I've decided to support Wesley Clark for president. I'm registered as an independent, but I think Clark is the best candidate.
I'll probably have more to say about why I think we need a vigorous debate during this presidential campaign, and why I think our country needs a credible and effective challenger to President Bush. But for now, let me concentrate on why I think Clark is the best candidate.
He can win
The person facing off against President Bush in November 2004 will be challenging a war-time president. Anti-war candidates lose against war-time presidents, for good reason: we want to feel safe. Victorious, post-war presidents are vulnerable, but President Bush will still be fighting a war in November.
General Wesley Clark is the only candidate with the experience and credentials to stand up to a war-time president and say credibly, there is another way to fight this war. When President Bush says in a debate, "I'm fighting for the security of all Americans -- what have you done lately?", Wesley Clark is the only one who can answer, "I've fought wars too, and there's another way."
The other Democratic candidates are all public servants and deserve our respect. Some with very notable and impressive careers serving the public in the military and elected office. With all respect, I don't think they can successfully challenge President Bush on this very simple, visceral issue.
He has vision
The very first thing Clark posted on his campaign web site was his 100 Year Vision. He clearly wrote this himself, and I think it was a slightly risky and courageous thing to do. In a time when most people focus on 100-day plans, he is the only candidate with a real, optimistic vision for our country. Risky, because some people might have said he wasn't in touch with the concerns of today. Courageous, because despite the political risks, we need leadership that understands America's place in history, and is not afraid to say so.
He understands the leading role America plays in the world. He understands we have a responsibility to help create the kind of world we want to our grandchildren to live in. He understands that Americans want to be looked up to as a respected leader in the world, not feared as a neighborhood bully.
He respects the individual and asks for sacrifice
He knows we missed an opportunity after September 11th to ask our fellow Americans to be prepared for sacrifice in service to our country. After the attacks, we were all ready for sacrifice. We just needed to be asked. Instead of being asked, we were given a massive tax cut (mostly for the wealthy) and told to go out and buy a new TV. Call me cynical, but I don't think that's what most Americans have in mind when they think of sacrifice for their country.
He values diversity as an asset, not something to grudgingly tolerate. He wants to tap into that diversity, to help all of us "develop our human potential."
He is the only candidate "drafted" by a movement of individuals not organized by a campaign committee. He understands the power people have when they connect around a shared passion and make their voices heard.
He understands how to lay a foundation
He understands the proper role of government: laying the foundation for our nation to continue to develop its full potential. Stated another (computer geek-like) way, he understands that government is about building a platform. Citizens build their "applications" on top of that platform.
He has said he wants to institute a culture of transparency and accountability in government. Given the current climate, this is critically important, and is part of laying a foundation. He wants to do more to help everyone reach their potential: through a framework of opportunities, or direct assistance when necessary. Again, more foundation. And, he believes in providing everyone with equal access to information and to all branches of our government. Foundation. It's all about the platform.
That's why I'm supporting Wesley Clark for president.
I'm a registered non-partisan voter, so I can't vote in the primaries in my state of Nevada. If you are a Democrat, or in a state with open primaries, please take a closer look at Clark.
And please continue the conversation with your friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers. We all have an important role to play in laying the foundation for our democracy.