Naked City

The General Gives 'Em Hell

"Kosova's Son," a reference to his Balkan military campaign, was among the welcoming signs Monday afternoon for Wesley Clark's Wooldridge Park rally in support of his recently declared bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Also among the quickly recycled "Draft Clark" posters were a few homemade "Give 'Em Hell, Wes" banners, which Clark acknowledged in Trumanesque terms: "We're gonna give [Bush] the truth, and they think it's hell!"

Clark had been a bit late for the rally -- kicked off by songsters Eliza Gilkyson and (Clark's cousin) Shelley King -- and former U.S. representative and state Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage was himself drafted as Clark's warm-up. He described the former general as "worth waiting for" and a candidate who would provide the "missing ingredient" on the crowded Democratic primary slate. Under the Bush administration, said Gammage, "I saw my country going into the toilet," and he described Clark as just the man to pull it back from the brink.

Clark arrived behind a phalanx of a dozen or so legislators, among the 19 Democratic representatives -- from Gabi Canales of Alice to Miguel Wise of Weslaco -- that Laredo's Richard Raymond listed as having declared their endorsement of the newly minted Democrat. (Also among the supporters on stage: Austin Council Member Brewster McCracken.) Clark, explaining his late entry into party politics as a consequence of his 34-year military career, said that after considering his views on issues -- pro-affirmative action, pro-choice, pro-education, pro-health care, pro-environment, pro-jobs -- he realized, "I could be the loneliest Republican in America, or a happy Democrat." He said that while he was probably "the newest Democrat in this assembly, I believe we'll bring a lot of other people like me" to the party during his campaign.

Clark denounced Bush's entry into an "unnecessary" war and said the White House seems to believe its biggest problem abroad is "that our allies have democracies." He charged that the Bush administration "doesn't have policies, it has politics," and called for an independent commission to investigate the recent leak to the media of the name of a CIA agent, an apparent retaliation for her husband's criticizing the president's misuse of flawed intelligence about Iraqi nuclear weapons. "The Department of Justice of John Ashcroft," said Clark, "is not the right agency to restore the credibility of the intelligence community."

Clark, one of several Democratic candidates to swing through Austin this week, said he expected to be back in Texas several times before the spring primaries.

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond

    Naked City

    As the city reviews historic zoning, neighbors consider buying Bellmont cottages

    Naked City

    Another campus crime leads to tough questions about Austin ISD's safety strategy

    Naked City

    Austin joins the list of school districts taking Robin Hood to court
  • Naked City

    Eight candidates vie to replace departing -- and defiant -- Molly Beth Malcolm

    Naked City

    The first annual Green Festival heads to town next week.

    Naked City

    The cop who shot Sophia King is honored by the police union.

    Naked City

    Delays and conflict-of-interest charges in the Jimmy Chapman investigation.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Michael King
Can’t Vote by Mail Now? Perhaps November.
Can’t Vote by Mail Now? Perhaps November.
Courts have time – if not the will – to expand VBM before general election

June 30, 2020

Supremes to Texas Voters: Drop Dead
Supreme Court Rejects VBM Stay
U.S. Supreme Court Won't Lift Stay on Vote by Mail

June 26, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Wesley Clark, Bob Gammage, Richard Raymond, John Ashcroft, George W. Bush

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle