Tempest in a Teapot?

The American Prospect has a piece up on the various Draft Clark movements. At various points, the story says that the movement was not as big as it made itself out to be, that it was not really grass-roots, but organized by long-time political strategists from the Clinton White House, and alleges that there is a major split among the two major Draft Clark sites (DraftWesleyClark.com and DraftClark2004.com). Along the way, the article mentions a bunch of Clark sites, such as the Clark Sphere and Digital Clark.

I’m not privy to the inner workings of the Clark movement, but one part of the story did make me suspect that the author (Garance Franke-Ruta) may be a strong Dean supporter. Here’s Garance’s characterization of how the Clark campain quickly alienated the bloggers who worked to draft Clark (even though later in the story, it was Democratic strategists, not bloggers behind the movement):

Stirling Newberry, 36, who runs DraftClark.com, used his Web site last week to disseminate — and decry — reports of Clark’s newfound “suckage.”

“We signed on for Draft Clark, not Draft Mary,” an unsigned post on DraftClark.com read Friday, referring to Clark’s cry to his press aide Mary Jacoby of “Mary, help!” when asked his position on the Iraq War by The New York Times.

Suckage! Yikes, not that! Yes, the quote is technically accurate, but let’s take a look at the text of the actual post from DraftClark.com:

The word reporters were throwing around early to day was “suckage”, and some were openly disappointed in the ugly turn in Clark’s answers, canned, and being handed to them. We signed on for Draft Clark, not Draft Mary.

However, in the space of a few hours, the appearance has turned around – a rousing speech, a perfect clarification on the Iraq statement, and a looseness that comes with liberation. Everyone has had bad weeks – and Wes Clark’s only lasted three days. If Clark can overcome the nagging problems and get back to his true nature, all of this will be part of the Clark mythology – how he embraced the problem and over came it, as he has before.

After all, if you think the Clark movement is balkanized and fractious, then it is the smallest of mole hills compared to the vast quarrelling arena of states, the congress and the federal agencies he will control. The expectation is that Clark must make things look easy, because this is easy compared to the job he wants to do. [more follows]

Far from anguished cries about suckage, the post is really about Clark’s quick recovery–his bad week that lasted only three days. But that wouldn’t have fit into Garance’s story line.


P.S. I’m not endorsing anyone at this point, but I am strongly against intra-Democratic silliness like this.