Another fatal blow to Dean/Clark 2004?
Wesley Clark said today that he won't be Dean's Cheney:
Clark said he's running for president, not vice president. ''I'm not going to be Howard Dean's Dick Cheney,'' Clark told reporters. ''We've already tried that model of government. That's what's misled America thus far.''
Clark said President Bush was a former governor, inexperienced in foreign policy who surrounded himself with experienced advisers, like Cheney.
''He tried to reassure the American people by having a lot of highly experienced and competent advisers around,'' said Clark. ''And we see the results right now in our presence in Iraq and the alienation of people around the world.''
Clark is comparing Bush to Dean --but not to Bill Clinton, former Governor of Arkansas. What's the difference?
''Bill Clinton had several other things going for him and the time was different,'' Clark said. ''This is a new era, especially after this current administration has done so much to wreck America's relationship with its allies and destroyed American esteem in the world.''
These comments are confusing to say the least. Yes, I know that Clark is attempting to say that it was a mistake to select a governor with little foreign policy experience and thus we shouldn't put up Dean. But his butt-cover on the Clinton issue doesn't make much sense because, at the time Bush was installed, 9/11 hadn't happened yet! The world Bush was elected into was the same world Clinton was elected into and 9/11 or something comparable could have happened on Clinton's watch.
So, is the general saying that Clinton would have been as big of a failure as Bush under similar circumstances? So much for the idea that Clark is embracing Clinton while Dean is disparaging him. If that was not the general's intent then his whole thesis just flies out the window.
And I question the political wisdom of putting forth an analogy that puts up himself as comparable to Dick Cheney.
Clark, by making these comments, has gone beyond the usual "I'm running for President, not Veep" disclaimers that also-rans make at this point. He is openly saying that Dean, if elected, would be as bad for foreign policy as Bush has been. If Clark were to go on to be Dean's running mate he would have an extremely difficult time fighting back the journalists who would ask him to reconcile these comments with his position.