A recent Gallup Poll asked: "Are the Democratic candidates becoming better known after months of intensive campaigning?"
The Answer: "No, except for retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark. Despite a great deal of media focus on the Democratic race, including a number of nationally televised debates, most of the candidates are not better known today among members of their own party than they were back in August, just before the campaigning began in earnest." It is also arguably the case that
having Hillary Clinton emcee the big Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa tonight is not helpful to any or all of the Democratic presidential candidates, save maybe Hillary, if she should decide to run.
I think this must be terrible news for the Democratic candidates, although , of course, they can’t admit it. One of the more interesting developments has been the fact that Wesley Clark--after an initial quick boost--has gone nowhere. In part it is because he has contradicted himself many times, especially about Iraq. But, in a larger sense, there is something deeper going on here; his opinions and positions seem to reflect something more fundamental about his character and his judgment, and also about the Democrats’ struggle with how to talk about foreign policy, national interest, and war in a post 9/11 universe. See this extraordinary piece of analysis from Andrew Sullivan (in the current New Republic) on Clark’s position on the Iraq war, which he calls a "historic blunder" and illegitimate and the war in Kosovo which he was proud to lead, and which was legitimate. Sullivan’s is a devastating criticism and should be studied because it is a short treatise on what may authorize war. Sullivan uses this long profile on Wesley Clark from
New Yorker by Peter J. Boyer.