My friend Janet has a Draft Wesley Clark sticker on her car and she has been waiting anxiously for Clark to get into the primaries. She is one of the "the people" who call him to service. Not an ordinary "people" since she is distinctly better informed than most. She has been watching Clark for a couple of years with quite some degree of interest and admiration. So it was good to sit down and hear her views. She's not the sort to favor a military person but she finds Clark exceptional and traces the nature of his career, one which blends philosophy and military logistics, authority and political analysis.
The issue, as we boiled it down, was not who we like or who we think may make the best president for this country but who is the most "electable".
And, in the psycho-political climate of these times, the General has immense advantage simply in being a general. That he also is an intellectual is a bonus, one which would mean little to the rank and file of an electorate. In fact, to many in the dumbed down world, intellectual prowess is a disadvantage. It certainly did not help Gore.
The average American voter, the few of them (56 per cent of the population does not bother to vote), will be looking for someone who can lead them softly and gradually away from the "if you're not with us, you're the enemy/dissent is unpatriotic" brainwash of the Bush regime. They cannot let go too easily because they are a people quelled by fear. They can relate to a General, however, for he symbolises leadership and authority, power and uniform. The time is very ripe for a General.
Thus does Clark offer something with which the other candidates cannot compete, even if they are better equipped for the task of national leadership.
The perfect set-up would have been Dean with Clark as his Vice-Presidential candidate. For I still consider Dean has the best political nous of the ten.
But, I suspect we will see unfolding a campaign which brings Clark swiftly to a lead - and I mean where it counts in NH and Iowa, not in magazine name-recognition polls, which presently put him in an outrageous lead. He has to get the respect in States which are leading the voting.
And we may well see him in the Whitehouse in the end of the day. Perhaps. For the bottom line is "electability" and the ability to beat Bush.
But if there is one thing I really like with Clark, it is that he will bring in his wife, a First Lady of America called Gert!