Along the Tracks

Friday, September 26, 2003

We be jammin’

I had a lot of fun last night, jamming with my brother and a friend of his out on the wild shores of Harrison Lake (okay, we were in his bedroom, about 100 yards from the shore). We played some Petty, some ZZTop and some Hendrix - and even though I am clearly a biased judge, we didn’t sound too bad! In fact, we sounded pretty good. A few more sessions, and we’ll be ready for the big time ... er, for the Fayette bar scene, small private parties, etc. Mostly, we’ll be having a blast. I’ll keep you updated, and if I get really crazy, maybe I’ll figure out how to put a recording or two of ours on the site.

Last train to Clark’s-ville

Andrew Sullivan seems to have had a change of heart about Wesley Clark. He’s impressed by the general’s performance in last night’s Democratic debate - and wowed by the praise Clark heaped on the Bush team in May of ‘01, tracked down by Drudge.

I fear Andrew may have given in to wishful thinking. I agree it would be good for the country to have a Dem who is strong on defense, fiscally conservative in act as well as deed, committed to fairness at home and the expansion of democratic values abroad.

Unfortunately, I really doubt such a Democrat exists. Clark’s willingness to jump back and forth on Iraq, as well as his prior suggestions that the initial response to 9/11 should have focused on police work, rather than a military strike on terrorist strongholds, betray a lack of commitment to the War on Terror.

In fact, if there is a Democrat somewhat close to what Sullivan (and I) seek, I think Joe Lieberman’s it. He’s a little too willing to “play to the crowds” of Democratic activists by straying from his historical positions on things like school choice and affirmative action - but I tend to forgive that, since it’s his only hope of being nominated. Frankly, I believe it’s a vain hope - the Dems will never nominate someone as centrist (conservative, really) as Lieberman.

Clark, on the other hand, appears completely willing to tailor his “beliefs” to whatever will get him the nomination. He’s basically a tabula rasa to the public, so he can get away with it. His Drudge-posted speech demonstrates something that appears over and over in Clark’s recorded statements - a burning desire to ingratiate himself with the powerful. Then, it was the Bush team. Now (as before in the ‘90s), it’s the Clintons (Andrew mentions this Clinton-entanglement as a fear, but it sure looks like a reality). If Clark is beaten soundly in the early primaries and Howard Dean becomes the nominee-apparent, I have no doubt Clark would soon be singing Dean’s praises, looking for a VP slot.

That “ideal Democrat” described above, I might add, is indistinguishable from what I would consider the “ideal Republican.” I think Bush has done well on national security and the war, but his open checkbook policy on the budget is indefensible. Steel tariffs, farm subsidies, bureaucratic spending, prescription drugs without Medicare reform - the list of anti-conservative (liberal) policies this president has foisted upon us in the name of politics is ridiculous. If Bush returns to his conservative roots in the coming year, he can allay a lot of fears both on the right and among independents (who are for the most part budget conservatives as well). If he fails to do so, he could face a real fight next fall.

UPDATE: Thanks to readers Gerry Balsley and Ira Cushing for clearing up two dumb mistakes on my original posting. Clark's speech was in May of '01, not a decade earlier; and while a "tabla rosa" might look stately in the dining room, a "tabula rasa" is what I intended.

I guess maybe we had it cranked a little too loud last night!

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