Monday, June 16, 2003

Maybe the Army's A Liberal Institution

Wesley Clark soloed on Meet The Press, yesterday. quite impressively. Tim? Tim was, well, Tim:

MR. RUSSERT: Tom DeLay, the Republican leader in the House, has been very critical of you and others, and this is the way he put it in his words: “Blow-dried Napoleons that come on television and in some cases have their own agendas. ...General Clark is one of them that is running for president.”
GEN. CLARK: Well, it’s a funny thing. You know, I mean, one of the greatest charges you can make against someone is, “Don’t listen to him because he has presidential aspirations.”

Good answer, don't you think?

Though a registered Democrat in Arkansas, the General was curiously hesitant to declare a party affliation, if he were to run. Less coyness, I think, than not letting himself get cornered by Russert. Clark did mention that he'd had discussions with both Republicans and Democrats. This answer to Russert's question about Clark's view of Bush's economic policy of all tax cuts all the time would seem to preclude a run for anything as a Republican, at least as the party is currently constituted:

MR. RUSSERT: What do you think of the Bush tax cuts? Would you have voted for them?
GEN. CLARK: Well, I would not have supported them, no.
MR. RUSSERT: Why not?
GEN. CLARK: Well, first of all, they were not efficient in terms of stimulating the kind of demand we need to move the economy back into a recovery mode, a strong recovery and a recovery that provides jobs. There are more effective ways of using the resources. Secondly, the tax cuts weren’t fair. I mean, the people that need the money and deserve the money are the people who are paying less, not the people who are paying more. I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation. In other words, it’s not only that the more you make, the more you give, but proportionately more because when you don’t have very much money, you need to spend it on the necessities of life. When you have more money, you have room for the luxuries and you should—one of the luxuries and one of the privileges we enjoy is living in this great country.

Pretty straight-forward endorsement of progressive taxation.

Clark was especially good on security and foreign policy issues; plan to do a separate post on that.

MR. RUSSERT: You and other former generals filed an amicus brief in support of the University of Michigan’s affirmative action plan.
GEN. CLARK: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you in part what the University of Michigan plan is. They award points to an applicant. If you get a 3.0-grade-point average you get 60 points. If have alumni or legacy parents, 4 points. A perfect S.A.T., 12 points. Athlete, 20 points. If you’re a minority, just for being black or Hispanic, you get 20 points. Many people say that’s not color blind. That is reverse discrimination. What’s your response?
GEN. CLARK: Well, I’m in favor of the principle of affirmative action. Whether that’s the right plan or not, and whether that should be 10 points, not 20 points, whether it should be, let’s say, an income level cutoff there at which you don’t get the points if you’re above a certain income, you can tool with the plan. But what you can’t have is you can’t have a society in which we’re not acknowledging that there is a problem in this society with racial discrimination. There is, there has been and the reason so many of us filed this brief is we saw the benefits of affirmative action in the United States armed forces. It was essential in restoring the integrity and the effectiveness of the armed forces.

Here's General Clark's answer to the question of whether he's in favor of that graceless "don't ask, don't tell" policy that Colin Powell, let us not forget, came up with to allow straights in the military to pretend they don't know that there are also gays in the military:

GEN. CLARK: I’m not sure that I’d be in favor of that policy. I supported that policy. That was a policy that was given. I don’t think it works. It works better in some circumstances than it does in others. But essentially we’ve got a lot of gay people in the armed forces, always have had, always will have. And I think that, you know, we should welcome people that want to serve...

Doesn't sound like a Republican to me.