Found: Life & Art Fray!

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Jan. 10 2003 12:57 AM

Ex-Army, Ex-Armey, Ex-Fed

The Fray's faint praise for Dick Armey and Wesley Clark.

Now, where did I put that Fray?: For people who want to discuss the Jason Zinoman's Benedict Arnold  article the Life & Art Fray is here. We'll get the page fixed soon ...

**** (Blue State movie): With Daschle out, and the Howard Dean juggernaut still idling, it seems time to assess Wesley Clark. The_Slasher, whose campaign-related posts are required reading (and whose talking points  on the Bush economic plan should be plagiarized by the left) points out that things won't be easy for Clark, should he run:

Fifteen minutes after a general like this throws his hat into the ring as a Democrat, Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, Monthly Review, and at least 200 post-ers in this medium will discover that he's really a wimp and will invent scandals which he'll have to spend the next three years explaining … When Colin Powell thought about running, they made his wife's medications an issue, for Christ's sake.

What can Clark expect? JACKEM has a three-pronged critique of Clark here (the words are his; the bullets mine):

  1. Prior to Clinton arriving on the scene Clark was fairly well disliked within the Army because of his rather imperious style and known as something of a screamer, like Barry McCaffrey. Clark would never have made four stars without Clinton;
  2. Clark's tactical concepts in Bosnia were short sighted;
  3. It is VERY unusual to see a member of the professional military who is a democrat/liberal as the job tends to produce experiences that foster a conservative outlook … Could it be expediency?

WatchfulBabbler agrees that Clark's imperiousness could be his Achilles' heel, but contendsthat

  1. Clark was fast-tracked well before Clinton arrived on the scene -- you don't run NTC if you're simply marking time in the GO corps.
  2. In Bosnia, Clark agitated for deeper U.S. involvement in the area. He alienated the casualty-averse White House with his "boots on the ground" arguments, which led first to snafus like the problems Clark had getting Apaches deployed to the region, and eventually led to his being replaced with AF General Joseph Ralston
  3. In Little Rock, it's been said of him that he used to think he was a Republican, until he met some. Whatever this says about party politics, Clark is likely to maintain a fairly conservative worldview, especially on international matters, where he's widely seen as a hawk.

(Ditto on the bullets. I wanted to call this section Acronymony, squishing acronym and acrimony, but it comes out looking like a Common Cause cover of an old Tommy James & the Shondells song, so forget it.) …

Praising with faint praise: News that Dick Armey really will be a lobbyist and not a valiant struggler for civil liberties disappointsRetief, but not much:

It is a pity that Armey's misguided attempt to make himself seem more nomble than he is being is taking up so much attention, because he actually has a pretty strong record of fighting to protect civil liberties against Bush and Ashcroft, that ought to redound to his credit.

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