Then Gen. Wesley Clark would be running for the Republican nomination for president in 2004. After reading Clark's remarks at a fund-raiser for the Pulaski County Republican Party in May 2001, I can't comprehend how a man who graduated first in his class at West Point and was a Rhodes scholar can make what is a nothing less than a tectonic philosophical shift in just two years.
You see, in the Cold War we were defensive. We were trying to protect our country from communism. Well guess what, it's over. Communism lost. Now we've got to go out there and finish the job and help people live the way they want to live. We've got to let them be all they can be. They want what we have. We've got some challenges ahead in that kind of strategy. We're going to be active, we're going to be forward engaged. But if you look around the world, there's a lot of work to be done. And I'm very glad we've got the great team in office: men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condolzeezza Rice, Paul O'Neill--people I know very well--our president, George W. Bush. We need them there, because we've got some tough challenges ahead in Europe.
It's important to note that Clark said this before 9/11, before the country rallied behind the president. The Democrat faithful were still challenging the president's legitimacy. The economy was beginning to really feel the recession and President Bush was pushing for tax cuts. And yet, here is the Democrat-candidate-to-be full of praise for the current administration.
So what has changed in the last two years? Well, Bush has begun to look politically vulnerable, Democrats weak, and an opportunistic and ambitious Clark sees an chance for higher office.
Clark is a chameleon; he changes his political beliefs to blend in with his chosen surroundings. It should come as no surprise that he is surrounded by former Clinton supporters -- the president who made most every decision based on the results of some public opinion poll.
If Democrats decide on Clark, they're getting the candidate they deserve.