I’m gonna make a prediction and say that Gen. Wesley Clark enters the 2004 Presidential race no later than November 2003. The current Dem. the field is too cluttered, and too cluttered with unlikelies IMO, if Clark enters as a Darkhorse (1) candidate he can sweep all but the most viable (Kerry and that other guy…I forget) aside. He’s got a killer national security resume, a good presence, not to radical to scare the center, and has created distance between himself and Bush without kowtowing to the far left as most candidates have already had to. His weaknesses are domestic policy and the economy, but hey he’s running against Bush so it’s not like that’s going to be an uphill battle. At best they both come out neutral domestically and on the economy. Bush has the national security credentials of swift victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, but if Iraq lingers unstabilized it will hurt more than help him by distracting attention from his performance on the overall war on terror.
It would actually make 2004 an interesting race rather than the apparent blowout it appears it’s going to be. If not Pres this time then definitely a top pick for Veep, but really, why would he go for 2nd place on a 2nd place ticket when he can viably take the shot at the title 1:1. It may be a whole different world in 2008/2012 and the American public tends not to elect generals unless it’s during or recently after a military conflict.
(1) I’m going off memory here so I may be wrong but I believe that November is the actual month of the Roman “darkhorse”. A rather bloody ritual involving the racing (and slaughter) of horses tied into the late entrance of a candidate into the Consular elections, which has been in our vernacular ever since as a later-arriving contender in a political campaign. As I said my memory’s not keen on this so if someone has more details and can post them.