Steven Taylor reports the first of what will likely be several quibbles on the part of Wesley Clark as he makes the conversion from tabula rasa to political candidate:

Asked whether he had voted for Republicans along the way, Mr. Clark said, “I don’t even remember.” Had he voted for a Republican for president? “I imagine that I voted for Reagan at one time or another,” he said.

Clark is, if nothing else, a bright man. He’s also a highly political animal. That he can’t remember whether he voted for Reagan is absurd.

I’m not sure what’s to be gained by this approach, to be honest. I’d think he’d win a lot more points with, “Yes, I voted for Reagan, twice. Hell, I’ve always voted for the Republicans. Here’s why I’m now a Democrat. . . .”

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Exactly. It would have garnered him much positive feedback. Waffling makes you look like you are trying to hide something.

  2. Jem says:

    It’s interesting that in today’s WaPo article about him, almost none of his peers would go on record with their opinions about him–and that almost all of them found significant flaws in his leadership style (though none questioned his intellect). These opinions are consistent with what I’ve heard from mid-grade officers who worked with/for him (yes, they had individual contact with him and were not just observers from afar)–very smart, a real politico, and with a real streak of weirdness in his decisions.

    It’s especially amusing to read the comments about his “war” being successful. Most of the reasoned commentary I’ve heard/read concludes the effort was successful DESPITE Gen. Clark, not because of him. One of his great successes was to strike up a nice, friendly discussion with (and have a picture taken of himself wearing the hat of) noted war criminal Ratko Mladic…Mladic hadn’t been indicted yet, but was already a well-known figure. It’s the equivalent of having Marshall shown wearing Himmler’s hat in 1938.