Cheap Shots

Beinart, Peter
October 2003
New Republic;10/6/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 14, p6
This article considers the candidacy of General Wesley Clark in the 2004 United States presidential campaign. A week into his presidential bid, Wesley Clark looks less like the Democrats' solution than another symptom of their basic problem. That problem is that much of the Democratic base still doesn't take national security seriously. And so Democrats keep trying to find new, ever more Rambo-like personas to proclaim essentially the same message. Maybe Clark does indeed have a proactive, coherent national security message. But, with his Kerry-esque, have-it-both-ways position on Iraq, he certainly hasn't articulated that message on the stump. In fact, at the very moment Democrats are swooning over Clark, the party's views on Iraq are growing even more confused. With the polls showing that a majority of Americans, and a huge majority of Democrats, don't want to spend more money on Iraq, prominent Democrats decided President George W. Bush was too committed to nation-building. Democrats have to decide whether to support large sums for Iraqi nation-building, even though their constituents won't get the domestic spending they vastly prefer. Democrats can't evaluate Bush's request without more information.


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