If this was Clark’s way of winning over undecided voters, maybe it was best that he didn’t win the nomination:
A few minutes later, Clark is in the back of the restaurant speaking about the war in Iraq to nine older women in a small private room. When I join the conversation, Clark is standing in the doorway forcefully explaining to one woman, “There are no terrorists in Iraq, ma’am.” She doesn’t seem persuaded. “You can shake your head ma’am but you should listen to me because I was a four-star general.” Clark begins a long disquisition about Middle East policy, jumping from why the Bushes will never deal with Saudi Arabia (“They have had dealings with the Saudi Royal family for years and years and years”) to the demographics of Iraq (“Shiites are about sixty to seventy percent of the population….In the North there are the Kurds”). The women stare at him. Clark pulls his Blackberry from his belt. “I got an e-mail from a guy today who is a Washington insider,” he tells them. According to the guy, Iraq was just the first war in a string of coming Bush conflicts to transform the region. A woman, in the back of the room stands up. “General Clark,” she says softly, politely, “this is actually a gardening meeting.” Clark then talks to them about the environment before an aide whisks him out for lunch. “Thank you very much,” he says. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. I hope I didn’t upset anyone.” Clark’s wife Gert walks into the room after the general’s presentation. “You poor women,” she says. She notes that Arkansas has the same climate as Tennessee and talks to them about growing daffodils.
If the degree to which you are headstrong is the inverse of the your skills on the campaign trail, it’s fair to say you’re bound to fail miserably at politics. At this point I’d rather have Edwards on the ticket, and Clark heading the DoD.
One of a series of wars? Conspiracies about Bushes and the Saudis? At a gardening meeting? While a healthy dose of paranoia can be a good thing, this dose far exceeds healthy and borders on weird.
Keep us updated.