Obama’s VP: Wes Clark or Jim Webb? DKos diary, 5/18/08
A recent article in the Washington Post says top fundraisers for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been privately getting together to converge the two teams. It claims there are growing reports that the only way to repair the rift between the two parties is for Obama to pick a top
“There’s a gale-force pressure for Obama to choose a Clinton loyalist as a running mate to heal the party but avoid putting her and her formidable baggage on the ticket,” said one Obama ally in Washington. “You hear the names (Ohio Gov. Ted) Strickland, (Indiana Sen. Even) Bayh, and (retired Gen.) Wes Clark almost constantly, and it’s no secret that Jim Johnson and Tom Daschle are purveyors of that wisdom.”
In making his decision, Obama might consider the importance of the historic moment. As he has been called a transitional candidate, so we are today in a transitional awakening – a springpoint of historical dimensions.
The candidate chosen should be one who intuitively saw the contours of that transition coming, as President Bush and his agents embarked on a misplaced adventure in
The Democrats have taken that path; incrementally at first and now in the mainstream. Democratic policy today on Iraq as it is expressed by Obama can been seen to have historical process and path from September, 2003 when Wesley Clark joined the 2004 race for President, to June, 2007 when Clark’s position on Iraq became the mainstream of the Democrats.
There is no doubt that the current breach in the Democratic Party could be fatal in November, so the question of Obama’s VP is a vital one.
But it is equally important to pick the candidate who will rise with the times and carry the generations with him. And generations here today are more important than region. As VP, Strickland, Bayh or even Ed Rendell, Gov. of PA would help Obama with regions which have been reading unfavorable to him, but – Rendell aside – some of the figures mentioned to bring regional balance and detente with the Clintons are benign Democratic figures and the thinking here goes perhaps: Let’s get a Hillary supporter but a benign one who would be seldom scene and will make no complaints – in the corporate parlance, it would be throwing a bone to the Clintons.
It is always a mistake to do this for in every situation we should strive to pick the best and the brightest among us; even with our enemies, the best and the brightest in opposition make us stronger and better. But in this grouping, General Clark should be the first and only choice considered.
Clark began to conform to the
But that was then and this is now. We are today at the critical Millennial Makover, as authors Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais say in a recent book of that title (Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics). The generation which is rising now will continue to rise and create policy – create our world – into the next 30 years. The overall inclinations of this generation can be found daily here at Daily Kos. It is a harbinger and barometer of that generation’s hopes and yearnings, and that generation’s clear choice is Barack Obama. So what grows here in 2008, will continue to grow and flower into its own political eco system.
It is no secret that Senator Clinton has little support here. As DKos founder, Markos Moulitsas, recently pointed out, she has never registered above 11 percent in a monthly DKos poll of readers.
Thinking generationally seems to come more easily to the artist, monk and poet. It bugs most statisticians, political scientists and objective analysts because it finds its judgments not by specific causality of one event to the next, but by the study of parallel events and alternating events over extremely long periods of time; hundred-years intervals of thousand-year historical movements. But generations are history’s engine. Consider it this way: Imagine inviting Perry Como to have a role in The Beatles, so as to not hurt his feelings or those of his fans. It just doesn’t work, and bringing in the wrong
But not Wes Clark. As Senator Clinton’s approval ratings were hovering around zero here two years ago, General Clark’s was sky high. He has always been a favorite of the new generation and it was a web-based campaign which originally urged him to run in 2004. He was, with Mark Warner, the first prominent politician to appear at the first Yearly Kos, and all Presidential contenders would follow at the next.
So whatever else is taken into consideration, Wesley Clark would satisfy the needs of the Party and the new generation.
But Jim Webb, the Senator from
“Ronald Reagan's former Secretary of the Navy's got a new campaign book out -- A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America -- and he is undoubtedly aware of the fact that he's currently topping salon.com Obama Veepstakes" survey.”
Jim Webb is certainly qualified to be President and VP on the First Tier as a former Secretary of the Navy and certainly one of the most versatile and creative individuals ever to enter the Senate. As a well-known author, Webb would pull in the Salon crowd but Obama already has them. Speculation is that as a rural Virginian he would help Obama with voters there. But there is nothing Webb brings to the southeast side of the Smokies and the Blue Ridge that a Southern General doesn’t bring as well.
Clark appeals to the South, the East, the West and the Great White North, and as a generational figure, he links time past with the future. There is a new generation of Democrats rising: Webb, Clark, Kathleen Sebelius, Mark Warner, John Lynch here in NH, hooking up with the Old School and the Wise, including Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren of Oklahoma. All of these will converge around Obama into a new kind of Democratic Mandala.
Clark, in his great support for veterans in the '06 race, has already altered the climate of the Democratic Party, bringing a strength of character and a patriotism to Democrats that we have not fully experienced in the most recent years. He should be Obama's first choice in this matter.