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February 11, 2004

TNR: Hide All Sharp Pointy Things

Good lord but this TNR Campaign journal report - titled
DeathWatch - is depressing. Excerpt:
A few minutes later, Clark is in the back of the restaurant speaking about the war in Iraq to nine older women in a small private room. When I join the conversation, Clark is standing in the doorway forcefully explaining to one woman, "There are no terrorists in Iraq, ma'am." She doesn't seem persuaded. "You can shake your head ma'am but you should listen to me because I was a four-star general." Clark begins a long disquisition about Middle East policy, jumping from why the Bushes will never deal with Saudi Arabia ("They have had dealings with the Saudi Royal family for years and years and years") to the demographics of Iraq ("Shiites are about sixty to seventy percent of the population....In the North there are the Kurds"). The women stare at him. Clark pulls his Blackberry from his belt. "I got an e-mail from a guy today who is a Washington insider," he tells them. According to the guy, Iraq was just the first war in a string of coming Bush conflicts to transform the region. A woman, in the back of the room stands up. "General Clark," she says softly, politely, "this is actually a gardening meeting." Clark then talks to them about the environment before an aide whisks him out for lunch. "Thank you very much," he says. "I didn't mean to interrupt. I hope I didn't upset anyone." Clark's wife Gert walks into the room after the general's presentation. "You poor women," she says. She notes that Arkansas has the same climate as Tennessee and talks to them abut growing daffodils.

A little later Clark's trip to Noshville ends with the photo-op that every losing campaign must dread. Dennis Kucinich happens to be meeting supporters next door at J & J's café where he does an impromptu press conference with Clark's traveling press Asked if he's still single, Kucinich says, "campaigns are not really good for your social life," but "I want to thank all those American women for contacting me." We tell him that the general is next door, and Kucinich drops by to shake hands with Clark. Exit polls are pouring into reporters' Blackberries and cell phones, and they show Clark at about 15 percent in Tennessee and 10 percent in Virginia. The whole exercise of scraping up more votes here at Noshville seems pointless. It seems only appropriate that as the two candidates smile and backslap for the cameras that a man earnestly yells, "What about a Kucinich-Clark ticket?"

It'll be alright. It's over now Mr. Clark, you've escaped the dillusion. How about a nice cuppa tea?

On a slightly more serious note -- god it's hard to run for President. Who the hell wants it? Since it appears to be between Bush and Kerry, the answer is, not the right people. I felt the same in 2000. It was a lesser of two evils vote. I didn't know quite how "lesser evil" the one I voted for was, but ....