The problem for the Hillary campaign in picking up the endorsement of Wesley Clark is that as an Arkansas guy whose major military experience came during the Clinton administration, there’s nothing surprising about his endorsement. Clark is one of those figures who is more valuable to one of the other guys to her; if he had endorsed Obama or Edwards, it would have been seen as a stinging rebuke for her and a major coup for the endorsee. As it is, it’s a nice, minor, page A14 story for her, and she denied any of her rivals that coup.
Still, it’s a chance to remind NRO readers of one of my favorite paragraphs from one of my favorite articles, a profile of Clark from 2004:
Interviews with a wide variety of current and retired military officials reveal that Clark was disliked by only three groups: Those whom ranked above him in the chain of command whom he ignored, his peers at the same rank whom he lied to, and those serving beneath him whom he micromanaged. Other than that, everyone liked him.
A bit more from that article, on Clark’s relationship with the Clintons:
After being so distrusted by his colleagues, one might wonder how Clark kept getting promoted and having such glowing performance reviews. In 1993, President Clinton asked the Army’s chief of staff if he knew “my friend, Wes Clark.” In Clark’s words, they were more acquaintances, two overachieving young men from Arkansas, two years apart, whose paths crossed every few years.
Now, being perceived as a buddy of President Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could hurt Clark as much as help him in the Pentagon. But when defense officials needed to fill a slot with a man acceptable to the Clinton White House, they knew who to call.
“It’s clear to me he was very much playing to the Clinton administration with an eye to getting that fourth star,” says one retired defense official.
“I’m very confident he was selected because of his relationship with Clinton,” Cisneros says.