According to a new survey, six out of 10 Americans can't name a single Democrat running for president. And that poll was actually taken among the 10 current Democratic candidates. According to the survey answers, "the military guy" leads with 19 percent, followed by "that doctor – what's his name?" with 12 percent, and "the French-looking guy" with 9 percent.
Since Wesley Clark entered the race, Democrats have been salivating over the prospect of a presidential candidate who is a four-star general – and has the politics of Susan Sarandon! Clark's entry into the race was seen as a setback for John Kerry, the only other Democratic contender with combat experience. (Although back in the 1970s, Dennis Kucinich served in the Kiss Army.)
Before Clark becomes the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question, consider that Clark's main claim to fame is that he played a pivotal role in what most of his supporters passionately believe was an illegal, immoral war of American imperialism in Vietnam. How does that earn you points with Democrats?
Clark's other credential to lead the free world was that he supervised the "liberation" of Kosovo by ordering our pilots to drop bombs from 15,000 feet at a tremendous cost in innocent civilian life in a 100 percent humanitarian war against a country that posed absolutely no threat to the United States – imminent or otherwise – and without the approval of the almighty United Nations.
So you can see why Clark supported, then opposed, then supported, then opposed the current war in Iraq. Say, is there a website where I can get up-to-the-minute updates on Wesley Clark's current position on the war in Iraq, kind of like a Nasdaq ticker?
Possible Clark campaign slogans are already starting to emerge:
"I Was Into Quagmires Before Quagmires Were Cool"
"Honk if You Got Bombed in Kosovo"
"Only Fired by the Pentagon Once!"
"The OTHER Bush-Bashing Rhodes Scholar From Arkansas"
"No, Really, Vice President Would Be Fine"
On "Meet the Press," on June 15, 2003, Clark told Tim Russert that he got a lot of calls after 9-11 telling him to go on television and say, "This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein." Asked who had told him that, Clark said: "[T]he White House; it came from people around the White House. It came from all over."
But under cross-examination by Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel a few weeks later, Clark would say only that he had gotten a call from "a fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank who gets inside intelligence information." So in two weeks' time, Clark had gone from "the White House" to "people close to the White House" to "some guy in Canada." Clark is for abortion, for tax hikes, for affirmative action and against the war in Iraq. But he served in Vietnam. So he's basically Howard Dean with scarier flashbacks.
Howard Dean is not a general, but he is a doctor. Democrats are enthusiastic about Dean since they figure that if this Democrat were ever caught with a naked intern, he could just say it was her annual physical.
Dean has leapt beyond criticizing Bush and is now embracing terrorists. He has called Hamas terrorists "soldiers in a war" and said the U.S. should not take sides between Israel and Palestinian suicide bombers. This has won him a spot in the hearts of the Democratic Party base – middle-class white kids from Ben-and-Jerryville who smash Starbucks windows whenever bankers are in town for a meeting. If Dean doesn't get the Democratic nomination, perhaps he could throw his hat in the ring to replace Arafat.
The also-rans are trying to distinguish themselves by competing to see who can denounce George Bush with greater vigor. Sen. John Kerry has said we need to "de-Americanize" the war – I guess on the theory that the "de-Americanizing" process has worked out so well for the Democratic Party. He is furious at Bush for prosecuting a war Kerry voted for, saying the difference is, "I would have been patient." He would have had to be extremely patient in the case of Germany, inasmuch as Gerhard Schroeder announced before the war began that he would never authorize war in Iraq under any circumstances.
Florida Sen. Bob Graham recently told the Council on Foreign Relations that in "answer to any questions about the Bush administration on the war on terror," the answer is: "'No,' they are not doing a good job." This would explain Graham's commanding lead among members of his own household, although his maid is still "Undecided."
Dick Gephardt has taken to calling President Bush a "miserable failure" – as opposed to Gephardt, who is a "happy failure." Things have gotten pretty bad when you're being called a "failure" by a guy who spent 30 years sucking up to labor but still can't get the AFL-CIO to endorse him.
Dennis Kucinich recently proposed a new U.S. policy for Iraq, known in military circles as "unconditional surrender." He wants all U.S. troops to leave immediately and be replaced by U.N. troops. The head of the U.N. Human Rights Commission – Syria – would surely have things back to normal in no time. Kucinich has also offered his services as a consultant to any city in Iraq that's thinking about filing for bankruptcy. According to most polls, the Democrat who stands the best chance to beat Bush is a guy named "Generic."