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November 16, 2003



I think the problem with Clark is a tendency to repeat rumors. That's his evidence for the Fox charge. He was not a candidate when he said it, incidentally. That's what happened with a) as well. He talked to his general friend about Bush's plan (and the plan as described does not sound so terribly unlikely), and then felt the need to repeat these allegations.
As for b) he really never said the White House was behind the calls. He made 2 statements: Bush would like to link Iraq to 9/11 and a Canadian think tank called him asking to support these links. AFAIK, he never said Bush controlled the think tank.

So he's not kooky, he's just overly candid about things people tell him. Personally, I think it would be nice to have someone honest in the white house for a change.

Julia Grey

TM, PLEASE read the earlier Meet the Press transcript regarding the think tank phone call. You can't say that "stripped down," Clark is saying that "the White House was behind" the phone call he received from the Canadian think tank (identified by name and individual on this morning's Meet the Press).

He did not in any way say in the earlier interview that the specific phone call he was referring to was from the White House or even instigated by the White House. That idea was promoted by that gross rearrangement of the transcript text by George Will. I therefore don't consider this incident the slightest evidence of craziness. Not even a minor weirdness.

I know you like to get your facts right, and you read original material well and carefully. I implore you to do it again here.

Oh, and Clark was also asked this morning about his claim that the White House tried to get him removed from CNN. He stuck by it, and said that he couldn't say who told him because it would get people in trouble. He maintains that he wouldn't have said it if it wasn't true. Okay, yeah, he's gonna have to say that, of course. Still.

Think what you like (and I know you will ;-), but frankly it's not necessarily a loony possibility. Come on. Think about it. If they'll stoop to trying to smear a guy by saying his CIA wife got him a job, they COULD have made an attempt to get Clark's air time reduced or his job downsized.

Why is the idea so far beyond beyond belief that you can just snap your fingers and write it off as unthinkable?

I think the core of the Republican strategy in 2004 is going to be to paint the Dem, whoever he is, as

1) a social liberal of irresponsible proportions

2) a "flip-flopper" of no principle (always a goodie, and especially useful in this era of "gotcha" politics) or

3) mentally unstable.

There's some ammunition on the first 2 for Clark, but most of it has little emotional resonance with the electorate, so they're going to be pushing this last one very very hard.

You've also got to take into account that much of the electorate thought Perot was funny looking, and that made them more willing to believe that he was a little "off."

To most ordinary Americans, though, Clark isn't going to LOOK like he could be crazy, no matter how much the idea gets pushed by the Republicans. When you watch the guy answering questions on Meet the Press, it's just hard to believe he's unhinged.

Alex Parker

I've been patiently waiting for the right entry point into this debate, but I'm convinced that my time passed a while ago, so I'm just going to make a point here, and you guys can continue to debate Clark's mental condition.


CHARGE: Wesley Clark doesn't want to fight any war that coincides with American interests.

EVIDENCE: There doesn't seem to be any other explanation as to why the Kosovo conflict was justified and the American conflict wasn't despite the fact that neither was condoned by the U.N. Security Council.

COUNTER-ARGUMENT: The legal justification for the Kosovo conflict under the NATO charter, not the Security Council. That may be shaky, but it is an explanation. There is a world of difference between using a pre-existing alliance, and using a hastily-thrown-together "coalition of the willing."

CHARGE: Mark Kleiman and others unfairly characterized Glenn Reynold's above point as attacking Gen. Clark's character.

EVIDENCE: Reynolds claims that he was not attacking Gen. Clark's patriotism, just his judgement.

COUNTERARGUMENT: Reynolds doesn't just say that Clark is wrong on this particular issue, he pretty clearly implies that, to Clark, any defense of U.S. interests is "evil."

Is it possible to think that your country has no right to self-defense, but still be a patriot?

Let's see what

Alex Parker


Tom, you're stupid comments engine ruined my ingenius argument!!!!

Actually, it was probably my fault.

Here is what got chopped off in my last post:

Let's see what Mr. Webster thinks about it:

patriot: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

Hmmm...those dictionaries get more and more useful these days.

Paul Zrimsek

Tom did agree that Clark's remark about the phone call was widely misinterpreted. But the reason this happened has nothing to do with George Will; it was because Clark said it in exactly the spot where you'd have expected him to provide some sort of support for his accusations that (1) those promoting the idea of a 9/11-Iraq link were working in concert, and (2) that the White House was among them.

If I say, "I sure do seem to get bitten a lot. Why, just last week Hillary Clinton bit me on the leg. I could show you the tooth marks," people are going to jump to the conclusion that the tooth marks are Hillary's without any help from bowtie-wearing columnists.


Nice analogy Paul - and you should get bonus points for the visual image.


Gentlemen, I appreciate the defense, and I will be amused by the image if Hillary swimming with sharks for the rest of the day, but Julia is right about "...the White House was behind it".

And actually, I was shocked when I went back and checked - I was sure I had written "the White House was everywhere...", which had a suitably paranoic quality to it, and seemed to capture his remarks. Brain lock by me, darn it.

And whether or not it is part of a VRWC media manipulation, I heard a very interesting exchange between Chris Matthews and Don Imus this morning.

Chris Matthews was talking about a recent appearance by Gen. Clark, and how he hones in on minor details about people that may reveal some deeper truth, and he said, roughly, "the guy doesn't blink. We were staring at the videotape in the studio, and he must have gone two or three minutes between blinks. What's that about?"

To which Don Imus replied, "He's a psychopath".

And We Will Know It Is Over When: Clark has a press conference denouncing the evil conspiracy to spread rumors about his wacko belief in evil conspiracies.

Should be fun - sort of like Bush trying to prove he is not a moron.


What I find funny is that the people who keep on saying "Clark never said that the phone call he received from 9/11 was from the White House" are the very same people who say "it doesn't matter if the Bush Administration ever said the words 'imminent threat'... what else could 'mushroom cloud' mean?"

If it's implied, well, then, it's implied!


Clark now has a long pattern of repeating rumors as fact now. Not ready for prime time...

Julia Grey

Don Imus calls everybody a psychopath at one time or another. Or a moron, or an idiot, or something horrible.

A month or two later, when they do something cool, he likes them again.

I love Imus because if you listen to him over time, none of it coheres, but he can SOUND awfully sensible even as the goo is sliding down the walls. Marvelous talent, that.

As for Matthews, is he really reduced to talking about how much someone blinks? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hey, Lardball, what if I were to make some invidous remarks about how your eyelids droop kinda funny? Surely that's GOTTA mean something about your mental state. And that foaming-at-the-mouth thing you've got going on...RABID, MAN!!

(Wait. On second thought, re: the low-volume Clark blinking, maybe we should look up one of those old body language studies that claimed to prove that people who blink a lot are liars. HAH!)


I love Imus because if you listen to him over time, none of it coheres, but he can SOUND awfully sensible even as the goo is sliding down the walls. Marvelous talent, that.

I am simultaneously delighted and unsettled that Ms. Grey is a regular reader.


You should read her blog to see why she REALLY supports Clark, though ;).

Julia Grey

whistling, looking at the ceiling


Shucks, I can't whistle when I'm laughing.

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