Alan Dowd writing in National Review Online takes a look at General Wesley Clark, who may soon announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democrats, of course, aren’t going to nominate a General for president in any of our lifetimes (when was the last time they did, 1880 with Winfield Scott Hancock in 1880?). But Dowd notes that Clark might be after the number two spot on the ticket. And I heard William Kristol suggest tonight that we might see a Dean-Clark ticket.
All year, there has been speculation that the number two spot will go to a mature southerner with strong defense credentials and a hint of statesmanship. (In a sense, Dick Cheney, though not really a southerner, is the prototype for this sort of VP; Lloyd Bentsen was an earlier, failed model). Senator Graham of Florida originally was going to fill that spot, but he apparently convinced himself he could be nominated for the top spot, and promptly self-destructed. Now Al Sharpton seems more mature and statesmanlike. In this context, Clark can be seen as filling a void. Still, I think that the Dems would be making a mistake if they put an unknown political quantity with no real base on the ticket. The smart play, in my opinion, would be Senator Edwards.
HINDROCKET demurs: Edwards? You gotta be kidding. If the current primary season has shown anything, it is that Edwards is a non-starter. The Democratic nominee will be a leftie, desperately reaching for a national security anchor before he faces the American public. In that context, Clark is a natural and, I think, a serious VP candidate. I agree about Bentsen as a model–that’s a good analogy. But the more people learn about Clark, the less he will look like Bentsen (or Cheney) and the more he will look like George McGovern, who was a legitimate WWII hero and should have quit while he was ahead.
DEACON responds: Edwards is a non-starter for the top slot (more because of his moderate stance on foreign policy than any serious personal deficiency) but seems like a solid VP candidate to me. If Dean or Kerry is the nominee, Edwards (like Clark) adds both georgraphic balance and what might pass for ideological balance. Unlike Clark, he won’t offend the base because he isn’t from the military and he has performed solid service for liberals in the Senate. In addition, unlike Clark, he can raise big bucks through his trial lawyer connection. And, unlike Clark, he has won an election, in a Republican state no less.
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