Pros and Cons: Wesley Clark as Obama’s Running Mate

ImageIn this edition of Pros and Cons we take a look at Wesley Clark whose name often gets mentioned when the subject of Clinton supporters who could be Barack Obama’s running mate is discussed. We’ll take a look at who Wesley Clark is and what he might bring to the ticket.

Resume: Wesley Clark is a retired Army four star general who spent 34 years in the military. Clark is a graduate of West Point and a Rhodes Scholar. He rose to national prominence as Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997-2000. Clark was the commander of Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo war. Previously Clark was the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1994-1996.
He was also a presidential candidate in 2004.

Clark currently runs a political action committee called wesPAC: Securing America that supports Democratic candidates. He campaigned heavily for Democratic candidates during the 2006 election. Clark has worked for all three cable news networks as a military analyst, and can be seen currently on MSNBC.

Pros to Selecting Clark : Clark is a Son of the South. (He was born in Chicago, but lives in Arkansas). He may be able to appeal to Southern white voters due to this and his national security credentials. Clark has been a highly visible supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary campaign. He campaigned for her in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Ohio. He even appeared in a Clinton campaign commercial touting her experience. Clark is very popular with Clinton supporters, and would help ease their transition towards supporting Obama in the fall campaign.

Cons to Selecting Clark: In many ways Clark is a less experienced version of Jim Webb. He was at times painful to watch on the stump in 2004, and his knowledge of issues that aren’t military based is extremely limited. In 2004, Clark had a respectable finish in New Hampshire, and won Oklahoma, but he wasn’t able to do better than third in places like Tennessee and Virginia. For a Southerner, he seems to have very little southern appeal. If national security issues don’t dominate the fall campaign, Clark has little to offer the ticket.

Odds of Obama Selecting Clark: With each passing week, it is looking more and more like domestic issues are going to be the focus of the fall campaign. When the political scene was dominated by 9/11 and Iraq, Clark would have been a wise choice. However, Clark doesn’t seem to be the kind of running mate who will be out there with Obama talking about the economy in 2008. I have always thought that if Clark wants to be in national politics, he would be best served to run for Congress. He isn’t ready for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The Choice-O-Meter Says:

OO (2 Os for Wesley Clark)

1 O= No Chance – 10 Os = A Sure Thing

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