Clark for President?
- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Clark summons political team to Arkansas
By Ron Fournier
Sept. 15, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- On the verge of running,
retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark on Monday summoned his fledgling
political team to Arkansas to discuss strategy for mounting a
Democratic presidential campaign.
Several party officials said legal, financial and political advisers
were invited to the Tuesday session in Little Rock, Ark. They were
told Clark had made a decision about whether to run, but they were
not told what it was.
Clark told friends and associates last week that he is likely to run,
and Monday's developments left little room for doubt about his
"We haven't been told for sure, but I think we know what this is
about," said George Bruno, a New Hampshire activist who will attend
the meeting. "It's up to the boss to call the shots."
Mark Fabiani, former spokesman for the Clinton White House, and Ron
Klain, a strategist in Al Gore's 2000 campaign, also were among those
invited to the meeting, officials said.
Clark, 58, has aggressively recruited staff in the last week. His
earliest allies would be from former President Clinton's Arkansas-
based political network, including former White House aide Bruce
Lindsey, though not all will have formal campaign roles.
Clark has met with several presidential contenders who covet his
endorsement and might consider him for a vice presidential slot. He
also has been in touch with top lawmakers and union chiefs, urging
them to hold off supporting any candidate until he decides whether to
Though late to the race and lacking in political experience, Clark's
resume is formidable -- Rhodes scholar, first in his 1966 class at
West Point, White House fellow, head of the U.S. Southern Command and
NATO commander during the 1999 campaign in Kosovo.
A Clark White House bid would grab the political spotlight and
undercut the strength of several in the nine-way Democratic race.
However, he would be competing against more experienced politicians
with more money and deeper staffs.
An Internet-fueled draft-Clark movement has developed the seeds of a
campaign and more than $1 million in pledges.
"In New Hampshire, there are many people ready to move out if they're
given the green light," said Bruno, one of Clinton's earlier backers
in the key primary voting state.
Clark believes his four-star military service would counter Bush's
political advantage as a wartime commander in chief, friends say. The
retired general has been critical of the Iraq war and Bush's postwar
efforts, positions that would put him alongside announced candidates
Howard Dean, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of
Ohio as the most vocal anti-war candidates.
Clark is scheduled to deliver a speech at the University of Iowa
Sept. 19 but is expected to make his decision before that.
Michael Moore to Wesley Clark: Run!
A Citizen's Appeal to a General in a Time of War (at Home)
September 12, 2003
Dear General Wesley Clark,
I've been meaning to write to you for some time. Two days after the
Oscars, when I felt very alone and somewhat frightened by the level
of hatred toward me for daring to suggest that we were being led into
war for "fictitious reasons," one person stuck his neck out and came
to my defense on national television.
And that person was you.
Aaron Brown had just finished interviewing me by satellite on CNN,
and I had made a crack about me being "the only non-general allowed
on CNN all week." He ended the interview and then turned to you, as
you were sitting at the desk with him. He asked you what you thought
of this crazy guy, Michael Moore. And, although we were still in Week
One of the war, you boldly said that my dissent was necessary and
welcome, and you pointed out that I was against Bush and
his "policies," not the kids in the service. I sat in Flint with the
earpiece still in my ear and I was floored -- a GENERAL standing up
for me and, in effect, for all the millions who were opposed to the
war but had been bullied into silence.
Since that night, I have spent a lot of time checking you out. And
what I've learned about you corresponds to my experience with you
back in March. You seem to be a man of integrity. You seem not afraid
to speak the truth. I liked your answer when you were asked your
position on gun control: "If you are the type of person who likes
assault weapons, there is a place for you -- the United States Army.
We have them."
In addition to being first in your class at West Point, a four star
general from Arkansas, and the former Supreme Commander of NATO --
enough right there that should give pause to any peace-loving person -
- I have discovered that...
1. You oppose the Patriot Act and would fight the expansion of its
2. You are firmly pro-choice.
3. You filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the
University of Michigan's affirmative action case.
4. You would get rid of the Bush tax "cut" and make the rich pay
their fair share.
5. You respect the views of our allies and want to work with them and
with the rest of the international community.
6. And you oppose war. You have said that war should always be
the "last resort" and that it is military men such as yourself who
are the most for peace because it is YOU and your soldiers who have
to do the dying. You find something unsettling about a commander-in-
chief who dons a flight suit and pretends to be Top Gun, a stunt that
dishonored those who have died in that flight suit in the service of
General Clark, last night I finally got to meet you in person. I
would like to share with others what I said to you privately: You may
be the person who can defeat George W. Bush in next year's election.
This is not an endorsement. For me, it's too early for that. I have
liked Howard Dean (in spite of his flawed positions in support of
some capital punishment, his grade "A" rating from the NRA, and his
opposition to cutting the Pentagon budget). And Dennis Kucinich is so
committed to all the right stuff. We need candidates in this race who
will say the things that need to be said, to push the pathetically
lame Democratic Party into have a backbone -- or get out of the way
and let us have a REAL second party on the ballot.
But right now, for the sake and survival of our very country, we need
someone who is going to get The Job done, period. And that job, no
matter whom I speak to across America -- be they leftie Green or
conservative Democrat, and even many disgusted Republicans --
EVERYONE is of one mind as to what that job is:
Bush Must Go.
This is war, General, and it's Bush & Co.'s war on us. It's their war
on the middle class, the poor, the environment, their war on women
and their war against anyone around the world who doesn't accept
total American domination. Yes, it's a war -- and we, the people,
need a general to beat back those who have abused our Constitution
and our basic sense of decency.
The General vs. the Texas Air National Guard deserter! I want to see
that debate, and I know who the winner is going to be.
The other night, when you were on Bill Maher's show, he began by
reading to you a quote from Howard Dean where he (Dean) tried to run
away from the word "liberal." Maher said to you, so, General, do you
want to run away from that word? Without missing a beat, you
said "No!" and you reminded everyone that America was founded as
a "liberal democracy." The audience went wild with applause.
That is what we have needed for a long time on our side -- guts. I am
sure there are things you and I don't see eye to eye on, but now is
the time for all good people from the far left to the middle of the
road to bury the damn hatchet and get together behind someone who is
not only good on the issues but can beat George W. Bush. And where I
come from in the Midwest, General, I know you are the kind of
candidate that the average American will vote for.
Michael Moore likes a general? I never thought I'd write these words.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. I want to know more
about you. I want your voice heard. I would like to see you in these
debates. Then let the chips fall where they may -- and we'll all have
a better idea of what to do. If you sit it out, then I think we all
know what we are left with.
I am asking everyone I know to send an email to you now to encourage
you to run, even if they aren't sure they would vote for you. (Wesley
Clark's email address is: info@...). None of us
truly know how we will vote five months from now or a year from now.
But we do know that this race needs a jolt -- and Bush needs to know
that there is one person he won't be able to Dukakisize.
Take the plunge, General Clark. At the very least, the nation needs
to hear what you know about what was really behind this invasion of
Iraq and your fresh ideas of how we can live in a more peaceful
world. Yes, your country needs you to perform one more act of brave
service -- to help defeat an enemy from within, at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, an address that used to belong to "we, the people."
Lottery # 275, U.S. military draft, 1972
Conscientious Objector applicant
Wesley Clark joins presidential race
By Ron Fournier
Sept. 17, 2003 | LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Retired Army Gen. Wesley
Clark entered a crowded and wide-open race for the Democratic
presidential nomination on Wednesday.
"We're going to run a campaign that will move this country forward
not back," Clark said, promising to "talk straight to the American
Clark, 58, became the 10th Democrat in the race that is up for grabs,
joining a contest that has been under way for months. Former Vermont
Gov. Howard Dean is the front-runner, but a solid majority of voters
remain undecided and some party leaders believe the current field has
"My name is Wes Clark. I am from Little Rock, Arkansas. And I am here
to announce that I intend to seek the presidency of the United States
of America," he began.
