Okay, that's as obscure a tagline as I've ever written. But here's the beef: Wesley Clark has the military training, the high-level command experience, the Washington-insider chops and the personal temperament (read "guts") to be one hell of a President, especially at a time in history when national security looms large on the screen. No other announced candidate, Democrat or Republican, mixes those characteristics into quite so potent a cocktail.
And yet Clark barely got a tumble from his party in the last primary season, and has basically been ignored in the current run-up. "I think about running every day," he says, wistfully, to a reporter. But he's not running, at least not in any meaningful way. And why? Because the Democrats are fixated on a showdown between two junior senators, one a virtual newcomer on the national scene, the other toting so much baggage that Wonder Woman couldn't lift it. Oh, and if those two wind up in Mutual Assured Destruction (as they probably will), the Dems' backup plan is a good-looking ambulance chaser whose entire history of public service is one term in the senate.
Memo to Dems: Senators love running for President -- but Americans hate voting for senators. Fact of life. The only senators in history elected to the White House were JFK and (ugh!) Warren Harding. And we don't much care for lawyers, either -- which is what Clinton, Obama and Edwards really are.
Memo to Dems, Part 2: If the Republican disarray pays off, and you take power in '08, remember that you'll still have to govern. And yes, we know how good you all are at managing economic policy, education, and so forth; we even trust that you have some solid ideas about trade, hi-tech, and health care. But a big part of governing will involve the deployment of US troops in a way that projects American power while rebuilding at least a little bit of our shattered American prestige. Oh, and actually keeping us safe from a determined and decentralized enemy. That is not work for lawyers or senators (any more than it has been, obviously, for a baseball franchisee). It is work for a soldier.
So why don't you draft one?