dogged the draft.
least, you could say he was honest about it.
revelation that, at the age of 21, Democratic
presidential candidate Howard Dean in the late
'60s, purposely received a medical deferment for
his back in 1970, should surprise few voters who
shared the same sympathies a growing of Americans
had about avoiding the conflict in Vietnam. The
fact that Dean, possibly the Democratic frontrunner,
would leave himself vulnerable for not serving
is a given. That's why the running-mate would
have to be a candidate of impeccable military
experience, enough to negate war-president motif
already being developed for President Bush by
RNC operatives. Two candidates currently fit the
description, Senator John Kerry and General Wesley
Clark. Given that John Kerry has run a lackluster
campaign thus far, there is only one man is left
on the shortlist.
you like it or not (as President or Vice President),
Clark is on the ticket.
this bizarre Democratic nomination derby with
nine candidates, General Wesley Clark has played
the "dark horse" candidate in the race. Symbolically
a man to reckon with, he has no political experience
to speak of. No one really knows what he will
say or how he will say it. In terms of foreign
policy, the General is an astute expect of tactical
knowledge and analysis (in keeping with his military
record). On economic policy, Clark is undoubtedly
a political novice (and Dean's strength).
in terms of having his positions change from a
liberal to a more centrist tone after the nomination
process, General Clark is the practical choice
because of his lack of political experience. A
record can become a double-edged sword against
an incumbent with dissimilar views.
Democratic strategists, Wesley Clark's greatest
asset to the Democratic ticket will be that he
is the Southern 'ace in the hole' against further
Republican gains in the South. A native Arkansan,
Clark knows how to speak the language of the southern
states, where the saying "all politics is local"
still holds true. With large numbers of veterans
and military personnel living in Southern states,
the General could have a ready-made coalition
between traditional dems, military families, and
the return of white men (lost to the Republicans
in the South as minority political participation
increased after Jim Crow).
all, who can argue with the patriotism of a "four-star
general," and "Rhodes Scholar," no less? Certainly,
neither President Bush nor Vice President Dick
Cheney, whose own military history (or lack thereof)
is not unlike Bill Clinton or Howard Dean in its
adversity to combat.
this presidential election will be decided upon
the appeal of moderate voters on issues such as
jump-starting the weak economy and how to mount
the continuing war on terror. The contrast between
a Dean-Clark candidacy and Bush-Cheney would be
stark on foreign policy, a clear difference to
the moderate voter; only if the issue becomes
the centerpiece of the voter concern (particularly
if there was another domestic terror incident).
On the other hand, if the economy turns upward,
having defining issues for the Democrats may prove
the straight talk of Dean and the feel good analysis
of Clark, the Democrats would have a good shot
of capturing the "border states" of the 2000 Bush
vs. Gore election. Like the moderate voter, whoever
possesses Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri
in 2004 will hold the key to Florida, an electorate
still divided since 2000.
mode the election takes after Iowa and New Hampshire,
primary voters will elect candidates based on
their sense of trustworthiness and sense of vision.
But most of all during these uncertain times,
whoever has best chance at beating Bush.
Vermont Governor Howard Dean can lead the charge,
but it's up the General Clark to polish the platform
give grit and fortitude against a barrage of false
images, innuendo, and philosophical malignment
that's headed they're way.
Advisor Karl Rove was right when he predicted
that President Bush's poll numbers would lower
significantly into 2004. Regardless of party,
it has become obvious the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan
have wasted valuable intelligence-gathering time
as well as military resources. As the Muslim holy
month of Ramadan closes, U.S. intelligence is
again on the lookout for terror acts in the Middle
East and among interests at home. We have made
little improve to national security since 9/ 11.
In deciding our next president, Americans can
only hope that the election will be decided on
real unbiased choices, rather than in disgust
over lost opportunities and more destruction by
terror at home.
candidates shouldn't want to win over ruins. Simply,
the truth. And among Democrats, the names Dean
and Clark are indispensable.
© 2003 Tommy Ates. All Rights Reserved.
Ates loves the left because the left is always
right! Tommy Ates has appeared in several publications,
such as The Houston Chronicle, Fort Lauderdale
Sun-Sentinel, The Wichita Eagle, The Macon Telegraph,
and Global Black News, among others. Please consult
information on column release dates and/ or
Posted: December 5, 2003