If his first campaign stop is any indication, Wesley Clark seems to have been taking pointers in how to avoid taking positions that might subtract from the splash made by his entry into the race. In his stop at the Broward deli on Thursday, he also appears to have learned from George McGovern’s 1972 faux pas in Brooklyn to avoid the challenge of ordering lunch at a deli: “Clark’s first stop is in Broward deli.”
Commencing his campaign in the form of a listening tour may not be entirely coincidental. Republican strategist Jay Bryant suggests that Clark, whether he knows it or not, is a stalking horse for Hillary: “Wes Clark: The stalking horse.”
Clark did a pretty good job of avoiding a stand on hot button Democratic issues other than the one that unites them at this time, the proposition that George Bush is a liar: ”’Mr. President, tell us the truth,’ Clark boomed into a crackling microphone.” When pressed for his position on the death penalty, however, Clark pleaded for mercy: “Stop. Stop. I promised I wasn’t going to take a strong position.”
Clark provided a telling version of Cold War history in the context of commenting on the trade embargo of Cuba. I don’t think it’s overstating matters to say that his version of Cold War history leaves something to be desired. Here’s Clark on the fall of Communism in eastern Europe: “If you look at the way we operated in Eastern Europe, we were effective in taking down communism because there was no embargo. The Iron Curtain was something they built, not something we imposed.”
”The best way to remove those regimes was the way that we did it. We brought Western companies in, we worked with their governments. Bit by bit those people realized they didn’t have a system that worked and that they wanted a democracy like everyone else in Europe.” You see, those eastern Europeans liked their Communist rulers until, in time, their eyes were opened to the virtues of freedom and the rulers disappeared. Clark’s version of Cold War history is not exactly an advertisement for the virtues of a West Point education or the educational benefits of his NATO command.
Oh, yes. He also staked out his position on Miami’s Cuban population. “I respect the Cuban-American community,” Clark said.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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