However, with the advent of the Wes Clark campaign — overshadowing today in our world Al Gore's appearance with Gray Davis, the expected 9th Circuit ruling, and everything else in politics today — it's time to revive (for one day only) our ratings.
Or, rather, to deal with all the modern major General stuff that is out there today by looking at how Clark is doing in the various categories within which we previously rated all the candidates.
Those Dean aides who feel mighty frustration that we stopped publishing the ratings before Dean moved to number one with a bullet will just have to forgive us in advance.
First, let's dispose of Gore and the 9th Circuit.
Every sharpie in politics and the press knows that:
a. Gore will be boffo and funny and passionate today in his two events with Governor Davis
b. The 9th Circuit is going to announce today that they are taking the recall case en banc and that sometime next week they will overturn the three-judge panel and then the SCOTUS will refuse to hear it and the October 7 date will be restored
Which clears the way for us to talk about Clark, who in the last 24 hours flew to Florida (subjecting himself to a plane interview with reps from four of America' leading newspapers, during which he mightily muddied his war position); took at least five different positions on whether he would debate next week or not; whipped up a Clinton frenzy in the press and in Democratic politics; and continued to blot out coverage of his nine rivals.
Today, Clark flies to Iowa to give a paid address entitled "The American Leadership Role In a Changing World" today at the University of Iowa Law School. He also holds a couple of media availabilities.
One source tells The Note that Clark gets $30,000-$35,000 for his utterances.
On the one hand, Clark's moving around is creating a lot of excitement.
For instance, the last paragraph of the Boston Globe story about Clark's Florida event yesterday will make Mark Fabiani smile:
"'He's going to bring peace to the world, I'm telling you,' gushed Carmen Diaz-Fabian, who rushed up to Clark when he arrived, holding a handmade 'Hispanics por El General' sign. 'We haven't had somebody like him since Eisenhower.'"
From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:
"Clark is expected to make a trip to Capitol Hill next week, speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus on Friday. … On Tuesday, Clark is to make a speech at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. On Wednesday, he is to meet with a Chicago securities firm." LINK
And the other campaigns are grousing about him and attacking him; and the list of names of Clintonistas who have at least gotten on his conference calls (if not necessarily offered outright support) continues to grow; and AFSCME seems Generally impressed.
On the other hand, The General up and announced what seems to be a new and Kerryesque position on the Iraqi war resolution — for it, but not really (Could he really have never been asked about this on CNN?); his campaign's disorganization (understandable) continues; some op-eds question his Bigness; and some key Iowans and Granite Staters are expressing skepticism.
Jackie Calmes symbolically leads the Wall Street Journal 's Washington Wire with a horizon tour of what Clark is doing to things, and gets some (first?) on-the-record reaction from a senior Bush politico: