Clark to Dems: Get over Vietnam

Oh, and he’s running for President.

Just back from a fundraiser for Wesley Clark’s WesPac, with Clark himself as the main attraction.

Clark is running for President in 2008. He stopped just shy of a formal announcement, but left no one in doubt about his intentions. The crowd of about 150 seemed delighted.

The speech was, I thought, terrific (in stark contrast to the boring emails that have been going out under Clark’s name and the so-so website).

The message was straightforward: the Democrats are better able to keep the country secure than the Bushites, but they need to “get over Vietnam” and convince the voters of that fact. (Thoughts on that problem in this earlier post.) And they need to stop letting the GOP define “faith” and “patriotism” as partisan issues.

Clark urged his troops to get involved in Democratic Party organizations, something that’s already been happening in Los Angeles through Michael Webber’s LA Grassroots group.

This site rarely offers gambling advice, but the contract on Clark’s being the Democratic nominee is trading at 1.7 asked on Tradesports. At effective odds of 60:1, that sounds to me like a good bet.

As to a different sort of financial transaction, you can contribute to WesPac here.

Consider that my blegging activity for the quarter.

Update Prof. Bainbridge and Matt Yglesias point out that Clark’s military career won’t protect him from being called a coward and a traitor by his Republican opponents if he becomes the nominee, any more than John Kerry’s Silver Star protected him.

But it’s not Clark’s uniform I’m counting on; it’s his record and his persona. Kerry was a war hero, but Kerry was also a dove. That was what the Swifties couldn’t forgive, and the some otherwise Democratic voters couldn’t stomach.

Clark, by contrast, is a hawk, with owlish tendencies. More important, in addition to his thoughtfulness, he carries a strain of unreflecting flag-and-country patriotism that most post-Vietnam liberals find it hard to match.

Second update: Here’s a Quicktime video of Clark’s speech.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: