Clark's tough road
There are now three Presidential campaigns.
In your typical Presidential election year there are two campaigns. First their is the campaign for the party nominations. Then there is the campaign for the general election. But this year, because of Howard Dean's early and surprising success, there is a third campaign: the Anybody-But-Dean primary.
This will be the real first challenge for Wesley Clark. He will eventually have to defeat Dean. But he first has to persuade the Anybody-But-Dean forces that he is the most qualified to take on Dean. He has the advantage of being a fresh face and will therefore appeal to those in the ABD camp who are disappointed with the lackluster performance of the other ABD candidates. Therefore, he will probably quickly assume the mantle of front-runner in the ABD campaign. But the remaining ABD candidates will not let him win without a fight and the Clark forces would be foolish to presume that their guy will become the ABD campaign by acclimation.
Bush has a relatively easy path in front of him. He only has to be concerned with the general election.
Dean's path is more difficult. He has to win the Anybody-But-Bush primary before he can have the privilege of taking on Bush in the general.
But Clark's path is even more difficult. He first has to win the Anybody-But-Dean primary. Then he has to beat Dean. Then he has to beat Bush.
That's a pretty tough challenge for a man who has never run for political office before. It will be interesting to see if he can do it.