big hello and an insider's teasing to the relatively new candidate. Remember how it went? Mr. Dole, a little emollient, then a little mischievous, told Gen. Clark, first, that 'somebody [had] to lose' in Iowa and, next, that 'politically you just became a colonel instead of a general.'"

He he. But check out Clark's response:

"This little barb set off a pompous harrumph of a retort: 'Well, I don't think that's at all--Senator, with all due respect, he's [Kerry's] a lieutenant and I'm a general. You got to get your facts on this. He was a lieutenant in Vietnam. I've done all of the big leadership.'"

A president that can't take (or even understand) a joke? I guess there are worse things. Like this, for example:

"More telling is Gen. Clark on abortion. A pro-lifer wouldn't have the smallest of chances in the Democratic Party, but a certain Clintonian politesse is expected when the question is raised. 'Abortion is always a tragedy but denying a woman her reproductive rights under the Constitution would also be a tragedy'--that kind of thing. This is what Gen. Clark said when he met with the Manchester Union-Leader and was questioned by the newspaper's Joseph McQuaid:

Clark: I don't think you should get the law involved in abortion--
McQuaid: At all?
Clark: Nope.
McQuaid: Late-term abortion? No limits?
Clark: Nope.
McQuaid: Anything up to delivery?
Clark: Nope, nope.
McQuaid: Anything up to the head coming out of the womb?
Clark: I say that it's up to the woman and her doctor, her conscience. . . . You don't put the law in there.

Gen. Clark was then asked, 'What about when she's grown up and at the prom, can you kill her then?' He said, 'Absolutely. Chase her across the dance floor. This is a personal decision for the mother.' Oh--sorry--I made that last part up. He did not advocate killing children 18 years after they're born. Though one wonders why not. Maybe he does have nuance. His campaign tried to spin it into a plus. He forgot to speak 'artfully,' 'precisely.' But he was nothing if not precise. He forgot to speak sanely."

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