Josh Marshall and Dan Drezner have somewhat competing views on Wesley Clark’s viability as a late entrant into the Democratic nomination fray. Josh believes there is a vacuum in the necessary “anybody but Dean” role whereas Dan
thinks the Democratic coalition is too fragmented to coalesce around a viable candidate, although he hopes he’s wrong.
Personally, I agree with Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum that Clark is essentially a blank slate, upon which Democrats longing for a strong contender can create their dream candidate. Otherwise, I can’t explain the Clark insurgency. He’s clearly bright and presumably has excellent leadership skills; you don’t rise to command of NATO otherwise. But he has no obvious charisma. Unlike, say, Colin Powell or Norman Schwarzkoft, Clark was a rather lackluster administrator over a rather unexciting war. Indeed, until people started touting him for president, I hadn’t thought about him in some time. And, frankly, he’d not been on my list of the top hundred viable candidates for president.
Update (1217): The anti-Clark attacks are already coming. Jeff Quinton has the details.
Update (1244): C.D. Harris reports that Clark is doing a Perot:
“The White House actually back in February apparently tried to get me knocked off CNN and they wanted to do this because they were afraid that I would raise issues with their conduct of the war,” Clark told Newsradio 620 KTAR. “Apparently they called CNN. I don’t have all the proof on this because they didn’t call me. I’ve only heard rumors about it.”
Uh huh. I suppose they threatened to disrupt his daughter’s wedding, too.