"I will not accept that nomination," Clark said.
I am not the blogger covering General Wesley Clark's campaign in our continuing Left Coaster series on the Democratic Presidential candidates, but I have something to say about this:
"I'm running to be the president of the United States, not the vice president, and I will not accept that nomination," Clark said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
General, your ego is showing.
IMHO, no Democratic candidate - not Braun, Sharpton, Lieberman, Kerry - none of them - should be refusing the VP spot at this time for the following reasons.
(NOTE: While I use masculine pronouns exclusively below, this is not intended to slight Ms. Braun's gender or prospects, nor any other woman's. I find it gets cloying using "his/her" and "s/he" all the time, and thus detracts from the intended message. I apologize in advance if anyone finds this practice offensive.)
First, the primary season is just beginning. The people of America have not yet had their say. There is no way yet to determine WHO the nominee will be. Just because Dean is ahead right now doesn't mean he will win the nomination. Only the voters can determine who the candidate will be.
Second, the Democratic candidates have shown profusely that their egos mean more to them than the good of the nation. This has been one of the main problems with Kerry and Gephardt and Lieberman in particular IMO, but not exclusively. An egotism charge could be laid at the feet of any of the candidates if one wishes to make the case.
There is nothing wrong, per se, with a candidate having a strong ego. Where I draw the line is when the ego becomes more important than anything else in the candidate's mind.
I had higher hopes for Clark, figuring that his military career might have taught him something about ego, but I guess I was mistaken.
Third, if a candidate truly wishes to serve his nation, then he accepts the role requested of him - and his ego can like it.
If anyone in America ever had a reason to allow ego to rise to the fore to supplant a citizen's duty to his country, I feel no one had a better case than George Washington, who rose above personal selfishness and left his beloved Mount Vernon to serve the nation he helped create in spite of his personal preference not to. He felt that his duty to honor the request of his nation to serve as President superceded any personal feelings to the contrary.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson shared similar feelings. Each left behind a comfortable life and served the nation, not only as President, but as Ambassadors in Europe for many years before elected President.
Let's look at a specific reason why Clark has a duty to the nation to accept the VP nomination if offered:
Avoiding direct attacks on Democratic front-runner Howard Dean, Clark agreed that the former Vermont governor lacked foreign policy expertise and added that "at this time" the Democratic party can't afford "to field a candidate who can only deal with the (domestic) challenges" facing the nation.
General, no other Democrat candidate has as wide a foreign experience as you have had. Your experience would be very valuable to the nation, especially after the predations of the Arbusto-PNAC-Haliburton Gang. You have had good relations with Europe through your position as NATO commander, you know the Balkans better than anyone in America, your military service trumps everything the Bush (mis)Administration can show, and you are in an excellent position to explain to the American people just what the PNAC New World Order will mean to us.
There is nothing to prevent whichever Democrat might become President from giving you the International portion of the Presidential duties as your responsibility. As I recall, Bill Clinton and Al Gore had a similar arrangement of this sort. The job is far too huge to be the sole responsibility of just one man, especially on a day-to-day basis.
Are you really so petty as to allow what you would perceive as a personal slight - not selecting you as the front-runner - to keep you from serving your country, and by extension the entire world - as the Vice-President?
If this is so, then I don't care how qualified you are - I don't want you in any capacity in MY government.
If the gratification of personal status is more important to you than anything else, how can you be trusted with power? We already have someone who qualifies as an egomaniac in the Oval Office now. We cannot afford another.
There is still time to reconsider, General. You spent your life in the military doing your duty as your superiors asked. You swore an oath to defend the nation and the Constitution, from all enemies, foreign and domestic. The domestic enemies of the nation, and of the Consititution you swore to uphold and defend, now grasp control of the government in their hands. Are you going to serve your own ego instead of honoring your sworn oath to the nation that trained you for this moment?
Your Constitutional superiors - the people of the United States, whom you served faithfully for so many years as a military officer - now make another request of you.
Do what's right for the safety and well-being of your nation.
Accept the post of Vice-President if we ask it of you. We should expect no less of an honorable man.