Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Gen. Wesley Clark appeared on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" last night. While the Democratic nomination process has been endlessly entertaining so far, I've been conflicted in trying to decide which candidate is the most cynically calculated, soulless power-monger--Clark or John Kerry?

I had been leaning toward Kerry again lately with his ridiculous motorcycle entrance on Leno and his hokey attempt to seem hip by dropping the "F" bomb in Rolling Stone magazine.

Still, it's hard to overcome the cynicism of Gen. Clark, considering his vast body of documented statements from only a few months ago in support of the war, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and the entire Bush administration. Last night, my pendulum swung back towards him as he insisted on "Hardball" that Osama Bin Laden, when caught, needs to be tried in international court at the Hague, rather than in the U.S.

After all, he insisted, "80 other nations lost citizens in that strike on the World Trade Center. It was a crime against humanity, and he needs to be tried in international court."

Even the Democrat Matthews, recognizing pure idiocy when he hears it, coudn't stomach this.

"Well, 3,000 Americans were killed here. Do you believe he should be held exempt from capital punishment, because if you send him to Hague he will be. They don’t have capital punishment at the Hague," Matthews pointed out.

At which point Clarks eyes seemed to roll into the back of his head, and he shorted out. He looked like a deer in headlights. An eternity seemed to pass before he could formulate an answer, as it dawned on him that if anyone were watching (unlikely on MSNBC these days), he had probably just blown his presidential campaign.

"I think that's a seperate issue," he finally protested, weakly. He then blathered on about how there were more important things than retribution, and that we needed to look at the bigger international picture in the war on terror. But Matthews, to his credit, wouldn't let it drop. Here's the verbatum exchange from the MSNBC transcript:
MATTHEWS: But doesn’t life in Holland beat life in a cave?

CLARK: Not in a Dutch prison. Chris, they’re under water, they’re damp, they’re cold, they’re really miserable.
And if that doesn't make them really, really miserable, we'll send them to bed without dessert.

If I were the other Democrats, I'd be using that soundbite in every ad against Clark. If, that is, anyone even still sees him as a threat. Which they don't.

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