THE NEW CLINTONISTAS
No one is calling out for another Democratic presidential candidate, but that isn't stopping Gerald McEntee from trying to create another candidate anyway. Last week, McEntee had former Gen. Wesley Clark speak to his AFSCME board. Clark, who has already spent time in New Hampshire, hasn't committed to running, but he's seriously considering it.
Clark is being pushed to run, according to several Washington-based senior Pentagon moles, by current and former Defense Department and Army and Marine Corps officers who were more politically in tune with former President Clinton. Several of them resigned from the presidential military advisory board early in the Bush Administration.
"These guys were much more into the politics of the upper echelons of the military, they were kind of Clintonian military types. They're right in with that crowd," says a current Pentagon staffer. "Most of them are out of it now, and they see their way back in through Clark."
McEntee, who will give just about any serious Democrat a hearing, is intrigued by Clark, in part because of the early comparisons made between the former overseer of Clinton's Balkans police action, and Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Democrats in California were relieved when three top officials who could challenge Gov. Gray Davis in a recall battle stepped out of the race last week. "The only way Davis survives this is if we doesn't have opposition," says a state Democratic Party operative. "We needed everyone to stay out of it."
Last week, California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and state Treasurer Phil Angelides said they had no intention of running against Davis.
That was followed by a quick statement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein that she would not run. So for now, Davis is clear to focus on how to save his job without worrying about an internal challenge. For now.
"Bustamante wants Davis's job," says the party source. "He's the only one who keeps saying that he 'intends not to run,' which is like saying he just won't run now, but he leaves the option open."
Sen. John Edwards in sinking in the polls as he attempts to run for president. He's also sinking in the North Carolina polls, and may be pushed out of his job in the Senate by the state party if the Democrats don't think he can win re-election. All of this makes his publisher look pretty smart. While Hillary Clinton got millions for her book deal, Edwards was paid out a paltry $7,500 advance for his forthcoming tome. No word yet if he's ready to return the full amount.