December 01, 2003


This is, shall we say, a stretch: Clark's New Ad Is on Domestic Record

Democrat Wesley Clark had never sought or held elective office until his bid for the presidency, but a commercial that begins airing Tuesday in New Hampshire highlights what his campaign says is his record on domestic issues.

In the 30-second spot, an announcer says that the retired Army general "fought for better schools and better health care for those he led because it was the right thing to do."

Bill Buck, a Clark spokesman in New Hampshire, said the ad refers to Clark's work as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, when his duties included overseeing a school system in Europe for soldiers and their families and ensuring they had adequate medical benefits.

So he has a "domestic policy record" by dint of his service in the military overseas? I don't see this flying, to be honest.

Posted by Steven at December 1, 2003 04:27 PM | TrackBack

It may not fly, but the fact is that senior commanders (especially installation commanders) are, as part of their jobs, like mayors of towns--they have all the same sorts of things to take care of. For example, a police force (Security/Military Police, Shore Patrol), public works department (Civil Engineering, with housing, trash pickup, etc.), public transportation, food service, etc.

Posted by: Jem at December 1, 2003 05:57 PM

I don't deny the administrative skills required, nor that he has learned skills of use whilst in the military. However, being a base commander, while like a mayor in a lot of ways, is very much not like a mayor in others. One simple contrast, for example: a mayor has to be elected, and re-electd. Not to mention that a military base is a far more controlled (and controlable) environment than is a city.

It really isn't that good of an analogy if the goal is to claim real domestic policymaking experience. The best he can claim is domestic public administration experience, which is quite a different thing.

Posted by: Steven at December 1, 2003 06:38 PM

I give the guy credit. The military is drenched in politics. If you want to create/alter any policy that's going to affect the budget, you have to do similar pushing and deal-making to get it through.

Posted by: Mark at December 3, 2003 05:01 AM

If you take a look at domestic policy proportionally, or numbers-wise if you will, Dean's domestic policies cover a statistically small range, numerically, demographically and racially. His state has barely over 600,000 population and is predominantly white. The city of Portland, Oregon has a far more diverse population and a larger one. Dean's domestic record of success that is touted on his site, when taken in context of the demographics of the state, is pretty insignificant, imho of course.

Posted by: frolanka at December 5, 2003 09:13 PM

Being Governor, however, even in a homogenous state, is different than being a military commander.

Of course, my comments weren't specifically directed at Dean v. Clark, but at the idea that Clark can claim "domestic" policy experience. He can claim administrative skills, yes, and important ones, but not true domestic policy experience.

Posted by: Steven at December 5, 2003 09:55 PM
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