[eDebate] earlybird cards: bush is toast 4 a toaster

Jack Stroube stroube
Sun Sep 21 14:40:43 CDT 2003


1) klemz gambles wrong way:
"Of course, Bush was mind-bogglingly popular. No way, in that climate, could you figure 
on beating him on the patriotism and toughness issues. So what you had to do was look 
reasonable on national security?support-the-president reasonable; I?m-for-the-war 
reasonable; WMDs-are-a-clear-and-present-threat reasonable?and pray that the 
economy was going into the crapper, that the double-dip recession was going to be real 
and painful.

Now, the problem is not just that the established Democrats bet wrong on Iraq and 
national-security issues a year ago but that, having bet wrong, they made possible the 
rise of a heretofore-unknown antiwar candidate.

And so the main choices on the table for the past year have been this foursome of 
warhorses who could not realistically expect to be elected (unless the economy tanked, 
exactly as it did for Clinton in ?92) and who were not even, except around the edges, 
really opposing Bush, and a new, but sentimental, favorite who has articulated the 
antiwar and anti-Bush emotions of a particular demographic of the party.

The question for Democrats (at any rate, for those paying attention) has been, Which 
loser candidate do you back?

Or that was the question until the Iraq war turned into a protracted, bloody, and 
insanely pricey mess?becoming, it seems possible, one of history?s great I-told-you-so 
moments. Indeed, there suddenly seems to be only one 24/7 news-cycle theme: The 
Bush people simply have no idea what they?re doing.

And it?s only going to get worse. On the present course, 1,000 Americans will be dead 
in Iraq by the next election. If you plot the course geometrically?the anti-U.S. Iraqis are 
getting better at their killing business?it could be many times that. In addition to the 
mounting federal deficit, there is now the ever-growing death deficit.

This is very bad for the president, obviously. Except for the fact that most of the Bush 
opponents have spent the past year?along with the president?defending the war (they 
are all still, in Humphrey-esque ways, defending it). And the one who is not is as 
unelectable (for all of the obvious reasons?regional, stylistic, ideological) a candidate as 
has surfaced in a long, long time. 

George Bush is toast?but for a toaster." unquote

2) clinton is the mastermind -- hillary said it best "the lewinsky scandal was a right-
wing plot to overthrow bill" -- it's bbq sweet revenge time -- don't forget clark is 1/2 

"Now, it is germane to this?both the strategy part and the fantasy part?to understand 
that the alternatives to the present field are in no small part Bill Clinton?s alternatives.

He is the great strategist (rivaled only by Nixon in his inveterate out-of-power political 
gaming) as well as the great manipulator, and his is the great fantasy of revenge. It?s his 
blood score to settle (as much as it was, last time, George Bush?s blood score to settle).

It is indicative either of the fantasy aspect of all this or of some more careful and clever 
calibration that he has two candidates: his general (the victor of his war in Kosovo) and 
his wife. These are the party?s ?two stars,? he said last week at a fund-raiser for Hillary 
at their home in Chappaqua.

First, the general. Let me render him in the idealized terms of the fantasy:

Wesley Clark?s shadow campaign is being run from a small office in Little Rock, his 
hometown. This is, in itself, not a small detail: He would be, as regular Army and native 
son, the only Democrat (the only Democrat, arguably, in many years) to have a natural 
claim on the military-centered South (the military may be the true southern issue).

Clark has been pursuing the idea of a presidential race for almost a year now. Indeed, he 
has demurred only ever so gently about his intentions. There?s hardly an invitation to 
appear before a useful or influential group that he?s turned down. It?s been a well-
crafted, strategically run hypothetical campaign...

The fit is amazing. Delicious. He may well hold every political trump card you can hold. 
A general but a Democrat (relatively speaking, this is on a par with Colin Powell?s being 
black). A Democrat but a Southerner. A Southerner but a smarty (a Rhodes scholar?how 
many Rhodes scholars does Arkansas produce, anyway?). A candidate with the 
unmistakable contemporary virtue of not having been a politician.

And beyond each of the formal electoral-vote-grabbing slots that he fills, he?s really 

Together with his sweeping geopolitical background and his background in military 
management?which is the very least that is going to be required to get us out of this 
Iraq mess?are gifts of language and articulation.

He talks great (this may be a benefit of having done several tours as a news-show 
talking head).

You can?t listen to this guy and not think, Where?s he been all my life? Everybody I know 
who?s been in any sort of proximity to him has come away smitten.

He racks up crushes wherever he goes. These aren?t Clinton-like crushes either?there 
is an austerity, a coolness, a precision to him, in contrast to the Clinton touchiness. 
Clark offers another kind of attractiveness. This general is astute, analytic, funny, 
liberal, charming?our general. (He?s even half-Jewish.)

Stay with me in this idealization: Wesley Clark potentially represents a historic 
reinvention of the Democratic Party. He brings back the South. He begins to bridge the 
divide in a country split between relative liberalishness and a recalcitrant white-
southern-rural nativism whose emotional heart is the military.

What?s more, the Clark-versus-Bush rationale is irresistible.

George Bush has made himself into a wartime president without the background or skill 
sets or intuition to properly fight the fight. Lacking these attributes and abilities, he has 
fallen victim to a variety of ideological advisers and advocates who also lack the 
experience to fight a war, hence getting us into a situation in Iraq that is going to 
require some better talent to get us out of.

Wesley Clark is the cavalry. A real commander-in-chief.

Face it: The only antiwar candidate America is ever going to elect is one who is a four-
star general." unquote

Phallus Jerkins Dabait League

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