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Decoding the Obama-Clark Dis « The Washington Independent

Jul 31, 2020
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Barring a sudden change of plans in these final days before Denver, the Democrats are poised to write their most famous general — Wesley Clark — out of their most important gathering. Next week, they’ll devote an entire night of convention programming to demonstrating the party’s commitment to veterans and a strong defense — without a word from the only Democratic politician voters can name who actually commanded battalions in the field. It’d be like doing a global warming night without Al Gore — except imagine that presidential elections were decided on environmental issues.
Or forget four stars. Even by pure political calculus, Clark would still be a key convention speaker because he is one of the most popular and requestsfigures in the party. So what gives?
The major theories are that either the Obama campaign distrusts Clark because he is a longtime Clinton** **loyalistwho endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary, or that Obama aides soured on Clark after he madethe factual observationthat Sen. John McCain’s service is not a qualificationto be president, and refusedto back down.
Dissing Clark based on either argument would be a vindictive mistake. First, the convention is about unity — as the Obama campaign has repeatedly said — and a leader who aims to unite the nation had better be able to bring together the wings of his own party. Second, wherever one falls on the McCain criticism — I argued Clark was right on the facts and politically smart to put McCain on defense — it was a skirmish over tactics. So even if Obama’s aides felt Clark was mistaken and off-message, it was a reasonable dispute over how to tackle a shared goal. If that is grounds for convention muzzling, half the Democratic caucus couldn’t net speaking roles.
One recurring critique of activism directed toward a nominee, from lobbying the platform to criticizing a given decision, is that the activism automatically detracts from the campaign’s efficacy, or drains resources that should be focused on defeating the opponent. That complaint is not only simplistic, since it presumes that all political activity is binary (it only helps or hurts). It is also elitist, because it assumes that the people running a campaign have already perfectly divined its best interests and cannot benefit from public input. If Sen. Barack Obama is actually about to follow through on a plan to shut one of party’s most popular military figures out of his nominating convention, he would clearly be making a political mistake — likely rooted in some petty intramural history. Maybe this week, his supporterscan show him a better way.
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

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Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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