A few weeks ago, before the Villagers threw their little hissy fit, Aaron Ament and I were going to launch a short campaign to promote Wes Clark for VP. After the events of the last few days, we think it's more important than ever to do so. And so, here you are.
The basic idea behind Clark for VP is that we want to make a little noise about the position of Vice President and ask that Obama consider a real progressive in that slot who can help fix some of the most damaging aspects of the Bush Presidency.
The political argument for Clark is simple. He is a great surrogate for Democrats, with experience in 2004 and 2006 on the campaign trail, and a genuine national base of supporters. In terms of governance, which is what Obama says is the most important criteria for his VP pick, Clark can help Obama deal with the mess that the Bush administration left behind. As commander of NATO in the late 1990s, Clark won a war, so he is more likely than any progressive out there to be able to wrangle solutions from a military establishment that has been decimated by Bush's cronyism and incompetence. That is really important moving forward, since rebuilding our national security posture is a critical challenge over the next eight years
Clark also emphasizes Obama's strengths. He is popular among grassroots progressives, he was against the war in Iraq from the get-go, and he is an outsider to politics. He also demonstrated terrific political judgment in being willing to work against Lieberman in 2006, unlike, say, Tim Kaine, who endorsed Lieberman for President in 2004. This kind of savvy political judgment can help Obama avoid landmines down the road, and the Bush administration has left very little but landmines for the next President.
Before the idiot DC villagers threw a hissy fit about Clark, he was on the short list for VP. Is it realistic to see him back on that list? Well really, it's up to Obama. Choosing Clark would be a clear demonstration that Obama intends to significantly shift the political debate in the country and that he refuses to allow old school bitchy sniping from DC insiders to dominate our national political discourse. What Clark said - that McCain has no experience in national security decision-making - is absolutely true, and it's a point that needs emphasis repeatedly and effectively by someone who can deliver it.
Clark has a 34 year service record, has won a war, commanded troops all over the world, and nearly died of his injuries in Vietnam. He has run for President and been a surrogate for hundreds of Democrats all over the country, including Ned Lamont. He was against the war in Iraq, and knows the military bureaucracy inside and out. This is someone who would make an insanely good Vice President, and someone who has deep connections to the newly formed progressive communities that emerged from 2002-2006
Senator Obama would do well to choose Clark as his running mate.