Clark is (Almost Certainly) In

Well, it looks like after months of playing footsie with the Democratic Party, General Wesley Clark has apparently decided to run for President after all. This is not too terribly unexpected, since Clark has been practically begging the party to offer him the nomination, but it’s interesting to see it finally happening nonetheless.

I’m sure Clark is a fine man and will make a strong candidate, but I must admit I found the whole “please-draft-me” business pretty off-putting. Nobody likes too much ambition in a candidate, but there’s something equally nauseating about somebody who makes a big show of having to be dragged kicking and screaming into leadership. And let’s face it, it kinda looks like most of the kicking and screaming was coming from Clark himself — in the end it’s not like there’s just so many people crying out for him that Clark couldn’t in good conscience say no.

Let’s get a sense of the scope of the “Draft Wes Clark” movement by having a look at the numbers of people registered nationally with Currently, the “National Clark in 2004 Meetup” has 14,400 participants registered. For comparison, that’s about as many as have signed up to Meetup for Dennis Kucinich, who has pulled 12,700 supporters. (I know that they’re not directly comparable, since Clark’s not “officially” in yet, but as far as I’m concerned anyone who’s crying out for a Clark candidacy wouldn’t care about such a fine distinction — and it’s not like he’s been discouraging people from considering him a candidate these past few weeks.) Now put those numbers next to Howard Dean, who has, as of this writing, 112,100 people registered for the next Meetup. That’s a popular movement, not a tempest in a media teapot. We’ll see what results Clark’s candidacy has on the race, but it certainly looks like it’s about to get more interesting no matter which way you slice it.