If this pans out, it will be huge news for Arkansas Democrats. Jason Tolbert and Max Brantley have already alluded to this, but the hot rumor in the second district is that General Wesley Clark, former commander of NATO and a former 2004 presidential candidate, is being talked up for a run against Tim Griffin. I’m fairly out of the loop these days-no time to keep up with the news like I used to-but I got word on this from a good source that said some high ups in the Democratic Party have approached Clark with the idea and that he hasn’t ruled it out. That’s big news in and of itself, as Clark’s return to politics has been considered long overdue by many and he was mentioned briefly for the seat in 2010 but chose to stay out.
Clark brings to the table a ton of positives and no real negatives that I can think of. There’s the top military profile, the record of heroism going back to Veitnam, the name recognition from his presidential run, he’s someone progressives can get behind and he’d still have broad appeal to more conservative voters, he’d have a huge fundraising list and a national profile, plus he’s got charm and personality. Clark is in his sixties but is still physically fit and active by all accounts. In short, he’s the kind of first rate candidate that could take out Tim Felon. So again, lots of positives, what about the negatives?
Tolbert, for his part, suggests that running for Congress would be a step back in Clark’s extensive military and post-presidential campaign career. Thing is most soldiers I know understand that service is service and is honorable no matter what the capacity. Beyond that, he suggests that Clark’s past statements may come back to haunt him, namely the fact that he said Bin Laden should be tried in an international criminal court. Well, if suggesting that letting the world try the most wanted terrorist of the 21st century, the man that Tim Griffin’s boss decided wasn’t worth his time after he killed thousands of people on 9/11 and left for President Obama to take out, should stand trial before the world for crimes against people of countless nationalities going back a couple of decades is what the Republicans think will make for good campaign fodder then by all means let’s do this. Because then we get to come back and ask why the Bush Justice Department Griffin briefly worked for before being shown the door over his illegal vote caging activities was more interested in spying on American citizens than catching terrorists. So yeah, no down sides that I can see.
As it stands, Congress’s approval rating is in the toilet. Republicans are either on the verge of nominating a flip flopping caricature of a politician who will no doubt proof to be even worse a candidate than he appears on paper or a totally unelectable extremist which right now seems more likely. The writing is on the wall-2012 is going to be an implosion for Republicans. As I see it, if Clark wants this, it’d be a damn good move on his part.