Wes Clark

Very interesting that Wesley Clark has shot up to be the top Democratic contender just after announcing his candidacy. Here are the results from CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls over the last month.:

Candidate 9/19-21 9/8-10 8/25-26
Wesley Clark 22 10 2
Howard Dean 13 14 12
John Kerry 11 12 10
Dick Gephardt 11 16 13
Joe Lieberman 10 13 23
Bob Graham 4 5 4
John Edwards 4 5 5
Al Sharpton 4 2 4
Carol Moseley Braun 3 4 5
Dennis Kucinich 2 2 1
Other/None/No opinion 16 17 21

In a matchup with Bush, Clark does best (49-46) while Dean does worst (46-49) among the major Democratic contenders. (Yes, I know these numbers are too close to the 3.5% error margins.)

It seems Josh Marshall was right.

I think this [Clark’s candidacy] has the potential to turn the primary race completely upside-down. The Dean insurgency has almost completely defined the race to this point. At present, you can’t even call it an insurgency really since Dean is in fact the front-runner, by most reasonable measures. As I’ve written before, I think there’s a niche waiting to be filled just to Dean’s right. And the real mystery of the campaign so far is that none of the other contenders has managed to fill it and coalesce those who don’t support Dean behind their candidacy. Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards, Gephardt … none of them have managed it.

The Poor Man, who is a Clark supporter, must be very happy.

I usually have a bad reaction about generals in politics (a reflex action from my days in Pakistan) but as my friend John put it: A general who comes away from it all with some aversion to war is a good thing.1

Clark’s domestic policy positions are not well-known at this point. I’ll be keeping an eye out for his positions on issues.

The Democratic primaries has turned interesting now. Practically speaking, there are four major contenders: Clark, Dean, Kerry and Gephardt. Clark and Dean seem to be the top two guys right now but things could change before the primary season.

1 I am not a pacifist, but I prefer long careful thought in such things as war.

Categorized as Politics

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. Another interesting thing: It hasn’t hurt the Dean insurgency much. Instead, it’s sucked the air out of the other, formerly major candidates’ campaigns.

    And according to that poll, even Dean is in a statistical dead heat with Bush for the general election. Popular opinions are not electoral votes, but, still, that’s absolutely amazing. I hereby abjure further smack talk about his electability or lack thereof.

    It’s early days, non-political junkies are just starting to pay attention, and a lot could change. But it really looks to me as if this is the moment when the tide turns. My best guesses: Either Clark self-destructs, in which case Dean probably gets the nomination, and he faces a hard fight… but one that is actually winnable. Or Clark doesn’t self-destruct, and he crushes the Bush campaign like an insect.

  2. Matt:
    It hasn’t hurt the Dean insurgency much. Instead, it’s sucked the air out of the other, formerly major candidates’ campaigns.

    True. It seems Lieberman has lost the most. I think Liberman is actually finished. He had the name recognition from 2000 and if he’s trailing all the other major candidates now, he’s not going to make it.

    I think it is mostly going to be Dean Vs Clark now, but Kerry and Gephardt still have a little chance.

    The Bush Vs X numbers are abosultely amazing. All Democratic candidates are in a dead heat with Bush.

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  4. Not about economy this year but the security stupid. Clark can stand toe to toe with Bush on that.

  5. Janet: I actually think that Clark is much better than Bush on security. But that’s one part of a President’s policies and Clark wasn’t saying much about domestic issues. He still has some time though. We’ll see how well he does against Dean.

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