Clark confusion

Garance Franke-Ruta, has a good post on Clark at Tapped which sums up a lot, I think.

Last September, I did not experience the same Wesley Clark swoon as many of my male colleagues in the press. I attribute this partly to the fact that I am female. For reasons that have not yet been fully plumbed by members of the media, women are less receptive to Clark's charms than are men. Clark has tried to counteract this female caution by proposing the most explicitly pro-family agenda in the Democratic field. Yet women voters remains more diffident than men towards Clark here in New Hampshire.

I think this goes to the heart of what has always been Clark's potential downfall: the fundamental enthusiasm about his candidacy is purely theoretical. In late 2002, if you could have asked frustrated Democrats to build a fantasy candidate for the '04 election, he would look a lot like Wes Clark. He's military, he's Southern, he's attractive, he's smart, and he has dibs on Clinton people and Clinton legacy. To some extent, the buzz around Clark is still largely based on that theory. There's been a strange hollowness to his campaign, and when reporters critique his appearances now, the complaints are largely the same leveled at his announcement speech. He just doesn't appear to have come into his own as a candidate. The hypothetical Clark is still a good choice, as evidenced by his continued strength in the polls, but the damage wrought by his inability to create a unique message that transcends his resume has been heavy.


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