SEPTEMBER 29, 2003 - Wesley Clark
"probably," as he puts it, voted for Nixon and Reagan. He also
voted for Clinton. During the early part of George W. Bush's
presidency, back in 2001, he gave a speech supporting President Bush's
tax cut plan and criticizing President Clinton's foreign policy
Now, Clark has entered the race to replace
President Bush as a Democratic presidential hopeful. And right
away Lieberman and Kerry - as well as some of the other Democratic
candidates - have taken to criticizing Clark for his past support of
This is the sort of typical partisan
nonsense that turns most people off from politics. Any
intelligent, good American chooses the candidate who is the best for
the country, regardless of which party they are affiliated with.
As we at The Moderate Independent have pointed out before, Lincoln was
a Republican, Jefferson a Democrat, and both were among the best
choices for President this country has ever seen.
But these Democrats are assailing Clark
for having sided with Republicans in the past, saying it shows he
can't fully represent opposition to the President, that he can't now
be a true Democrat since he is just a Johnny-come-lately. Not
only is this disgraceful, but it's stupid.
Isn't the point of politics to win people
over to your side? Lots of people believed in President Bush.
He says a lot of the right things. Many people believed in some
of his policies, believed when he said his tax cuts wouldn't cause
debts, would help the economy, believed when he said we had to attack
Iraq because it had so many WMD's, that the war would be short and we
didn't need international support, that it would be self-financing via
Iraq's oil. And now, many of these people are starting to think
otherwise. So shouldn't the Democrats be ecstatic? Isn't
their goal as would-be Presidents to help people come to see that
President Bush isn't trustworthy, that his policies are disastrous,
and that he is a horrible President?
Well, along comes Clark. He has seen
the light. He is a convert. And now he wants to join them.
It is one thing to question whatever
policies he puts forth now. But if these Democrats had any
brains they would be welcoming him with open arms, pointing to his
Republican past and recent support of President Bush - and his
subsequent conversion - as a role model for all those who are starting
to become disenchanted with the President. If the Democrats shun
him, mock him, and ostracize him because he was a Republican and a
Bushie, they will alienate and anger numerous people who are
considering following Clark's lead and bolting Bush and the
Republicans for the Democratic Party, or independents who supported
Bush but now want to look to the Democrats to provide a better leader.
The Democrats should be overjoyed and overwelcoming, avoiding partisan
labels and attacks, making the case that it is not about Democrat or
Republican, but about a bad President and good potential replacements.
But that is how we independents think.
No, Clark is not being welcomed. It is like an atheist who has
converted to Christianity who is mocked by his parish priest because
of his atheist roots. What person would not have their atheism
Clark supported President Nixon.
Clark supported President Reagan. He supported Clinton. He
supported the first President Bush. General Wesley Clark, by now
turning against what he once believed, turning against - and even
more, rising to take a stand against - the President he once supported
is not lesser than those who knew all along that Bush would be a
horrible disaster. Overcoming one's pride and switching courses
when you find the path you are on is the wrong one is the best trait a
President could have - sticking to failed policies because they happen
to be what "Republicans" or "Democrats" are supposed to think is what
makes for failures like Presidents Bush and Carter.
Clark has supported Democrats and
Republicans. And by showing that he makes his choices based on
what he thinks is best for America and not party affiliation, he has
shown himself to be in the best vein of us true independents.
General Clark should be held up by the Democratic hopefuls as a
shining example of how people can swallow their pride, accept reality,
and come on over and support a Democrat for next time.
So let the other Democrats keep mocking
and making issue of his past at their own peril. Though their
criticism may be successful in driving Clark out of their side of the
race, it will in the same way drive out many would-be Clark-like
converts who could have helped give them the strength they need to
beat a sitting President in time of war.