He entered with no experience in elective office and no history on
domestic policy, but offered one thing Democrats crave: New hope of
undercutting President Bush's wartime popularity.
Clark immediately took aim at Bush, saying his economic
policies "have cost us more jobs than our economy has had the energy
Nearly 3 million U.S. jobs have been lost since Bush took office in
January 2001. Clark vowed to "restore the millions of jobs that have
The former Vietnam veteran and commander of all NATO forces in Europe
also said that, "More than 100,000 American troops are fighting
abroad and once again Americans are concerned about their civil
Clark made his announcement at a boys and girls club in the state
capital, under clear blue skies and on a small stage bearing a sign
of his Web site: "americansforclark.com."
Supporters waved American flags and "Draft Clark" signs while
volunteers passed out "Clark" chocolate bars to an audience of
A day after gathering for their first set of meetings with Clark,
advisers said they were developing an unconventional strategy that
would attempt to capitalize on the Internet and Clark's affinity for
television to build momentum nationwide.
If logistics fall into place, Clark's first post-announcement stop
will be Florida, aides said. Clark wants to cast himself as a
credible candidate in the South and one willing to stretch his
campaign beyond the traditional early battleground states to the site
of the 2000 presidential recount.
He has not decided how hard to campaign in states such as Iowa and
New Hampshire, aides said, but they quickly concluded that he can't
catch up to his competitors through conventional means. The rest of
the field has been in Iowa and New Hampshire for months.
In echoes of wartime President Harry S. Truman, someone shouted to
Clark, "Give 'em hell, General," as Clark was shaking hands with the
crowd. He pumped his fist, smiled and replied, "We're going to give
them the truth, and they'll think it's hell."
Although a late entry in the contest, Clark declared, "We're firm in
our intent, we're clear in our purposes, we're mustering the
resources, building the nucleus, drawing in the support of people
across this great land."
"We're under way and moving forward" he said to enthusiastic applause
in a speech that lasted about 10 minutes and was interrupted briefly
by chants of "We want Clark."
Fellow Arkansas Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln said in a statement
that Clark "offers strong, tested leadership on critical challenges
that confront our nation."
Clark enters the race as a new national poll showed Bush leading the
current field of Democratic challengers. The Quinnipiac University
Polling Institute found that Bush outdistanced his rivals by at least
10 points or more in the survey conducted Sept. 11-15.
Asked on NBC"s "Today" program Wednesday if he really was maneuvering
to be the vice presidential candidate on another person's ticket,
Clark replied, "There's only one decision. That's the decision I made
"I don't think anybody's got the same combination of skills and
experiences I have," Clark said.
Clark's late entry offers Democrats a four-star answer to Bush's
potential advantage on national security. Clark's resume is made to
order -- a Rhodes scholar, first in his 1966 class at West Point,
White House fellow and head of the U.S. Southern Command and NATO
commander during the 1999 campaign in Kosovo.
But the retired general has never held political office -- not even a
student council election to his credit -- and he has never been
pressed to produce a domestic agenda.
Just four months before the first votes are cast, he has no formal
organization in key states, little money and a patchwork staff culled
from the political organizations of former President Clinton and
former Vice President Al Gore.
The former general, a regular on cable news shows, has been critical
of the Iraq war and Bush's postwar efforts -- positions that would
put him alongside announced candidates Dean, Sen. Bob Graham of
Florida and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio as the most vocal anti-war
Clark has assembled a small but potent team of political veterans who
could open doors for a political novice seeking a message, money and
Some met him for the first time Tuesday as the new campaign held its
first strategy sessions.
Democrats in New Hampshire, Iowa and other early voting states did
not close the door on a Clark presidency, but said the compressed
primary schedule hurts late-starting candidates.
"While General Clark has something to say, it's going to take boots
on the ground in Iowa to make a difference," said Iowa activist Joe