Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, October 09, 2003  

More cause for pause on Wesley Clark. I'm not as concerned about the departure of his campaign manager Donnie Fowler, as I am the arrival of Fowler's replacement, Eli Segal. With Segal, the Clark campaign has embedded itself more strongly than ever with the Clinton team.

In addition to Mr. Segal, other former aides to Mr. Clinton have emerged in recent weeks as prominent figures within the Clark campaign. They include Ron Klain, a policy adviser; Mark Fabiani, a communications adviser; and Mickey Kantor and Bruce Lindsey, who are also regarded as part of General Clark's inner circle of counselors.

As Dems look back through the mists of time to those glory days of the last century, they evoke a gauzy, soft-light vision of Bill Clinton. I think half of the excitement in the Clark campaign comes because of his close connections to Bill. About Clinton's presidency, people remember his intelligence and skill handling the Republicans. Looking at a ferocious '04 campaign, they want the biggest guns they can find, and Clark's tanks seem to have 'em.

But Clinton is exactly where we don't want to go (I say, at the risk of getting de-linked from the enormously pro-Clinton DNC). He was stellar at getting himself elected, but his policies and effect on the rest of the party were a decidedly mixed bag. He was a polarizing figure for two reasons, his personality and moderatism--but Dems will only cop to the first. Too often, they they describe the neo-con revolt simply as a prudish reaction to Bill's infidelities. But it's far more than that.

Republicans had since Reagan made their policy positions of fiscal and personal responsibility part of a "Republican morality." It was moral to take responsibility for yourself (read: not receive government supportive services), and moral to get out of the way of the market, for it was not clouded by the suspect motives of politburo beaurocracies of the federal government. Then in came Bill, granting the argument that personal and fiscal responsibility were good for the country--but transfering the morality to Democrats. It was too much to bear that he was a libertine and a philanderer--it was like pissing on the flag.

But far worse than what it did to Republicans, this brand of politics completely unhinged the Democrats. I'll admit it: I really didn't like Clinton's policies. His fidelity to the free-market became the guiding force in his administration--core Democratic values of social and economic justice and environmental protection took a back seat. As a result, default settings on the liberal-conservative continuum took a shift right. So when George Bush came into office, previously unthinkable positions like privatizing Social Security were now on the table. The neo-cons were a step right of Clinton--but they're on the radical right in comparison with any previous Democrat in the 20th Century.

So here comes Wesley Clark, festooned with Clintonite staff. He's a former Republican with no appreciable platform arriving at the exact moment when Dems are least discriminating of their candidate--as long as the tank guns are big, let's roll! I'm bothered by it. Four more years of Bush will be abysmal, obviously. But I don't relish four more years of Clinton, either.


[On a related note, check out who this article quotes regarding Clark's woes: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. Ring a bell? No? You might know him by a different name.]

[Update: Speaking of Kos and Clark, the former has more on the latter. ]

posted by Jeff | 8:33 AM |
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