Clark’s Endorsement and a Personal Reflection

Pamela Leavey has written a factual and responsible story of Wes Clark’s endorsement of Senator Clinton. It is a seminal moment in her campaign as it has the potential to bring to her table many, many thousands of passionate Clark supporters.

New York Times Portrait

From my personal view today was heartbreaking. While I understand his choice, and agree she is qualified, it was still a shock to see him so firmly remove himself from contention. Why such a shock when he had done nothing to prepare an organization for the race?

Well, and this is perhaps too personal and Pamela will edit this post, I started with the Draft Clark movement just weeks after it started. I had done a lot of research. I read many of his profiles in all the magazines. I read many Op-Ed pieces and traced his education, service and committment to a reality based view of the world. I was sold. I was sold more than I had been in any campaign since Bobby Kennedy in 1968. That’s saying something, my friends.

Subsequently I had one heart attack in May 2003 and another in December that same year. I took zero time off my organizing activity, which was a full time unpaid effort at an executive level in SoCal, ignored the needed rehab and kept up the fight. I was more invested in Wes Clark at a foundational, emotional level than was healthy from a long term perspective. To some degree I am still paying the price today.

After John Kerry was the obvious nominee we needed to merge the small but passionate Kerry Operation in So Cal with the very organized and well staffed, overwhelmingly passionate Clark Organization. My health had deteriorated at that point. I knew I wasn’t up to the challenge of helping blend competing organizations. In fact, that spring I had three more angioplasties. Thank goodness I started writing (blogging at Political Dogfight and eventually started Political Interviews) and doing political consulting again rather than hitting the streets.

I’ve remained a firm Clark supporter and have met him several times. Senator Clinton picked up one helluva asset today if she and her leadership and effectively make use of his talents.

Should he be Vice President? I’ll be writing more on that topic another time. Today I needed to express my own feelings about the event. I hope this isn’t too personal and out of line.

I simply believe he’s the best thinker in American Politics today. Period.

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10 Responses to Clark’s Endorsement and a Personal Reflection

  1. Ellen Dana Nagler says:


    One of my good friends seemed incredulous today when, after not having a dog in this fight (I came to believe quite some time ago that Wes wasn’t going to run), I signed up with Hillary’s campaign here.

    She knows it’s not my style to do something just because someone else does it or says to do it. But I explained that this is different.

    Wes is the person in public life today I most respect. And thus where he leads I will follow.

    By the way, when long ago and early in the draft movement I started Santa Barbara for Clark, I immediately put up a website whose lead article was titled, “Not since Bobby…”

  2. Stuart ONeill says:

    I”m still ‘at sea’. Yes Wes does make a difference. Yes, I think Senator Clinton is likely to take the nomination.

    And yet I yearn for a time when all the candidates truly get their day in spotlight.

    Biden, Dodd and Edwards have earned the right to stay in this campaign and fight it out on the convention floor. I truly believe that’s a possibility. I’ll be writing about it soon.

    If it does happen it’ll be an exercise in real freedom from money and influence. Maybe…after I think it through some more I’ll be writing here. Of course I’ll let you know.

  3. Darrell Prows says:

    Maybe the question becomes what does Clark want Hillary to do that he worries will not get done without his playing a prominent role?

  4. profmarcus says:

    here’s what i wrote back to wes clark after receiving the email about his endorsement of hillary clinton…


    Dear General Clark,

    You have made a very serious mistake and I am sorely disappointed in your judgment. Hillary Clinton is about as compromised a candidate as they come and I thought that you, of all people, would be smart enough to recognize that. The only difference between Hillary Clinton and the Bush administration is the difference between covert and overt. Hillary will take us right down the same road we’re traveling right now, just as her husband did, only we will feel better along the way about what an “enlightened” choice we made in getting rid of the current band of criminals.

    Unfortunately, General Clark, your choice tells me more about you than it does about Hillary Clinton.

    In disgust,

  5. Stuart

    Great post. I know how much you had hoped that the General would run again and I know how much it hurts to not have your guy in the race… as we’ve talked about so many times since JK made the decision not to run again.

  6. Buzz says:

    Pamela, it doesn’t seem to me that profmarcus was expressing disappointment about either JK or Wes Clark not being in the race. Instead the point of his post was his obvious disgust over the general’s endorsement of Hillary. I totally agree with him! As I have stated in previous postings, I feel Hillary would be a poor nominee. She represent a continuation of the Bush/Clinton two family political dynasty. If Americans truly wants a monarchy, perhaps we should seek out Queen Elizabeth as a potential nominee!
    It should be obvious to anyone who has read up on Hillary that she has had a long time obsession with becoming president. I sincerely feel that even if she had caught Bill multiple times in bed with another woman, she still would have stayed married to him. Her sucessful bid at becoming a New York senator, has always been realistically seen as just another stepping stone to her ultimate goal. She seems to me, and many others, as a person who would sell her very soul to become president. I am not saying this because she in a woman. I backed Geraldine Ferraro as VP when she ran. She seemed to have the qualities to take over as president, if there had been a need. The very fact that I am mentioning these issues, means that the Republicans would have a field day if she was our nominee. All of the Clinton’s dirty laundry, which I had hoped we had put behind us, will again be re-visted.
    Barack Obama represents the best and ONLY chance for the democrats to regain the White House. He is young, charismatic, eloquent, knowledgeable, and, oh yes, experienced. I am aware that my choice remains an unpopular endorsement on this web site. When I have endorsed him previously, there has been little or no response.
    Hillary projects an often verified image of being power hungry, arrogant, and ill-tempered. Many fellow Democrats, who I know here in Delaware, feel the same. I unfortunately predict that if she is our nominee, it will come to represent our third consecutive defeat at regaing the White House.

  7. Buzz

    Stuart who wrote the post was expressing disappointment about Clark not running. “Profmarcus” left a comment disapproving of Hillary.

    I know a lot of people have issues with Hillary, but I think it is important to not confuse those issues with things the repoublicans have said about her for years. Regardless of who the nominee is, I plan to work my tail off to get that person elected. Democrats are stronger than they have been in a very long time and Hillary’s position in the polls keeps getting stronger. Like her or not, she’s a Dem who has actually done some good in the Senate.

    Both Hillary and Obama have the desire to be our next president, and whether that is a desire that stems from a long ways back in their history or not they are both viable candidates with a lot to offer. To many people Hillary seems more electable than Obama. Time will tell. Obama’s certainly all you say he is and more.

  8. Buzz says:

    Thanks, Pamela, I am in agreement with you. Either democratic candidate would be superior to anyone the republicans have to offer. I, like you, will work my tail off in support of our nominee, whom ever it may be. I think my personal preferance came off as sounding as if Hillary had nothing to offer. I grant that she is a truly knowledgeable woman that seems in touch with the needs of all. Let 08 be the be our year to retake!!!

  9. Interesting to read comments from (fellow) supporters of Clark’s 2004 campaign. That ’04 was personally inspiring, and I met several good people during it. Am I the only one to have felt, going into ’05, that WesPAC was indeed “the consolation prize”?

    But since I decided to become a Republican that year, of course I now view the General in a different light. Some critical comments are in yesterday’s post, if anyone’s interested.

  10. Darrell Prows says:

    Our current President just stumbled into the position. If he ever had any ambition, about anything, he has kept it very well hidden.

    I’d be willing to bet that Hillary doesn’t want to win any more than Obama does, and that both have pictured themselves in the Whitehouse since a very young age.