THINK, THEN TALK….Here are a few recent quotes from Wesley Clark:
On reports that many of his military peers dislike him: “How do you think I could have succeeded in the military if everybody didn?t like me? It’s impossible. Do you realize I was the first person promoted to full colonel in my entire year group of 2,000 officers? I was the only one selected. Do you realize that?”
On how the Cold War was won: “The way we won the cold war was not by isolating Eastern Europe, but by engaging it.”
On Howard Dean’s “guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks” remark: “Well, he shouldn’t have said those things. I think all Americans ? and this is a joke! ? all Americans, even if they’re from the South and ‘stupid,’ should be represented.”
Now, none of this is that big a deal. Political junkies like me are the only ones who ever hear this stuff, and these statements are just a little sloppy, not huge gaffes.
At the same time, one of the things that struck me when I read Waging Modern War was that Clark had a tendency to shoot off his mouth a bit without realizing how his remarks sounded to others ? a habit that eventually led to Bill Cohen’s famous order, relayed by Hugh Shelton, to “Get your fucking face off the TV. No more briefings, period. That’s it.”
I think that Clark and Dean are the two frontrunners for the Democratic nomination right now, and both of them seem to have a little bit of a problem watching what they say and who they say it to. So far their slips have all been fairly minor, but on the other hand these little media flurries can sap you if they happen on a weekly basis. Straight talking and candor are admirable, but I hope they both learn to think just a little bit more before rattling off those one-liners in the future.