So, our time has come…Clark dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination. I am disappointed, of course…I thought that we could have done much better, but Kerry is on a roll. We’ll hear from the pundits about “what went wrong” (skipping Iowa? placing novices in campaign positions they weren’t prepared to deal with? Getting in too late? The horrible argyle sweater? The speeding tickets in Oklahoma? And so on and so on) but it’ll be up to the history books to decide what really happened in regards to the Clark campaign.
General Clark is one of the few political candidates that I have ever truly admired. I loved his dedication to our country and his willingness to stand up for doing what was right in the Balkans, even though it meant being forced out of his position as NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
There were a lot of Democrats who wouldn’t accept Clark as a “true Democrat.” One of the worst things you can do to a Democrat is to call him or her a Republican, and this is something that Clark’s opponents (and their supporters) often did. I don’t think there is anything Clark could have done to prove his Democratic credentials to the people who shouted “But he voted for Nixon and Reagan! He spoke at a Republican Party dinner!” Perhaps many of these people find it difficult to understand why a career military man would have voted for Presidents who were strong on national defense issues during the Cold War…nor did they want to accept that Clark also attended the Democratic Party’s dinner a few weeks after the Republican’s, campaigned for Dems in ’02 Congressional races, and voted Dem since 1992. The above does not matter to them, and those facts were not really instrumental in convincing me that Clark was a “true Democrat.” If there was one thing that convinced me that Clark was a champion of Democratic values, it was his vocal support for humanitarian intervention to stop genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans. The fact remains that several Democratic leaders – the current standard bearers of our party – shirked from their duty of defending human rights and honoring multilateral agreements because it was not politically popular at the time. Clark, on the other hand, advocated intervention to stop the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. Well, those credentials are Democratic enough for me.
We had a short campaign – 5 months – but I loved every minute I was working on it, from the DC fundraisers to the freezing temperatures of New Hampshire. I couldn’t imagine spending 3 weeks in New Hampshire for another candidate…
I am especially thankful for all the great friends I made while working with DC for Clark, GW for Clark, New Hampshire for Clark, and so on. It was an honor to work with all of you…I couldn’t have picked a finer group of people to join in canvassing, phone banking, and noon time visibility in the single digit temperatures of New Hampshire.
Many thanks to the supporters in the Lakes Region that provided us with wonderful housing, cooked us some delicious dinners, and, in general, took good care of us volunteers.
But most of all, THANK YOU GENERAL CLARK!
Now let’s focus on getting Bush out of the White House, shall we?