Kevin also highlights a few comments from Clark that suggests that he has a Dean-like habit of also engaging his mouth before his brain:
On reports that many of his military peers dislike him: "How do you think I could have succeeded in the military if everybody didn’t like me? It's impossible. Do you realize I was the first person promoted to full colonel in my entire year group of 2,000 officers? I was the only one selected. Do you realize that?"
On how the Cold War was won: "The way we won the cold war was not by isolating Eastern Europe, but by engaging it."
On Howard Dean's "guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks" remark: "Well, he shouldn't have said those things. I think all Americans — and this is a joke! — all Americans, even if they're from the South and 'stupid,' should be represented."
I actually have no problem with the 2nd comment. Engagement is as important a component of successful foreign policy as containment. I also find it amusing that one of the leading Anybody-But-Dean candidates can make a comment that could also suggest a stereotyping of southerners (and from a southerner no less!)
The first comment is the most intriguing to me. I have heard similar comments from Clark that suggest he is a tad sensitive about the question of whether people really like him or not. I don't have it handy, but I remember one quote in which he made much the same point and concluded by saying "but people love me!"
None of this is to criticize Clark. It's just my attempt to point out that Dean's alleged "Achille's heel" (Dean's own term for it), his tendency to get defensive when directly attacked, may not be unique amongst the leading Democratic contenders. In fact, I would suggest that this kind of "arrogance" is a standard feature of most successful politicians. It's hard to get to the top without the ability to get in people's faces when you think they are mischaracterizing your opinion. The secret to political success is to be humble without appearing wimpy while also being arrogant without appearing overbearing. Pulling this off successfully is the political equivalent of a triple sowcow.
I'd also remind people that Bush has more than a few times demonstrated the habit of engaging mouth before brain (yes, he has one) in public, yet he managed to "win" as well.
Perhaps its time we stopped expecting perfection from our leaders?