Jewish World Review Jan. 16, 2004/22 Teves, 5764
Is there another inevitable nominee?
Suddenly the inevitable doesn't look
Howard Dean is still the front-runner
this morning, but Iowa Democrats may
be about to prove once more that a
"front-runner" before anyone actually
votes is largely a concoction of the
pundits, the pollsters and the talking
John Zogby, the pollster with the
best recent record in political polling,
now says those battered body parts
strewn along the side of the road may
not be John Kerry's after all. Mr. Kerry,
regarded as the living dead only a
fortnight ago, has pulled into a
three-way tie with Mr. Dean and Dick
Gephardt in Iowa. In fact, he may be
running slightly ahead of the other two.
Meanwhile, back in New Hampshire,
Wesley Clark is thought to be gaining
dramatically on the doc, and now, with
actual voting about to begin, we're in
the "red zone" at last, where the Pundit
Primary is exposed once more as
The asterisks are still crucial, of
course. The Iowa public-opinion polls
are particularly unreliable because the
pollsters can't be sure who they're
talking to. They think they have polled
actual voters, who will actually caucus
on Monday night, but there's no way
they can be sure. A blizzard or a bout
of freezing rain could knock all
If Mr. Dean actually loses Monday
night, he must expect to pay dearly.
The pundits and the correspondents
who have been telling us that he's the
inevitable nominee will suck the air out
of his balloon overnight, leaving him to
tumble into New Hampshire in free fall,
flat, frightened and fatigued.
Another asterisk: Now there's a
horsefly in Mr. Clark's soup: the
Drudge Report yesterday put up a copy
of his op-ed in the London Times of
only eight months ago, and the
transcript of Clark testimony to the
U.S. House Armed Services Committee,
given 18 months ago. The transcripts render his claim that he
has "always" been against the war in Iraq a spectacular lie.
Ah, the cruelty of the remorseless record, cruelty magnified
by the Internet.
"President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their
resolve in the face of so much doubt," he wrote last April 10.
"Can anything be more moving than the joyous throngs
swarming the streets of Baghdad? Memories of the fall of the
Berlin Wall, and the defeat of Milosevic in Belgrade flood
That's bad enough, but there's more. Barely a year after
9/11, Mr. Clark testified to the House committee that George
W. not only does the right thing by making war on those
deserving it, but has a continuing responsibility to do so, and
the United Nations be damned. George W., he suggested,
could do worse than take Wesley Clark as a model.
"There's no requirement to have any doctrine here," he
told the congressmen. "I mean this is simply a long-standing
right of the United States and other nations to take the
actions they deem necessary in their self-defense. Every
president has deployed forces as necessary to take action.
He's done so without multilateral support if necessary. He's
done so in advance of conflict if necessary. In my experience,
I was the commander of the European forces in NATO. When
we took action in Kosovo, we did not have United Nations
approval to do this and we did so in a way that was designed
to pre-empt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization
there. There were some people who didn't agree with that
decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support
it with a resolution.
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein ... has chemical
and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But
the United States right now is on a very much different
defensive posture than we were before September 11th of
2001. ... If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our
friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as
The White House couldn't have put the president's case
more eloquently than this. Mr. Clark even cited Richard Perle,
the dark prince of the left's most fervid nightmares. "I want
to underscore that I think the United States should not
categorize this action as pre-emptive. ... As Richard Perle so
eloquently pointed out, this is a problem that's long-standing,
a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the
clock is ticking."
John Kerry inflicts the fatal wound on Howard Dean in
Iowa. Wesley Clark does the deed in New Hampshire, but
makes himself fit only as the running mate of ... who else?
She's the only nominee who could run a sacrificial race and
enhance her credentials for '08. Someone might say she's
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