I could not believe what I was reading as I scrolled through Christopher Ruddy's latest column at NewsMax, the ultra right-wing opinion site misleadingly dubbed, "America's News Page." Then again, especially since reporting daily on Wesley Clark's progress and his drowning critics, I am really not surprised that even Christopher Ruddy would compliment a democrat.
Ruddy, the vicious anti-Clinton conservative, I admit has caught me off guard on more than one occasion. He was one of few conservatives who opposed the California recall simply because Gray Davis committed no crime that deserves impeachment or a boot from office. The voters should only be able to remove Davis when the time is right. Ruddy aggress that the recall election date is not the right time, since Davis was re-elected not a year ago by the same citizens, therefore he should serve the full term.
Over the last few days I've been following the Wesley Clark movement very closely, just because I want to know if he's a legitimate candidate or has a shot at ousting President Bush. The best way to do that is to follow the conservative voices and hear what they have to say, because they of course want their man who is currently holding the While House to continue doing so for the next four years. Bill O'Reilly has yet to opine on Wesley Clark.
However, Christopher Ruddy has. And he knows--despite wishful thinking--that conservatives have nothing on Clark. They are shooting blanks.
"As I have written before, I would rather have the two best candidates of each party running for president. Still, I think President Bush has done an incredible job despite inheriting a recession and the 9/11 tragedy from his predecessor. He deserves re-election and I support him."
That's fair, about half of this country still supports Bush. Or does it? Ruddy might not have known this while writing "Watching Wesley Clark," but Clark has actually taken the lead in early polls since joining the race. Clark received 49 percent support to Bush's 46 percent, though that is technically considered a tie given the poll's margin of error. The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll was conducted Sept. 19-21, just two days after Clark threw his hat into the race and became the 10th Democratic in the overcrowded race.
Whether or not Ruddy knows how much of threat Clark is to his favorite president from Texas, he continues to surprise:
"While the other Democrats have positioned themselves as the "anti-Bush," Clark comes into the race as a centrist. He has none of the political baggage of the other candidates. And despite criticisms of America’s war in Iraq, he has solid military and national security credentials.
That's what I'm thinking too, so I'm guessing several of Ruddy's colleagues must be reading from a different history book because according to most, "Clark almost started World War III."
Ruddy ends his column with, "Gen. Clark’s entrance into the race is an attempt to steal the national security issue from the Republicans, and it just may work. That sounds an awful lot like WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah who wrote in a similar although much more critical column, "Yes, more dangerous than any of these men – because he (Clark) could win the Democratic nomination and the presidential election in 2004."
The far-right conservatives like Joseph Farah will say anything to show disapproval for a democrat, even if it means showing that their simply afraid of losing Bush. C'mon, Clark is dangerous because he can win? What prompted Farah to write something that made him look so clear?
Meanwhile the more sensible conservatives like Christopher Ruddy (in this case), either can't or refuse to hide the truth. The usual suspects aren't so usual anymore.
Matthew Continetti of "The Weekly Standard" gushes, "Clark certainly acts like a presidential candidate. He appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" in June. In July, he fielded questions from George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." In August, he entered CNN's "Crossfire" and appeared on "NewsNight with Aaron Brown." Media coverage of the general, a former Rhodes scholar who graduated at the top of his class at West Point, is positive. This isn't surprising. Clark, at 58, is an intelligent, articulate, and telegenic retired general who led a coalition of 19 often querulous nations to victory in the Kosovo conflict."
The "conservative advocate" William Rusher writes, "Clark is a handsome and composed figure, still young, and highly articulate. What's more, he has already indicated that he is considering seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, and may have more to say along those lines as fall approaches. He clearly already has some shrewd political advisers who are content to let the current nine contenders chew each other up, leaving it to their tiger to move in later on, bind up the party's wounds, and take over."
Regardless of who enters the presidential race at any given time, there will always be partisans and pundits out there who will stop at nothing protect their darling. Many are still in denial, although it appears that more conservatives are starting to come clean.