11 February 2004

Clark to end presidential bid

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark will end his Democratic Party presidential campaign, aides said late Tuesday.

The one-time NATO supreme commander will travel to Arkansas to make the announcement in his home state, they told CNN.

Earlier Tuesday, Clark made his usual stump speech to supporters in Tennessee, but spoke of America's future -- not his own.

Well, now there are three. Will Clark's people shift their support to Edwards or Kerry? If they go to Kerry the exercise is over and the DNC front-loading strategy - piling everything on early to ensure the nomination is decided quickly will have succeeded. And failed.

The Iowa caucuses were less than a month ago. Kerry has yet to face the blowtorch to the belly and the front-loading design has made it impossible for him to be tested as, say, Dean was tested and failed. Kerry's electoral performance between now and November will tell if front-loading was a very good idea. One hopes Kerry will remember that Dean, in particular, made the war and the economy the issues on which he is now running but did not, before Dean showed him how, dare to raise.

Meanwhile, on the other side of US politics, I am beginning to suspect that the Bush principate may have passed its use-by date. A certain aphorism by the founder of Bush's party about fooling all of the people some of the time should be required reading.

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