Obama's VP - how about Clark

At lunch last week with a former professor of mine, we agreed that Obama should consider Wes Clark as a Vice Presidential nominee.

The benefits of Wes Clark as Obama's running mate:
  • Perceived (perceptions > reality) national security experience balances Obama's inexperience
  • Close ties with the Clintons help bridge the gap between the Obama people and the Clinton people
  • Isn't associated with Washington politics, keeping the "change" theme going
  • Clark's background as a poor white boy from Arkansas might help makes inroads on the bigot vote, especially if McCain picks Bobby Jindal (Brown '91!) as his VP, who is Indian
  • Beloved by media types like Bill O'Reilly and CNN
The benefits of Wes Clark as Obama's actual VP:
  • Very smart
  • Experience with messy wars in Bosnia and Kosovo
  • Knows a lot of the Pentagon people already
  • Hasn't been slamming Obama in public - although he endorsed Clinton for President, he hasn't done any negative campaigning and has put most of his energy into targeted Congressional races and specific bills
  • Isn't Dick Cheney
Another potential VP for Obama I'd like to see is Senator Jim Webb.

16 comments:

Jason S. said...

Clark would be a great pick, but as soon as I started thinking about Obama veeps, Webb came to mind. From the South (barely), has a cred on military issues (and probably can break out his son's boots again) and is slightly off of the party line on issues enough that it shows Obama's big-tent administration idea at work. He could probably even spin the gun-in-the-Capitol thing into a plus.

Adrian said...

Yeah - the thing I really like about Webb is that he just doesn't give a shit what people think about him. Yesterday he grilled Petraeus and Odierno the way most Democrats are scared to do.

Anonymous said...

That would be a huge mistake - Clark has a let's say "sorted" past. Let's refresh everyone's memory by looking at the retired NATO Commander's history.

he has the perfect résumé to continue the job that the Bush gang began. In 1993 US Army troops had been dispatched to the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas.Clark was the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood Texas. As the division commander, Clark was the one to authorize the release of armored units and very likely also in command of Delta Force personnel who operated on his turf and engaged in a brutal massacre of unarmed civilians trying to flee the burning compound.According to a well-documented September 2003 story at www.frontpagemagazine.com Clark's second in command, Pete Schoomaker, was one of two military officers to meet with Janet Reno in preparing the plans for the final assault.This is not a good progressive credential.

Clark's real notoriety came in 1999when, as NATO Commander under Bill Clinton, he led another US military invasion, which the UN also refused to sanction, into Bosnia and Kosovo. Clark's aggressive command nearly resulted in a military confrontation with a Russian armored column and documented in 1999 using reports from Jane's Intelligence Weekly and The Christian Science Monitor, in the process of conducting that war Clark made safe the KLA's control over 70% of the heroin reaching Western Europe. The U.S. Congress has documented in detail, the links of Al Qaeda to agencies of the U.S. government during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as in Kosovo and it is absurd to think that the Al Qaeda operatives in Kosovo were there without Clark's knowledge or that he did not control their interactions with US military.

Wesley Clark then went to work for billionaire investment banker and Presidential kingmaker Jackson Stephens in Little Rock. In 2004campaign literature, Clark lists his profession as an investment banker. And he is still employed by Stephens-the man who gave a down-and-out Bill Clinton a $2 million loan to jumpstart an ailing presidential campaign in 1992. There is also a glowing photograph of Stephens with a young George W. Bush in the expose of the drug money laundering and covert operations bank BCCI, False Profits. Several BCCI players, including Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz, have been directly tied to the financing of Al Qaeda.

So, I really don't think Clark would compliment Obama's campaign very well, the baggage he carries would put a bit of a damper on his message of change.

Adrian said...

Most of the incidents you give are conspiracy theories. Clark's account of the incident at Pristina airport indicates that he was following orders from Washington and NATO. Nobody cares about KLA control over heroin - the war was about ethnic cleansing, not some trafficking routes. And repeating unsupported conspiracy theories that US forces collaborated with Al Qaeda in Bosnia, or somehow was involved in the Waco siege, or that he knew a guy who knew a guy who was involved in BCCI - that is hardly convincing.

Mike said...

Most of that is conspiracy theories, I would agree. However, him almost starting WWIII with the Russians at the Pristina airport...let's just say that Clark's account is counterbalanced by several from the British side of things, and that just because he was given an order doesn't mean that he has to automatically follow it.

Bottom line for me is that while I don't think he would make a horrible VP, there is considerable dirty laundry that could be aired from his time as SACEUR. When most of your dirty laundry is in regard to what is supposed to be your strongest qualification (national security), it might be smart to pick someone else.

Adrian said...

Clark's baggage is basically "he was too aggressive/possibly reckless." FoxNews might attack him on that, but they'll attack whoever the VP is anyway. I think people like CNN and MSNBC wouldn't feel comfortable questioning a former 4-star on military matters - hence the "beloved by media types" bullet point. Maybe I'm wrong, after all Kerry had a Purple Heart and somehow was turned into Hanoi Jane.

Mike said...

A Purple Heart?? He had THREE Purple Hearts, and don't you forget it! :-p

But yes, that's really the heart of what I was going for. Kerry is living proof of the fact that getting in good with the main press types isn't enough to give you a free ride anymore. Like I said before, I don't think he would be a horrible VP candidate, but why go with him when you could go with someone like Richardson (or even Webb) who has similar credentials in the national security department but who doesn't have the large amount of baggage?

Adrian said...

Good points, they would both be good VP candidates as well as be good VPs - I just think there's something about having a four star general on the ticket that Obama could really use, something that will shut people up who would otherwise feel free to attack Webb or Richardson.

Mike said...

The comment about stars brought up a good point regarding one of my biases...military background. I'm so used to seeing quite often that the Emperor has no clothes that just having stars isn't necessarily enough to automatically impress me. With someone not as exposed to the military (as much of America is not), that symbol of authority may carry more weight. That affect was something I overlooked anyway. You are correct in that I think there would be significant difference in the public perception between someone who served a brief stint in the Navy in Vietnam as a junior officer (with possible significant discrepancies) versus someone who had a long career, eventually reaching the position of SACEUR and leading NATO through a war.

Mike said...

Gr, "effect," not "affect."

Adrian said...

perception > reality! It would be twisted yet ironic if the gap between the military community and civilians were to work in the Democrats favor.

Grandmasta Splash said...

Wes Clark might be a smart guy and have a nice CV but that Dude is also a tool who would turn as many people off as he would attract.

Adrian said...

You know him personally?

Adrian said...

Another argument in favor of Wes Clark as Obama's VP.

Jason S. said...

How do you feel about Bloomberg? (Esp. since issue focus seems to be turning from security to economy in the general election.)

Adrian said...

I am against Bloomberg as VP. I don't think it's a good idea to pick a VP on the issue of the moment. One bomb in the right place in Iraq and the economy isn't such a big issue anymore. Also I don't see what Bloomberg would bring to the ticket beyond a narrow focus on the economy - no foreign policy cred, his executive experience wouldn't matter as he wouldn't be the executive, and there's no reason the Democratic party would want to promote him as he's not even a Democrat.